Don’t Get Your Dander Up about Adult-Onset Pet Allergies

Pets are family members — even when you have allergies.

As a pet owner, you know all about the benefits of owning a pet. Whether it’s your companion’s unconditional love or the stress relief they bring, your pet has brought you joy over the years.

So, why do you suddenly feel itchy and irritated around your animal companion?

Sadly, it sounds like you’ve developed a pet allergy. Yes, allergies can develop in adulthood. But don’t fret! Take the time today to learn all about your newfound allergy and how you can keep it from coming between your animal companion and you.

Why would you develop an allergy now?

While you might not have had one before, allergies can develop at any point in life. This typically happens once your body starts to view certain allergens (i.e., substances that can cause allergic reactions) as a threat to your immune system. For pet allergies, this might mean your body ends up viewing substances like your pet’s dander, saliva, or skin flakes as a threat.

To defend your health, your body will produce large numbers of cells to fight off the substances. This defense will then cause a certain physical reaction, depending on the number of allergens encountered and how your body reacts to them. So, you could end up with the following symptoms or more:

  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Hives

An allergy can be serious, but it doesn’t mean you need to let your pet go.

Your pet is like another family member. You’ve spent time caring for and playing with them, and in turn, they have given you their trust.

Don’t abandon that trust by letting your pet go just because you have mild or moderate allergies. There are ways to reduce your symptoms.

However, it is understandable and heartbreaking if your reaction is much more severe. If you’ve been dealing with anaphylaxis from your pet allergy, which is not one of the common anaphylactic triggers, you may actually have to think about rehoming your pet. One way to make this act less traumatic is to consider getting a close friend or family member to adopt.

For those with non-life-threatening allergic reactions, try to think of what’s best for you and your animal companion. You’re family members, and presumably, you’ve loved each other’s company, so do your best to reduce your allergic reactions so you two can stay together.

Give these allergen reduction methods a try.

If you are determined to stay with your pet, know that there’ll be a tough road ahead for you two. It’ll take time and testing to determine what reduces your allergic reactions. But for a start, consider following these suggestions.

Turn your bedroom into an allergen-free space.

A bed in blue and white is right next to a white geode lamp in a gray and white room.

You might have enjoyed having your bedroom as a space for both you and your pet to relax. But this lifestyle may have to change.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, your bedroom is usually the one area of your home with the highest amount of allergens. After all, on average, Americans spend a third of their lives in their bedrooms. So it doesn’t take long for allergens to build up.

To avoid this dilemma entirely, turn your bedroom into an allergen-free zone. It can be difficult training your pet to accept that they cannot enter your bedroom anymore, but training is a lot less painful compared to rehoming your pet.

Once you’ve gotten your pet accustomed to not entering your bedroom, you’ll have a space that will be almost completely free from pet allergens. But you’ll also need to get into a regular cleaning routine.

Clean your home regularly.

A vacuum rests near a pair of white shoes against a blue and white carpet.

Cleaning might feel like a chore, but it’s one of the best ways you can reduce the number of allergens your body encounters. After all, cleaning will help you remove any allergens or dirt particles that might be hanging around your home. So get better acquainted with vacuuming and doing the laundry regularly.

Purify the air in your home.

A number of blue-tinted windows from a gray building are facing forward.

Part of your routine cleaning might include directly purifying the air of your home.

To do this, look into getting an air purifier. It’s a cleaning machine designed to remove pollutants from the air. And for extra filtering, make sure the machine you choose is one that has a high efficiency particulate arresting (HEPA) filter attached. This filter will help your purifier catch common allergens that like to collect around your home.

Sanitize your pet.

A person is holding a shower head to wash their dog.

Don’t forget to clean your pet frequently, too!

The ASPCA suggests you bathe your pet at least once weekly. Giving your pet a frequent wash will not only keep them clean, but it will also wash away any allergens that might bother your allergies. You can also wipe your pet with products that are designed to prevent dander. And remember: brush or comb your pet regularly.

All this grooming should give you a simple, effective way of reducing both your pet’s allergens and your allergy symptoms.

If you still have harsh enough allergic reactions, consider immunotherapy.

So, you’ve tried out all those suggestions before, and they didn’t work. You don’t feel like you’re having an anaphylactic reaction, but your allergies are still way too frustrating for you. Now, what?

It may be time to consider talking to your doctor about immunotherapy. This method involves injecting the pet allergen directly into your blood stream. While there are risks, this method is generally safe and ensures that your body gets used to being around the allergen. After enough time, your body will stop reacting so harshly whenever it encounters the allergen. And you should be able to enjoy spending time with your pet again without worry!

In short, you and your pet do not need to part ways because of your allergies. Just take the time and effort needed to see what you can do to reduce your symptoms.

6 Physical Features Unique to Homo Sapiens

As humans, we tend to think of our bodies as being less capable than many others in the animal kingdom. We can’t run as fast as most animals, nor can we track prey by scent or fly. Yet, we human beings actually have a number of physical features that are unique to us. At times, these features even enable us to out-cool our fellow animal brethren.

  1. Superior vision

While many other animals have color vision, many others do not. Our cats and dogs have very limited color vision compared to us. Scientists believe humans and other primates developed color vision as a means to discern ripe fruit in forest habitats. We also use the color of our faces to express ourselves to others, blushing when we’re shy and going pale with fright. It’s true that our vision is superior to many animals. After all, vision plays a large role in reading, writing, and art – forms of communication not found in any other animal – as well as deciphering intricate facial expressions.

Still, many animals have us beat when it comes to vision. Animals like reptiles and insects can see infrared and ultraviolet light.

2. Sweat and long distance running

Did you know you can outrun a horse? That’s right! Humans are one of few animals that can run continuously for long distances. This is perhaps due to our unique ability to sweat, a mechanism that lets us cool off while we run. Other animals don’t sweat or sweat differently, so although they may outrun us at the beginning of a race, they cannot maintain a constant speed.

Scientists posit that our long distance running ability may have helped our ancestors tire out prey in the savannah. However, our running prowess is no match for huskies, which can change the way they burn fat and run long distances seemingly without pain.

3. Menstrual cycle

The menstrual cycle womb-bearing humans are familiar with is strangely absent from most mammals with the exception of primates. Your dog or cat has something called an estrous cycle. When an animal is in estrous, it is referred to as being in heat. These animals will only copulate during time periods when they are in heat, and most can reabsorb their endometrium (lining of the uterus) if fertilization does not occur. Humans, on the other hand, shed their endometrium, a process those of us with periods every month are familiar with. We also don’t go into heat, allowing us to get it on all year round.

4. Dextrous hands

Many primates have opposable thumbs just like us, but humans are unique in that we can bring our thumbs all the way across our hand to touch our ring and pinky fingers. This gives us exceptional dexterity. So, while monkeys and apes can pluck fruit from trees with ease, we humans are capable of far more intricate handiwork. This has allowed us to weave cloth, write down information, and construct intricate pieces of technology.

5. Musicality

It is no coincidence that music exists in every human civilization. From the grand orchestras of Europe to the percussive complexities of Africa, nearly everyone finds comfort, community, celebration, and more in music.

Humans are unique in that we can process melody, harmony, and rhythm simultaneously. A few animals have shown signs that they can too, but only anecdotally. We humans also use our vocal cords in unique and complex ways, singing songs and pronouncing words.

6. Bipedalism

It’s no surprise that few animals walk on two legs the way we do. While two legs are slower than four, scientists believed our two-legged habit gave us unprecedented evolutionary advantages. For example, when our ancestors left the forest for the savannah, having two legs allowed them to stand up and look over tall grass. Bipedalism also allowed us to free our hands to grasp tools and carry things. It has even been posited that bipedalism helped us thermoregulate more efficiently.

Our traits allow us to adopt a unique niche

Humans may seem clumsy and slow next to, say, a graceful antelope or even a prowling housecat, but we have specialized traits that have allowed us to excel in our unique niche. With our ability to manipulate tools, communicate through complex means, and of course our brainpower, humans have successfully dominated the planet. However, we’re still far from being the most successful; earthworms, algae, and bacteria have been here a lot longer than us and take that honor. At least for now.

How to Exercise (for Lazy People)

Do you hate exercising?

Did you hate gym class as a kid? Do you dread being sweaty and hot? Do you loathe all the exercise advice you get from your friends, the internet, and that over-achieving guy at the gym who’s convinced all your life’s problems will be solved if you “just lift, bro”?

People who give advice about fitness are usually people who love fitness. But gimmicks like “you just need to find a sport you enjoy!” and “once you get into it, you’ll love it!” don’t work on the chronically lazy. Moreover, not everyone has hours to kill and bucks to spend on a fancy gym membership or have a suitable place to jog in their neighbourhood.

Thankfully, there are cheats around this. What we need to understand is that no matter how much you hate it, exercise has a myriad of benefits. You may literally live longer. So here are a few tips to get some exercise into your day without sweating (too much).

1. Walk everywhere. And build walking into your day.

Many of us don’t want to exercise because we don’t want to carve out a portion of our day for it. It doesn’t count as waste, though, if you build exercise into your day.

For example, you need to get to work anyway, so why not build walking into your commute? If you transit, you can get off several stops earlier and walk the rest of the way. Live within 30 minutes of your workplace? Walk the whole damn way! And choose the stairs, not the elevator, when you get to the office.

2. Do tiny little workouts throughout the day.

You don’t have to slog through a 5km jog to reap the benefits of exercise. Doing a little thing here or there counts, and you may even end up expending more effort and energy into each 10-minute chunk than if you’d grinded through an hour-long run.

3. Watch your favourite show during a workout.

Admit it: exercising is painful. But you can mind-over-matter that by distracting yourself with a TV show. Just put on your favorite comedy or thriller while doing squats and push-ups. While studies suggest that entertainment during workouts may lower your rate of exertion, if you’re aiming to just get off the couch, it’s worth trying without missing the much-awaited season finale of your favorite binge. Just be careful not to injure yourself if you need to crane your neck to see the screen!

4. Hang outside with a friend

Instead of inviting your friend over to sit down on the couch and gossip with you, why not go on a walk and gossip instead? Much like the TV trick, when our brains are occupied by something interesting, we often forget about physical discomforts like aching legs and sweaty arms. If you live near a park or a trail, even better. More studies show health benefits of simply being in nature. In fact, there’s even an Association of Nature & Forest Therapy that trains people to guide others in nature for the therapeutic effect.

5. Get a DDR pad.

If you’re a fan of video games, you might want to invest in a Dance Dance Revolution pad. Garage Band isn’t bad too, especially if you bang on the drums. DDR, however, can really get your heartrate up. Loads of people, mostly gamers, have touted the benefits of the popular rhythm-based video game and its offshoots, such as StepMania.

6. Find an active activity you like.

Okay, I know I said in the beginning that for many of us, this is worthless advice, but have you really explored all your options? Have you tried…

  • Birdwatching?
  • Skimboarding?
  • Cricket?
  • Archery?
  • Darts?
  • Rock climbing?
  • Horseback riding?
  • Roller derby?
  • Fencing?
  • Scuba diving?
  • Skateboarding?
  • Ultimate frisbee?
  • Capture the Flag?
  • Laser tag?
  • Tai Chi?
  • Juggling?
  • Curling?
  • Paintball?
  • Quidditch?
  • Dining table table tennis?
  • Skipping stones?
  • Jumping up and down on a trampoline?
  • Running around screaming?

(Okay, avoid the last one).

Yes, some of these sports are more expensive and less accessible than others. Some of them will also require you to join a team. But there’s a reason why weird sports like Quidditch exist – they have a following, people think they’re fun, and who knows, you might agree!

Now, while these are all great ways to get you moving, you probably shouldn’t rely on walking the dog as your main workout. It’s still important to do the odd hike, jog, or swim. But if you’re struggling just to motivate yourself off the couch, every little thing counts.