catPets offer us love and companionship. Unfortunately, they also offer allergies to about 10 percent of the population. If getting rid of your cat, dog, or guinea pig isn’t an option, try these tactics for keeping allergic reactions under control:

  • First, get tested. If you’re experiencing allergy symptoms—sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, nasal congestion, etc.—visit the doctor first to confirm their origin. Often, the doctor will advise getting rid of your pet, but he or she can also offer suggestions on controlling your reaction.
  • Create a pet-free zone. Keep one bedroom completely free of your dog or cat so you (or whoever suffers the allergy) can get regular sleep. Install high-efficiency filters in your air ducts to limit the spread of allergens throughout your home.
  • Bathe pets frequently. Have your spouse, a friend, or your children wash and brush your pets at least once a week—outside your home, if possible.
  • Clean house often. You may have to vacuum your carpets and fabrics daily, and dust furniture and blinds once a week. If possible, replace carpeting with tile, wood, or linoleum as much as possible to avoid trapping allergens under your feet.
  • Wash hands. Whenever you pick up, cuddle, or otherwise handle your pet, wash your hands immediately, and ask family and visitors to do the same.
  • Keep pets off furniture. Provide a comfortable pet bed for your animal to sleep and rest in, and train pets to stay off couches and chairs. Wash your pet’s bed often.