Holiday Guests Allergic to Your Pets?

Holiday Guests and Allergies

Two people have reminded me that Christmas will be upon me before I know it.  Thanks for the reminder!  Exactly who took my 2018 and will they please bring it back?  If you are expecting guests allergic to your pet, its time to take action!

Holidays are a great time.  Family and friends gather together for good conversation, good food, and good company.  But if you have pets and your guests have allergies, wheezing, sneezing, and a grab for the rescue inhaler can put a damper on the fun.

It doesn’t have to be like that!  If you do a little advance planning and work, you can invite guests allergic to your pets to safely share the holidays with you and your pets.

In this post, I am going to focus on the “day” guest.  This is a person that will be coming into your home for a few hours, but not spending the night.  I will cover overnight guests in another post to come.

There’s no time like the present

The time to start preparing is now!  The first thing you must do is understand what is the cause of pet allergy. Then you will understand how to control it.

Cats, dogs, and other furred animals secrete a protein in their saliva and urine that commonly misidentified by the immune system of a person with allergies.

Cat Grooming - Pet DanderEvery time the animals grooms itself or empties its bladder, bits of this protein stick to the skin and fur. It dries up and flakes off, either on its own accord or is shed with that bit of skin or fur.  Once it is off the animal, it becomes airborne and is inhaled by the allergic person.

The immune system of the allergic person has previously misidentified this protein upon a prior encounter with an animal.  The immune system thinks the protein is a germ. It has created a specific IgE for that protein and upon every subsequent exposure it thinks it is fighting the same germ again and again. The mast cells start producing histamine and it just goes downhill for the allergic person from there.

So, step one is complete! You now know why the animal makes the allergic person feel sick. The second step is to identify where the allergen has collected in your home and the final step is cleaning it up. 

Game plan

Look around the rooms where your guests will be hanging out.  Note upholstered furniture, rugs, carpets, and draperies.  These fiber surfaces collect these shed bits of protein and when they are disturbed, they release the allergens back into the air.

Start applying Allerpet solution for cats or dogs about 2 weeks before your guests come to visit.  Just wipe the animal down with this mild denaturing agent. It will stop the animal from adding to the allergen level that already exists in your home. Do this at least once a week.

About a week before the big visit day, start spraying all the fiber surfaces with a denaturing agent like ADMS Anti-allergen Spray.  While primarily marketed for dust mite allergy, this product works great on allergens from cats, dogs, molds, pollen, cockroaches, and all the other common household allergens.

The day before the guests arrive, vacuum all the fiber surfaces thoroughly and then spray them down one more time with ADMS.

Special Note: You don’t want to vacuum just before your guests arrive. Most vacuum cleaners will just send the settled allergens up into the air, where they will be more easily inhaled by your guest.

The morning of the big day, reapply Allerpet to the animal (as an added benefit this is a great-coat conditioner so you pet will look great for the guests!) and lightly spray down any areas where the pet sleeps.

Relax and enjoy

 

Now, go knock their socks off with your awesome culinary talents!  Whether you order in or go all out cooking, your guests will be comfortable, your pet will be shiny and you will be thankful you read this post today!

Till next time

Cheryl
The Allergy Store

Allergy elimination is about eliminating the allergy-causing substance in your home the best you can. Once you do this, you may be able to eliminate the need for all the medications and doctor visits. For additional information please click here to download your free copy of” You Can Do It! Allergy Free Living.

©Copyright 1996-2018  AllergyStore.com™ All Rights Reserved

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Bed Bugs are the Real Vampires

vampire bat
courtesy panuruangjan@freedigital photos

When I was a kid, the old black and white movies with scary monsters like vampires and mummies were some of my favorites. As I got older, I loved movies (like Young Frankenstein and The Rocky Horror Picture Show) that allowed me to laugh at my fears.

Currently zombies fill the screens of horror flicks. Zombies are scary, but what really frightens me are the thought of real blood-sucking creatures crawling into bed with me at night. I’m afraid of bed bugs and I have never been bitten by one. Yet.

Bed Bug PTSD

I went looking to see if the fear of bed bugs had been given a specific “phobia” name. I didn’t find a phobia for bed bugs in particular. The fear of beds is Clinophobia and the fear of bugs is Entomophobia, but there isn’t a Clino-Entomo-phobia as of yet. Give it time.

I did find that people who have actually had a bout with bed bugs may suffer from an anxiety similar to mine known as “Bed Bug PTSD”. I am not making this up. The Atlantic published an article about bed bug anxiety . Well, OK, they called it “madness” but even I think that is extreme.

bed bugs make you crazy
Bed Bugs Keep You Up Last Night?

Turns out that once you survive an infestation of bed bugs, the expensive and time consuming eradication process can leave you emotionally scarred. I believe it. I’ve never had bed bugs, but I have helped so many people going through the bed bug extermination process that I live in fear of bed bugs.

Bed Bugs are Evil Blood Suckers

EHSO has some pretty good information about bed bugs. In a bed bug photonutshell, these bugs are small, but are large enough to be seen with the naked eye (unlike microscopic dust mites). They feed on blood. Human blood in general and your blood in particular is their favorite meal. They use two tubes, one to inject an anticoagulant and another to extract your blood. They feed every 5 to 7 days and they are attracted by the carbon dioxide you exhale.   I guess you could just never exhale. Let me know how that works for you. The anticoagulant they inject causes a bump and an itching sensation.

The little buggers will hide anywhere, but close to you and your bed is one of their favorite locations. For many years they were considered to be pests of the unclean. But as we travel more and the world gets smaller, bed bugs can be found in the finest homes and hotels and the most modest motel and slums as well. No place is immune.

Now Recognized as a Health Risk

For years bed bugs were considered a disgusting nuisance but not a carrier of disease. People were found to be allergic to the bites, but that didn’t pose any more health risk than allergy to mosquito bites or other insects. However, recent research has shown that bed bugs can be a carrier of Chagas Disease. So fear of bed bugs isn’t completely irrational.

Calm Your Bed Bug Fears

Having confessed to my bed bug fears, here are some things I do to prevent a bed bug infestation from ever happening to me. It has been successful so far, but I am sure as soon as this gets published I will get bed bugs. Like punishment for bragging. So here is my routine:

Bed Bug Covers. My mattress and pillows are all protected in zippered bed bug coverszippered bed bug proof covers. I am highly allergic to dust mites, so I need zippered covers for dust mite protection. I use the AllergyCare Solution bed bug proof and dust mite proof fabric so I literally kill two bird (or is it bugs) with one stone.

Bed Bug Avoidance. Since I don’t have bed bugs in my house, I don’t want to bring them into my house. So, when I travel my suitcase stays in the bathtub at a hotel. I never put luggage on the floor.

When I come home, my suitcase stays in the garage until it can be thoroughly inspected and the clothing goes from the garage into the washing machine before it ever comes in the house.  See, I have been afraid of bed bugs for years.

Bed Bugs are Scary

So yes, bed bugs are scary. They don’t fly like vampire bats; but I haven’t read a case of someone picking up a suitcase full of vampire bats by staying in a hotel. I read about bed bugs in stores, but I don’t read about vampire bats in stores. You get the idea.

In reality, bed bugs are to be feared more than vampires. In fiction, bed bug zombies would be the worst!

Til Next Time!

Cheryl

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Fall Bedding…Time to Get Your Bed Ready for Snuggle Season

 

Snuggle Time

Fall is in full force now.  It’s a great time to start thinking about changing out your summer bedding.  Even if you don’t live in an area with significant changes in temperature, it is still a good time to freshen up your bedding, especially if you have dust or dust mite allergies.

Your first line of defense is your zippered dust mite covers that you have on your pillows, mattress and boxs prings.  If you didn’t take the cover off your mattress in the Spring and wash it, now is a great time to do that chore.  A great snuggle season starts with bedding that is freshly laundered. Be sure to wash in either hot water or add some De-Mite if you are washing in cold.  Wash with the zippers in the open position and be sure the cover is totally dry before you put it back on the bed.  If you didn’t wash your mattress cover last Spring and haven’t done it recently, there is no time like this weekend to get that done!

You are probably washing your dust mite pillow covers every 2 months or so.  If you haven’t washed them in the last two months, throw them in the load with your mattress cover.  Also, try to make it a habit to wash those pillow covers at least every 6 to 8 weeks.  The oil from your hair and head can come through your pillowcase case and make the zippered cover look really dingy.

It’s also time to start thinking about warmer blankets and quilts.  If your Fall bedding includes a blanket or quilt that was not stored in a closed container, then before you put it on your bed, toss the item in your dryer and set to the fluff setting for 20 minutes.  Do not use any heat!  The tumble action of the dryer will help shake loose any dust that might have collected while it was in storage.

If your quilt/comforter isn’t protected with a dust mite proof zippered duvet cover, then you should think about using one.  The zippered cover will provide complete protection against any allergens embedded in the comforter and also help to keep the duvet/comforter itself clean. If you don’t use a zippered cover, then you can always spray your duvet, quilt or comforter or other bedding with ADMS Anti-Allergen Dust Mite Spray.  Just give it a light mist on both sides and make sure it is dry before you put it back on the bed.

If you change to jersey or flannel sheets in the fall months, make sure that your Spring/Summer sheets are washed in De-Mite or Allergen Wash before you store them.  If you didn’t wash your sheets in either of these solutions, then make sure you do wash them before you put them on the bed.  You want to start fresh.

Now if you are going to take your summer quilt/blanket/comforter and get it ready for storage, make sure it is clean first.  If it is washable, wash it and make sure it is completely dry.  If it wool or silk that is not washable, take advantage of these last sunny days and expose your wool or silk to the sunshine.  The ultraviolet light will freshen the silk and reactivate the lanolin in the wool.

If you have large plastic storage bags or tubs, they are great for protecting your summer bedding until you need it again next year.  If bugs are a problem, I recommend the use of cedar chips and cedar oil versus toxic mothballs to repel pests.

If you have allergies and are thinking about adding a new quilt or comforter to your Fall bedding collection, then I recommend wool over down or synthetic fibers.  The lanolin in wool naturally repels dust mites and also provides some antibacterial protection.

I have used both wool and silk comforters on my bed.  I prefer the wool over the silk, my hubby likes the silk better.  The compromise is silk in the warmer months and wool in the cooler months (yes we do have what we think are “cool” nights here in South Florida during the winter).

I know people really like down but it causes problems.  Not only is it a dust mite heaven, but even if you cover your down quilt with a dust mite proof cover, the protection won’t last forever.  Eventually, the quills on the down will penetrate the microweave and your cover will loose its effectiveness.

Some people like to vacuum their mattresses a few times a year.  It really isn’t necessary, but if it makes you feel more protected, then by all means, use this time of year as an excuse to do it.

Till next time

Cheryl

©Copyright 1996-2018  AllergyStore.com™ All Rights Reserved

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