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Protecting those with allergies from having a bad reaction in your home will take work but it will be worth the effort! The most common factor that people react to is dander, or tiny particles from pet hair or skin. While you may be able to manage the hair easily, dander is much more difficult to capture and get out of the house.
Stay on top of dander by keeping dust out of your house. Keep your HVAC filter changed regularly and wipe down flat surfaces with dust removing cloths. Feather dusters look effective, but they're really just pushing dust around. Keep an eye on ceiling fan blades and light fixtures. Avoid cloth draperies and use blinds instead. Make sure that your family members leave their shoes at the front door and wear house slippers, socks or go barefoot when home. If dust is a constant, you may need to get your air ducts cleaned out.
2) Reduce Contact
Keep pets away from bedrooms, particularly if bedrooms are carpeted. You may need to install a barrier gate or even a screen door to maintain air flow but keep pets out of some bedrooms. If possible, install wood floors in your common areas and restrict pets to those spots. Small children may not understand that they're not supposed to pet the cat or the dog. You may reduce their risk of an allergic response with a dander removal product. Make sure that an adult or an older child applies this product before the allergic child touches the pet. While many of these are non-toxic, spraying anything on your pet may be viewed by the animal as a punishment. Train your pet to tolerate the application with a treat.
3) Encourage Hand-Washing
For some children, handling the family pet may be irresistible. To prevent an allergic response, remind them to wash their hands after each session of handling. This will reduce the amount of dander they transfer to their face when they put the pet down. Consider getting them gloves that they can wear when they want to handle the pet that you can wash when they're finished. If they must cuddle the dog or cat, have them lay a towel across their lap to avoid transferring dander to their clothes. This towel should then go directly into the laundry or into a plastic trash bag for washing.
Take care to vacuum regularly while the allergic person is out of the house, or at least the room. Use a vacuuming tool with high quality filtration, such as the HEPA filter. Take care to monitor the condition of the filter before each session of vacuuming to keep the filter clear of hair and get the deepest, most thorough clean. Be sure to get carpets steam cleaned regularly, and consider bringing in extra help from house cleaning services in Bethesda MD or your particular locale if you can't manage the work. Moving furniture and cleaning carpets can be heavy work. Don't risk your back when professional help can save you labor and pain. Use a carpet cleaning product that is good for containing pet odors.
The process of changing out cat or gerbil litter can generate a lot of dust. If possible, have a non-allergic person change out these products. If you have to do it, be sure to mask thoroughly. Try to do this work while wearing chore clothes and wash them immediately after to capture and remove dander and dust. Consider buying unscented litter products, as this can also irritate allergies. Carefully monitor the area outside the litter box for scattered particles. If your cat is capable of climbing, set the litter pan down inside a bigger bin with taller sides and provide your cat with extra landing spots in and outside the bin. This will reduce litter scatter and reduce the amount of litter that gets tracked through the house.
Pets are a great way to add love to your home, but if you have any family members with allergies in your home, they can be a lot of work. Get into the habit of dusting and vacuuming frequently, and keep hard surfaces damp mopped. Consider investing in a robot vacuum that can run during the day when you're gone. Keep your pets off the carpet.