The Dog Might Not Have to Go!
Kids of all ages can enjoy a range of benefits from growing up with pets, including notable growth factors such as self-confidence and empathy. Unfortunately, as many as 10-20% of us have either mild or severe allergies to certain animals and, if you spot those signs in your child, your first reaction might be to remove all agitators from your home.
This reaction is entirely normal, but allergies or not, there’s no denying the plus points that animal interaction can bring. What’s more, a recent study published in JAMA revealed some pretty pressing proof that having an animal around could help to prevent severe allergies from forming.
As such, in cases of mild reactions, the detriment of not having a pet around could be worse than any symptoms of the allergy itself. Obviously, you should always seek medical advice before you act but, if a healthcare professional gives you the go-ahead, you might just find you can introduce the benefits of an at-home pet to your child regardless by following these safety pointers.
Encourage Regular Hand Washing
Mild pet allergies will most often appear if your child wipes their face/eyes with unwashed, furry hands. By encouraging them into a habit of handwashing with natural hand soap so that it won’t exacerbate the problem every time they play with your pet, you can rest easy that they’ll rarely feel any adverse effects. This is invaluable for ensuring they can enjoy all the benefits of animals with none of the negative.
Keep Certain Areas in Your Home Pet-Free
By making sure that at least some areas of your house remain allergen-free, especially your child’s bedroom, you ensure that they aren’t constantly exposed. An outdoor pet is best in this sense, especially considering that improved ventilation can prevent reactions altogether, but even just keeping certain doors closed against an indoor pet can make a difference. This way, if your child starts to feel sniffly, they can escape to a place where they can breathe a little easier until the moment passes.
Consider Your Pet’s Care
In most instances, we’re allergic to the flakes of skin that animals shed rather than the animals themselves, or even their fur. Interestingly, this means that some crucial changes to pet care can make a huge difference to how allergies are impacted. Washing dogs once weekly, for instance, is ideal for removing dead or flaking skin without drying them out and making the situation worse. Equally, changes in diet have been proven to help reduce allergens, especially when additions like omega-3s and other fatty acids moisturize the skin and prevent flaking from happening in the first place.
It should go without saying that care must be taken when dealing with allergens around a susceptible child and, if you notice symptoms worsening, you shouldn’t hesitate to seek further medical assistance. However, if you find that these essentials help to keep even the red eyes of a pet allergy at bay, there’s no reason why your child can’t keep on enjoying all the benefits that animals bring to the table.