There has been a lot of talk about hypoallergenic dogs recently. President-elect Obama's 10-year-old daughter Malia has been promised a new puppy to take to the White House but she has allergies.
According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, allergies to pets are actually not caused by the amount of hair the pet sheds, but from a protein found in the animal's dander, saliva or urine. This protein can set off an allergic reaction in certain people. Since all dogs possess these proteins and they are found in the air, there is really no way to totally avoid exposure to them should you have a dog in your home.
There is, in truth, no real "allergy-free" dog, say these experts.
That said, what can people do to reduce allergy symptoms in circumstances where dogs are present? Here are a few ideas from the organization:
• Bathe the animal weekly.
• Wash your sheets and towels in hot water.
• Replace wall-to-wall carpeting or area rugs with hardwood or other solid surfaces.
• Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
• Keep your pet out of the bedroom of the allergic person by keeping the door closed during the day. That way, dander won't build up on pillows or bedspreads.
• Consult with your internist or an allergist/immunologist about your allergies and possible treatment. For more information, go to www.aaaai.org.