Minimizing Discomfort While Visiting Loved Ones With Pets
Last updated: April 2023
While there are certain things that I will never do because of my allergies, like eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, there are many activities that I still participate in despite being exposed to allergens.
Visiting the homes of people with pets
Almost all of my friends and some of my family members have furry pets in their homes. I don't visit them daily, but I hang out with most of them at least once a month. Some days I'm more reactive to animal dander than others, but over time, I've developed a solid system of guidelines for myself in these situations.
My guidelines to mitigate pet allergies
These guidelines ensure that I stay as comfortable as possible while enjoying time with my friends, with the added bonus of petting a dog or cat sometimes.
When I know I'm visiting someone's home with pets, I carry tissues, nasal spray, eye drops, and Benadryl. Some days I don't have to use any of these things during a visit, while others, I use them all. It depends on the day.
I prepare myself for any allergy symptoms or allergic reactions during my visit. If my body is less reactive that day, it's a pleasant surprise. Other times, I often sneeze, my eyes water, and my skin itches.
Washing my hands often
Whenever I touch or pet an animal, I wash my hands afterward. Hand washing is a must!
Along with allergies, I have eczema to manage, and my allergies tend to affect the state of my skin. Quickly washing my hands after touching an animal is important.
If I touch an animal and then scratch my skin or rub my eyes, a little rash on my arm can quickly become far more severe. Even if I am not touching a pet, I wash my hands more than I usually would at home because no matter how often someone cleans, a pet owner's home will always have some dander around.
Changing my clothes when I get home
When I get home after spending time at a pet owner's house, the first thing that I do is change into my "indoor clothes." Changing into fresh clothes was a habit I adopted when the pandemic started because it was still not fully known how the disease spread then, and I'd much rather be safe than sorry.
Now I use my "indoor clothes" to ensure that I don't track animal dander into my home. It is far less of an effort on my part than lint-rolling every inch of myself. I have a set of clothes that I leave in the laundry room, and once I'm home, I change into fresh clothes while putting the fur-covered ones in the hamper.
Showering to remove dander
When I'm itchier and more irritated, I shower before changing into clean clothes, but on most days, changing out of the "outside clothes" is enough for me.
Enjoying time with pet allergies
I'm very grateful that taking these steps lets me spend time with my friends and family while maximizing my comfort levels as somebody allergic to dog and cat dander. These things don't eliminate my discomfort and symptoms, but most of the time, I can enjoy whatever I'm doing without thinking about my allergies, which is a big win in my book!
How often do you connect with others who have food allergies?