Springtime is the beginning of seasonal allergies for many of us. As the snow melts and the flowers, grass and trees sprout, so too does the sneezing.
If you know you are a seasonal sufferer, do not blame your newly acquired feline for exaggerating the symptoms. There are many steps you can take around your home environment to minimize allergies that are seasonal and animal related.
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Remember, in multiple feline households (or any animal household) your vacuum equipped with a HEPA (high-efficiency, particulate-arresting) filter is a good choice, or a vacuum with a disposable electrostatic bag also works. If you have a choice between high-end paper or cloth, pick the disposable cloth. It will be stronger and cleaner and more efficient than paper.
Remember, anyone can market a vacuum geared for pet hair, but it still may not be as allergen free as it should be.
You may not be the only one that has allergies in your household. Your felines can have allergies to household dust and protein dust from their food bowls if they are not kept clean and vacuumed around. Frequent washing of the floor around their food areas keeps all allergies in check.
Beside pet areas, your rugs, drapes and upholstery collect allergens. Strive to limit fabric and regularly vacuum or steam clean them. A hand-held steamer works for a light touch up, but a professional service can offer a deeper cleaning.
If you really want to minimize allergens, perhaps you should keep one room allergy free by denying your feline access to that room. Try to keep hypoallergenic bedding and pillow materials in that room, too.
Your furnace can also be a guilty culprit in spreading allergens around the house. Certain furnace filters are more efficient for handling pet allergens. Look for filters with higher efficiency ratings. These filters are usually twice as expensive but will be worth the relief. 3M makes some higher rated allergen diffusers that trap pet hair and dander efficiently.
Changing the filter often is key to allergy relief. An air purifier fitted with a HEPA filter may also be an aid in removing allergens from the air.
Some pet owners bathe their animals to reduce allergens. This is tricky because you can dry out your pet's coat if you wash too often. Brushing and combing in-between baths also helps.
In the end, you may have to get allergy shots or take some over-the-counter medications to combat the sneezing. At the end of the day, it is worth it to be able to snuggle up with our favorite felines.
Leo and Frank came to The Buddy Foundation in hopes that they might be adopted together. They are flame point Siamese, champagne in color, and both are very friendly. They are approximately 8 years old and would make a great addition to any family looking to adopt a pair.
• The Buddy Foundation hosts photos with the Easter Bunny from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, April 12, at its shelter, 65 W. Seegers Road, in Arlington Heights.
Enjoy one or all of the day's activities, which include photos with the Easter Bunny ($7.50 donation per printed picture), raffles, egg hunt, bake sale, adoption eggstravaganza and more.
• The Buddy Foundation is a nonprofit (501c3), all volunteer, no-kill animal shelter dedicated to the welfare of stray, abused and abandoned cats and dogs. For more information, call (847) 290-5806 or visit www.thebuddyfoundation.org.