Fifteen per cent of people are allergic to pets, such as cats and dogs. These allergies are caused not by hair but by a protein found in the pets’ dead skin flakes (dander), oils, saliva or urine. When these allergens become airborne, they land on the lining of the eyes or nose or are inhaled directly into the lungs causing irritation.
Sadly, short-haired pets do not cause less of a problem to those suffering with allergies as the dander, etc. is still present.
Two major factors affect the amount of allergen present in the house:
- the quantity of soft furnishings
- whether the animal lives in or out.
If it is not possible for the pet to live outdoors then consider making the following changes within the house.
- Lay vinyl or wooden floors instead of carpets. This dramatically reduces the amount of pet allergen present.
- Limit draperies and soft furnishings to a minimum.
- Allow the animal only limited access to the house, with the bedroom and living room being off limits.
- Wash the animal once a week and groom regularly to keep the dander to a minimum.
Some people will suffer allergy symptoms because their immune system is not functioning efficiently. Factors that may affect the immune system include unhappiness, depression, stress, consuming too much junk food, not getting enough sleep, too much alcohol or a nutrient deficiency, e.g. vitamin C and other antioxidants. If the immune system is working at its optimum level it will efficiently neutralise the offending proteins that cause the allergy, so reach for Echinacea. Taken in tincture form it will soon have your immune system back to full strength.
Natural treatments for allergies are becoming more popular as some of the traditional remedies include antihistamines, corticosteroids and anti-inflammatory drugs, all of which can have side effects.
Nettles (Urtica) are a natural remedy for allergies, for those who break out in red angry rashes. By taking nettles the reaction is often far less dramatic.
A mixture of tropical herbs containing Sponge Cucumber (Luffa operculata), in tincture and tablet form, and in a nasal spray provide an alternative allergy remedy, which reduces itching and streaming from the eyes and nose, and can be used as frequently as needed with no side effects.
Living with a cat!
A 47 year old man didn’t know he was allergic to cats. One night a black and white cat turned up at his patio door, asking for attention. He gave it a saucer of milk, then some salmon and, unsurprisingly, the cat decided to stay. His asthma promptly made itself felt and he received various pieces of advice on how to deal with it, including the suggestion that he shave the cat. Not fancying his chances with this one, he turned instead to his local health store, who gave him Luffa and Devil’s Claw, to be taken once daily for two to three months to desensitise him. By the end of three months the cat could lie on his head (it was an affectionate cat!) without so much as a wheeze from him; and he’s stayed clear of that allergy ever since.