Removing pets very effective at controlling asthma in dander allergic individuals.
A very common indoor allergen is animal dander. Many allergic individuals test positively to animal dander (a higher percentage to cats than dogs). A common recommendation from Allergists is to remove the pets from the home of the allergic individual. Unfortunately, this is not a very popular recommendation and most pet owners would rather get rid of their Allergist than their pet. But does it make a difference?
In a recent Japanese study it was found that pet removal had a dramatic positive effect. Twenty asthmatic individuals with allergies to dander and pets in their homes were in the study. Half decided to keep their pets and half gave them up. The two groups were similar in their sensitivities to other allergens.
After 10 months none of the patients who removed pets were taking inhaled corticosteroids, compared to 9 of those who kept their pets. The need for follow-up visits and other medications was also lower in the removal group. Patients who removed their pets also had increased lung function while there was no difference in those who kept their pets.
While removing pets is clearly the best option as seen in this study, people will still refuse to comply. As a result, the best alternative is to aggressively reduce exposure for the pet allergic asthmatic. A HEPA air purifier in the bedroom of the allergic individual, allergen proof bedding and hot water washing of linens are a minimum. It also helps to wash animals weekly.