Practical pet home visit tips for pet allergy sufferers
March 29, 2012 10:48 AM   Subscribe

What practical, non-medical tips do you have for pet allergy sufferers who will have to stay in a home with a pet for multiple days? Next month I'll be faced with this. Reading previous questions, I saw a good suggestion - bring your own Pillow Case. What other things do you do when you know you have to live with someone with a pet for a few days? Any nonmedical suggestions for me, the visitor, are welcome, and I'd love to hear any kooky things you have done in the past that somehow worked for you.
posted by cashman to Health & Fitness (21 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Can they wash the pet or get it groomed before you come? This apparently cuts down on a lot of the dander.
posted by sweetkid at 10:50 AM on March 29, 2012

I know that's not for you but something you could suggest the host do.
posted by sweetkid at 10:51 AM on March 29, 2012

Never touch the pet. Ever. No matter how much it wants you to touch it.
posted by mskyle at 10:51 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

As a pet owner, whenever I have an allergic guest stay with us I do a deep clean on their bedroom a day or two before (dusting and vacuuming under everything) and I keep the door closed so my cat can't get in again. It's not a suggestion for you as the visitor, but it might be something you can pass on to your host (in a polite way - like the keeping the door closed part).
posted by handful of rain at 10:51 AM on March 29, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Bring your own pillow case and take a shower before bedtime (so you won't be sleeping in the dander). Wash your hands frequently. If you do nasal rinsing or neti pot and it isn't weird for you to do it as a guest, do so; if it would be too weird, use a saline spray or saline nasal mist fairly frequently and generously. Take extra antihistamines.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:54 AM on March 29, 2012

Best answer: If you're sleeping on a couch or day bed or something in an area that the animals are going to be in by necessity, put your pillow in a plastic bag so that you can at least keep the dander off the pillow.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:55 AM on March 29, 2012

I mean "put your pillow in a plastic bag" after you get up, not that you should sleep on a plastic bag because that would be weird.

Hello, I am allergic to cats and dogs and birds!
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:56 AM on March 29, 2012

Best answer: Never touch the pet. Ever. No matter how much it wants you to touch it.

This. A googolplex times this. I'd also avoid rubbing my eyes, if possible.

Take eye-drops with you. Also bring your own handkerchiefs, even if they have Kleenex you will inevitably be away from the box and need something.

Perhaps take a neti-pot and rinse before bedtime/throughout the day. If you don't have a neti-pot just make up some lukewarm saltwater and snort it, much more uncomfortable but will do wonders for your upper sinus cavities if maintained.

There's been times when I had to stuff rolled up toilet paper up my nose just to facilitate falling asleep. An eyemask might help too, not sure on that one though.
posted by RolandOfEld at 10:57 AM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If you have multiple choices about where to sleep or sit for long periods of time, choose wood.

The bedroom with hardwood floors is much better than the one with carpet, and the wooden kitchen chair is much better to sit on than the upholstered couch.

Also, take walks. Although if you have outdoor allergies too this might not help.
posted by nat at 10:59 AM on March 29, 2012

Be prepared to sleep propped up. This was my only option when I stayed with a friend who boards dogs.

I know I'm allergic to dogs, and yet I have dogs and tolerate them just fine. I was in no way prepared for the number of dogs, breed of dogs, etc. (actually, I don't think we even knew she boarded dogs. I knew she was a groomer).

This led not only to an allergy attack. It led to an asthma attack.

I know you said nonmedical -- but don't underestimate Benadryl. Not only does it help with the allergies, but it will help you sleep.
posted by vitabellosi at 11:01 AM on March 29, 2012

n'thing showers and your own clean/protected bedding. Also, spend as much time outdoors as possible!
posted by Eicats at 11:14 AM on March 29, 2012

Oh, if they know about your allergy and plan on vacuming then it's better if they do it a day or so in advance, worst case scenario is a few hours before you arrive. Even with our Dyson, HEPA vacuum that we keep emptied and maintained, it's better for me if I'm not present when the fiance does the house, dust especially though this may not be your problem.

If they're really vested in helping out as they can, see if they are almost due to change the house filter for their HVAC unit. Can't hurt.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:18 AM on March 29, 2012

Seconding have the host clean the room you'll be staying in really well and then keep the door closed. Even better if it's a room the pet doesn't usually spend a lot of time in. Benadryl/Sudafed. Bring your own pillow. Don't touch the pet. Get outside as much as possible.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 11:35 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: For when you get back home: have all your laundry in a plastic or mesh bag and do it immediately, so that you don't spread dander or fur into the rest of your house or clothing. And the last time I was over at someone's cat-friendly house, I accidentally got a (non-cat-related) scratch and it started puffing and itching almost immediately. If you get to get bumps or itches, Cortisone cream in a tube is your best friend. If you take prescription drugs or OTC drugs like Allegra on an as-needed basis, start taking them a couple of days beforehand. Those anti-red eye drops are a miracle.
posted by jetlagaddict at 11:48 AM on March 29, 2012

I like snuggling/playing with pets even though I'm allergic, so I have an extra jacket I bring. I wear it when doing pet things, and then I take it off and put it somewhere far from my regular clothes.
posted by shinyshiny at 12:21 PM on March 29, 2012

I would ask the owner if they have a humidifier or air filter.
posted by wongcorgi at 12:33 PM on March 29, 2012

If you find your eyes/nose itching, go wash your face. Sounds sort of simplistic, but I find myself telling my pet allergic boyfriend to go do this, and it does tend to help.
posted by sciencegeek at 1:18 PM on March 29, 2012

Never touch the pet. Ever. No matter how much it wants you to touch it.

The bit more reasonable corollary is to always wash your hands immediately after touching the pet.
posted by smackfu at 3:25 PM on March 29, 2012

Make sure you do things like close your suitcase, hang up bath towels, make the bed or at least pull up the blankets, close closet doors, dresser drawers, etc. I've found that pets -- cats especially -- love to snuggle up in your suitcase, on your towel, sheets, whatever. I'm pretty allergic to cats and my two best friends both have them. Without fail, their cats will sleep in, on, or around my suitcase. My friend said they like the nylon-y material. I try to keep the door to the room I'm sleeping in shut so they won't go in which drives them WILD.

Wash your hands and face a lot. I take over-the-counter Claritin (the generic) and Benadryl at night. Heh, just commenting on this question made me feel all itchy!
posted by Aquifer at 4:04 PM on March 29, 2012

I'm presuming you're going to have a bedroom or similar area to sleep in that can be made off-limits to the pet during your stay -- if so, that's a good start, but (as a mildly allergic cat lover with a moderately allergic partner and 4 awesome cats) I've found it helps a ton to also observe "cleanroom techniques". E.g., in cooler weather I will often wear 2 sets of pajamas: one outer layer of lounge-wear for loafing about the house and an inner layer of lighter garments for sleeping. The outer layer is removed and stowed away before I get into bed, including socks if I'm wearing them. This does an excellent job of helping maintain an allergen-free sleepzone.
posted by aecorwin at 4:12 PM on March 29, 2012

Try to minimize the time you spend in the home during the day, so that you reduce the cumulative hours you spend in dander-ville.
Eyedrops and facecloths are a must.
Can you either bring bedding or, if it's not too rude, launder the bedding when you get there? My partner's family home is very clean, but their textiles get cat-contaminated just hanging out on the spare bed or in the linen closet.
I know you said nonmedical advice, but I would not do this without Benadryl or its generic.
posted by Bergamot at 10:58 AM on March 30, 2012

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