Though there is no cure for allergies, you can make life a lot more pleasant by adhering to these simple guidelines.
- Wash your hands immediately after you pet your dog. Try to keep your hands away from your face, particularly your eyes, until you can wash up. Depending on the severity of your allergy and the frequency of your contact with your dog, you may want to shower and change your clothing several times during the day.
- Have your dog brushed regularly; daily would be ideal. A nonallergic family member can be responsible for daily grooming (outdoors) or you can take your dog to a professional groomer.
- Bathe your dog frequently. Veterinarian Duane Schnittker of the Brentwood Veterinary Hospital in Brentwood, California suggests that you use a hypoallergenic or oatmeal-based dog shampoo once a week. Take your dog to a groomer or have a nonallergic family member take care of bathing. Wash your dog's bedding and toys weekly, too.
- Feed your dog a well-balanced diet that includes some natural fat. Fat will make his skin less dry so there will be less shedding.
- Keep your dog out of your bedroom and off your bed at all times. Cover your mattresses, box springs, and pillows with zippered, plastic, allergyproof cases. Purchase pillows and mattresses with nonallergenic polyester filling.
- Use a room air purifier containing a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter. This will remove some of the dander in the air.
- Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filtration system. This helps pick up more of the dander from your floors, and traps it.
- Replace central heating/cooling system air filters and humidifier filters frequently. Make sure vent and furnace filters are efficient.
- Open windows and doors as much as possible and use exhaust fans to keep your home well-ventilated.
- Keep dust to a minimum. Wipe surfaces often with a damp cloth and vacuum instead of sweeping (it stirs up less dust). Store books in glass-enclosed shelving. Wear a dust mask while cleaning.
- Don't smoke. Smoking lowers your tolerance to allergens and aggravates your already-sensitive lungs.
Continued on page 3: Better Breeds for Allergy Sufferers