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My child with asthma is also allergic to our family pet. How important is it for us to find a new home for our pet?

Gemma’s comment:

Obviously, it’s best to relocate your pet or never get one in the first place. But your child may feel very strongly about having a pet, especially in the early school years when ‘show and tell’ sessions often turn on stories about household members, including pets, family trips, etc. I’ve known nursery school teachers who insist that every child should have a pet (turtles or fish won’t do!)

My_child_with_asthma_is_also_allergic_to_our_family _pet.

It is crucially important that you relocate your pet to a new home. If your child is allergic to the family pet, and especially if the pet allergy is a trigger for your child’s asthma, it is in your child’s medical best interest for you to relocate the animal. A fundamental principle of allergy control is known as allergen avoidance. After an individual has been diagnosed with a clinical allergy to a specific allergen, the goal of allergen avoidance is the elimination of any and all exposures to that specific allergen. Allergen avoidance, if successful, is a highly effective measure in allergy treatment. Some allergens, such as dust mites or molds, are so ubiquitous that it can be nearly impossible to completely remove them from the home environment. Others, such as pet dander, are far easier to address. If you remove the family pet from your home, and you are then able to rid your home of any pet allergen left behind, your child will likely have a significant lessening in allergy and asthma symptoms, as well as decreased medication requirements.

If you are not willing to relocate your pet for the health benefits it will provide your child, then you should at minimum reduce the child’s exposure to pet allergen. You should make sure that the allergic child’s bedroom remains off limits to the pet and that the bedroom is kept as allergen-free as possible. An allergist can provide you with specific recommendations depending on what type of pet you have and the layout of your home.

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