When an allergy test shows a person has a sensitivity to dog or cat dander, it’s typically met with either consternation or ambivalence. If the individual owns a beloved dog or cat, that can raise significant worries that the pet will need to be given a new home… and if the person isn’t a pet owner, the news of an allergy might elicit little more than a shrug.
But in either case, there’s more to the story. They need to know the allergen levels in their environment lest they unnecessarily… or before discounting pet allergens as the source of their misery.
Dog Days at the Office
Despite being allergic to dogs, Mike J. owns a pair of them. After many years of being asthma-free, his symptoms returned, a fact he attributed to his canines at home. He installed HEPA air filters, took up an aggressive cleaning regimen, and limited his direct contact with the pups, but it didn’t seem to help. He thought he might have to choose between giving them up or breathing normally.
Before he made any rash decisions, Mike tested his home and his remote office with Exhale, and the results were unexpected—his office turned up high levels of dog allergen. Mike was apparently transporting dander from home to work on his clothes and shoes, and then was breathing it in all day. Additionally, Exhale found high dust mite and tree pollen counts, as well as dog allergen at home. Based on this information, Mike thoroughly cleaned his workspace more often, kept the windows closed to keep pollen out, kept his dogs out of his bedroom, bathed them more frequently, and his allergist began treating him with immunotherapy specifically targeting those allergens Exhale identified in his environments. Best of all, he got to keep his dogs.
No Dogs… But Dog Allergens
Jenny A. was suffering from severe allergy symptoms, and Exhale testing determined that she had high mold and dog allergen levels. She wasn’t too surprised about the mold—her condominium had flooding problems the year before—and the Exhale test gave her the evidence to force the condo management to remediate the problem. However, finding dog allergen in her condo was a bit shocking, since she didn’t own any pets. An Exhale allergen expert explained to Jenny that dog allergen can easily be transferred onto clothes or hair by simple contact with other dog owners.
Gaspar B. had a similar experience. He had a history of reacting to pollen, dogs, and cats, but with no pets in his home and symptoms that spanned seasons, he was baffled at what might be causing his asthma to worsen. After testing his home with Exhale, Gaspar was surprised to learn that his home contained elevated levels of dog allergen, and no other major allergen sources. As it turned out, Gaspar’s partner owned a dog, and he was evidently bringing dander home with him after visiting the partner’s house. An Exhale remediation specialist crafted a personalized action plan for Gaspar to address his specific situation, including changing clothes after visiting his partner’s house, showering before bed, vacuuming with a HEPA filter, and washing bedding in hot, soapy water at least weekly.
Mitigating Muffin’s Impact
Mary C. loves her “hypoallergenic” cat, Muffin, and she especially loves to sleep with him every night. Despite taking prescribed allergy medications regularly, she woke up sick every morning. Mary was convinced that her medications weren’t working; her allergist believed it was exposure to the cat that was activating her symptoms. Mary was skeptical—her cat was “hypoallergenic,” after all—but agreed to try Exhale testing. She was shocked when Exhale found high levels of cat allergen in her bedroom. There is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic cat or dog, a fact that Mary now accepts. Muffin no longer sleeps in Mary’s room, and she’s happier and healthier for it. “By just changing my behavior, my symptoms have vastly improved,” Mary said.” Thank goodness I didn’t have to get rid of my cat!”
Having a pet allergy doesn’t have to mean a life without pets, just as a life without pets doesn’t mean ignoring your pet allergy. By testing your environment for allergens using Exhale, you can gain critical intelligence about just what is making you sick… and what you can do to fix it.
In your home, we found below median levels of dog allergen. This is not a surprise given that you have two dogs. The good news is this is the only allergen found. Therefore continuing to focus on dog avoidance measures is the best way forward for you.