The Myth: “Short-haired pets won’t trigger allergies.”
When patients float the idea of a hypoallergenic pet by Nabeel Farooqui, MD, assistant professor of allergy and immunology at Ohio State University Medical Center, he says “there’s no such thing.” What people with pet allergies are actually allergic to is dander, the skin and body proteins found in the animal’s urine, saliva, and skin. These white flakes are present regardless of the amount of hair a pet has (this is true for all mammals). If Fluffy makes you stuffy, the best thing is to keep him outdoors. If that’s not possible, keep your bedroom—where you spend about one-third of your day—a pet-free zone, don’t allow animals on your furniture, and consider HEPA filters, which can remove dander from the air. Wash your pet at least once a week to help reduce dander levels.
The Myth: “My front yard is giving me allergies.”
Don’t necessarily blame the vegetation around your home. “A lot of people think that an oak tree in the front yard is causing their seasonal allergies,” says Timothy Craig, DO, professor of medicine and pediatrics at Penn State University. “Some of them end up cutting it down. But tree pollen can travel hundreds of miles in wind currents.” Chances are even if you rid your yard of its vegetation, trees from surrounding areas could still trigger allergies.
Consider taking a non-sedating antihistamine, and adjust when you spend time outside. “Do outdoor activities in the morning or evening when the winds aren’t as strong,” says Dr. Craig. “Shower when you come inside so you don’t go to bed with pollen stuck on your body.”