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Don't Let Pet Allergies Ruin Your Holidays [Oct 27,2016]
Don't Let Pet Allergies Ruin Your Holidays
For people with pet allergies, holiday gatherings at homes with furry, four-legged animals can turn an otherwise good time into a nightmare of itchy, red, watery eyes, and endless bouts of sneezing.
Whether you're the host with a pet or the person with allergies, there are things you can do to alleviate unpleasant symptoms and keep your focus on enjoying the company of friends and family, says theAmerican Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) and Consumer Reports experts.
If You're Hosting People With Pet Allergies
Send your pet on a vacation. If possible, remove your pet from your home before you begin to clean and set up for your gathering, and for the duration of the event. If you cannot remove your pet, confine him or her to one room before preparations begin.
Clean, clean, clean. Pet hair can trigger allergic reactions, but the main culprit is actually proteins in pet dander, tiny flecks of shed skin that settle onto wood floors, rugs and carpeting, furniture, and clothing. To reduce allergen levels in the home vacuum thoroughly. Use a vacuum equipped with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, says the AAAAI. Vacuum rugs and carpets extra carefully, and don't forget to vacuum drapes, couches, and chairs thoroughly, too. Check out the vacuum cleaners that were top dogs in Consumer Reports' pet hair tests.
Consider a room air purifier. Some research suggests that room air purifiers provide some benefit to pet allergy sufferers, though they seem to help most when they are used longe-term. Still, if you have an air filter it cannot hurt to place it in the main room where you'll host your guests.
Stock up on antihistamines. Your guests will appreciate it if they forget to bring their own. Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs says a good antihistamine to stock would be over-the-counter one such as cetir­i­zine (Zyrtec and generic), fexofenadine (Allegra and generic), or loratadine (Claritin and generic). Generic versions of all those drugs work just as well—and cost less—than their brand name counterparts, research shows.

Check Consumer Reports' 2015 Holiday Guide for our picks of the best gifts, details on the latest deals, time-saving tips, and much more. And see our countdown calendar for top gift ideas for everyone on your list.

If You Have a Pet Allergy
Be prepared. Don't know whether a home you are visiting has a pet or not? Call and check with the hosts.
Use the right drug. In addition to an OTC drug such as cetir­i­zine, fexofenadine, or loratadinealso consider a steroid nasal spray like fluticasone (Flonase Allergy Relief) and triamcinolone (Nasacort Allergy 24 HR). Research shows they are veryh effective at relieving congestion, sneezing, postnasal drip, and other allergy symptoms, and are now available without a prescription.
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