Manage Your Allergies, Keep Your Pet
Americans are crazy about animals, and the number of pets in homes has never been higher. However, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), the incidence of perennial allergies is on the increase, with an estimated 63 percent of allergy sufferers now coping with year-round problems.
We're not talking about a big coincidence here.
Still, the AAAAI also notes that people who own pets and have allergies are not about to give up their dogs, cats or ferrets to get relief from the hair and dander that cause their symptoms. A 1999 survey revealed that 44 percent of people allergic to their pets will not give the pet away despite awareness in 70 percent of those surveyed that their pets were a major cause of their allergic problems. What's more, 77 percent hadn't even confined their pets to specific areas of the house.
Lisa Miller illustrates the strength of the human-animal bond behind this phenomenon. "Natasha was our first 'child' 15 years ago," explains the Bellmore, N.Y., dental hygienist who is, in fact, allergic to her own cat. "You don't get rid of a family member just because there's a problem." And so the Siamese cat's status in the family remains rock-solid today, even though the human children who followed -- Blythe, 12; Alana, 8; and Jared, 4-1/2 -- also sneeze year-round because of their allergies to, among other things, cats.
Until about five years ago, keeping allergens under control in her house meant that Miller had to do "a tremendous amount of constant cleaning, vacuuming and lint rolering to keep everything in the house as hair- and dust-free as possible." Then she came across a dietary supplement for Natasha that eliminated non-seasonal shedding and dramatically cut down the family's sneeze factor.
"I mix Mrs. Allen's Shed-Stop into Natasha's food once a day," says Miller. "It's extremely palatable, which is especially important when it comes to feeding anything to cats. And it works. The amount of cat hair I find around the house is greatly reduced, and so is our sneezing. I've been recommending it to all my dental patients who come in covered with pet hair."
The bonus for allergy sufferers, explains Barbara Allen, the name behind Shed-Stop (Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off.), is that by dramatically reducing year-round shedding in pets, the level of pet-related allergens in a home also may be dramatically reduced.
Allen explains that shedding is a normal physiologic process that occurs seasonally in pets. "It's the continual hair loss that we've come to think is normal that's the problem," she says. "Continual hair loss is not normal; it can be a sign of a nutritional deficiency." With her patented formula, Allen says, "Most pet owners see a difference in their pets' coats in four weeks or less. The skin and coat condition improves, and year-round shedding is all but eliminated as pets are restored to what nature intended -- shedding their coats just once or twice a year."
Proper nutrition promotes good skin and hair health. Major ingredients in the Shed-Stop formula are sunflower, safflower, olive, soy and cod-liver oils, with the addition of whole fish oil in the cat formula. These oils provide necessary fats and essential fatty acids to keep skin and hair from becoming coarse and dry. The patented mixtures also contain vitamins A and E, which are essential for healthy skin, and zinc, a key mineral necessary for hair and skin health.
For more information, visit the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology's Web site at www.aaaai.org.
13 Ways to Reduce Household Allergens from Pets
Allergy sufferers have tolerance levels that vary from person to person. But once a person exceeds his or her tolerance level, allergic reactions may occur.
Here are tips pet owners can use to lower their risk of reaction and reduce allergens in their homes:
- Wash hands after touching pets and before touching your eyes or face.
- Restrict pets to certain rooms of the home to create allergy-free areas (especially bedrooms).
- Use allergen-resistant covers on mattresses and pillows.
- Wash sheets weekly in water that is at least 130 degrees.
- Where feasible, reduce the amount of carpet in the home, especially in bedrooms and sitting rooms.
- Avoid dust- and dander-catching furnishings (e.g., cloth curtains and blinds).
- If pets have a favorite place on the furniture, cover that spot with removable, washable slipcovers.
- Use vacuums with high-efficiency particulate air filters to help clean the air.
- Use air purification devices to reduce allergens and eliminate household odors.
- Have a non-allergic family member bathe pets weekly.
- Have a non-allergic person groom pets regularly -- outside the house.
- Keep the house well ventilated.
- Use Mrs. Allen's Shed-Stop to significantly reduce the number of allergens in the house by reducing shedding and improving the skin condition of dogs, cats and ferrets.
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