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7 Natural Remedies for Pet Allergy Headaches
Our pets are often more than just furry companions. They’re members of our family. So it can be devastating to learn that exposure to them is the cause of our frequent (and sometimes intense) headaches.
In an effort to help, many doctors will recommend reducing or eliminating your pet allergy headache triggers. (Put another way: “Get rid of your animals.”) This is generally an unwelcomed suggestion, to say the least. One study indicates that only 20 percent of pet owners are willing to take such advice.
Fortunately for the other 80 percent, there is good news. With some genuine effort and commitment, pet allergy headache sufferers can create a 7-step plan to kick their head pain to the curb.
What causes pet allergy headaches?
What is it about our pets that makes us feel like there is a marching band parading through our heads? For both adults and children who get pet allergy headaches, the real problem is pet allergens. That’s just a fancy term for invisibly small particles of dried animal saliva, urine, and dander (flecks of skin your pet continuously sheds). Any mammal with fur or feathers can produce dander, meaning you can be allergic to a dog, cat, bunny, or bird.
Research shows that virtually all US households are home to pet allergens, even if there’s no animal living in the space. For those who suffer from pet allergy headaches, that means airborne allergens can trigger head pain (or even migraine) without a pet being physically nearby.
Like people with any allergy, individuals with pet dander allergies have overly sensitive immune systems. So instead of recognizing pet dander as the harmless substance it is, their immune systems go on the defensive.
What are the symptoms of a pet allergy headache?
When your immune system misidentifies pet dander as the enemy, it goes into fight mode. Once that happens, your body may respond in several ways.
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- “Dry” coughing
- Swollen sinuses
- Pressure headache
Head pressure and pain from pet dander sensitivity usually happens in the forehead, cheeks, or right behind the eyes. Sometimes, people report tooth pain and excessive production of nasal mucous. It is not entirely out of the question that your pet allergy could contribute to an asthma attack. Individuals with severe pet allergies can have difficulty breathing -- in addition to pet allergy headaches. All these things are your body’s natural way of trying to keep the offender out.
How do you know if you have a pet allergy?
The only surefire way to know is to have an immunologist or allergy specialist conduct allergy testing. Blood work and skin tests are both used for allergy testing. Skin tests tend to be more accurate when testing for sensitivity to certain allergens, including pet dander. They also produce quicker results than bloodwork, and are much cheaper.
How common are pet allergy headaches?
Roughly 3 in 10 Americans are allergic to pet dander, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Cat dander allergies are twice as common as dog dander allergies, which is bad news for our feline friends.
A push toward “hypoallergenic” pets has been quite the rage in recent years. Despite this trendy way of dealing with pet dander sensitivity, there is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog or cat. Some dog breeds may be less likely to trigger an allergic reaction, but that does not mean they are hypoallergenic. So don’t be tricked into purchasing a certain breed under the illusion that it will keep you from having another pet allergy headache.
Getting rid of the allergens that cause pet allergy headache
It is not possible to entirely rid your environment of pet dander and other triggers of pet allergy headaches. Even the most vigorous – and frequent – cleaning sessions will not eliminate the billions of airborne pet allergens that invade your indoor spaces every day. As soon as you think you have gotten them all, new ones begin to collect on every surface around you.
Since it is not possible to eradicate pet allergens entirely, a more realistic goal is to lower them indoors. This may be enough to keep your worst symptoms at bay.
Don’t get rid of Fluffy or Fido…try these natural solutions instead
No matter what an allergy specialist or immunologist says, you do not have to give up your favorite fur buddy in order to get relief. It is possible to manage the effects of pet allergens so you can continue to live in harmony, under the same roof. Try these 7 solutions to achieve natural relief from your pet allergy headache.
Employ the power of HEPA.
Use a High-Efficiency Particle Air (HEPA) vacuum weekly on all carpeted and fabric areas of your home. Running a HEPA air purifier 24/7 also helps to capture pet dander and other pet allergens before they settle on any surfaces of your home. These two HEPA devices can eliminate up to 99 percent of all airborne allergens inside your home, including those from your pet.
Put your pets in the tub, at least once a week. Thoroughly wash them with a gentle, anti-allergen shampoo. Pet stores and many veterinarian offices carry these products (along with other anti-allergen bathing and care items for your pets).
Easy Air Organic Allergy Relief Spray.
This amazing solution is the perfect natural solution for dust-mite allergies. It also tackles pet allergies fast. It works by destroying most of the protein allergens your pet sheds. Just spray a light mist of this 100 percent organic clear liquid formula to tamp down dust mite and pet dander.
Easy Air Organic Laundry Rinse.
Pet proteins and dander are sticky, so they tend to cling to clothing, bed linen, and towels. It can be difficult to remove them, even in the hottest wash water. Adding just 2 ounces of this clear, unscented laundry rinse to your final rinse cycle, during every fourth washing, deep cleans all washable fabrics and lessens the symptoms associated with pet allergies, including headaches.
Use a sinus rinse.
Irrigating your sinus cavities with a sinus rinse device like a Neti Pot every day stops low-level sinus infections. Rinsing also relieves the swelling associated with pet allergy headaches and migraines. Done regularly, this means noticeable relief.
Use the power of moist heat.
Apply a warm, moist cloth to the sinus region for up to 10 minutes to help reduce inflammation. Breathing in warm steam also can help loosen congested sinuses.
Use essential oils.
The combination of certain essential oils can quickly diffuse a pet allergy headache. You can make your own mixture with 10 drops of peppermint, 6 drops of lavender, and 1 drop of rose oil. Add ingredients to a small bowl of room temperature water. Soak a cotton ball in the mixture and roll it gently across affected areas (temples, cheekbones, scalp, and/or forehead). Not keen on mixing up your own? No worries! Grab some Headache ReLeaf Roll-On. This handy ready-to-use roll-on contains menthol and other essential oils to knock out pet allergy headache pain fast.