As an older adult with asthma, if you stay in a senior living home in Naples, FL, and have just developed a liking for pets, you may be considering adopting one for two four-legged friends. Asides from the unconditional love and companionship pets provide, pet owners of all ages enjoy several other benefits. Pets can significantly improve the quality of life by reducing stress, increasing social interactions, relieving feelings of loneliness, encouraging exercise, and lowering blood pressure. However, the reality is that being around feathered or furry pets can worsen your asthmatic symptoms and trigger attacks. So, weighing your health risks and benefits is crucial before you consider adopting a pet. Here are three factors to consider.
Allergens that cause itchy eyes, stuffy nostrils, or other allergy symptoms are often believed to trigger asthma attacks. Allergic asthma is triggered by an allergic reaction to things like pollen, mold, and feathered or furry animals and is the common form of asthma. That being said, about 30% of asthmatic people are also allergic to traditional pets like dogs and cats. Thus, individuals with asthma and pet allergy can develop constant asthma attacks from exposure to pets. These furry pets, including rodents and horses, may affect the immune system functioning in some people causing inflamed lungs and airways and leading to asthmatic symptoms such as difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, and wheezing. Thus, if you are asthmatic and allergic to pets, hairless or hypoallergenic animal breeds may be a better option. However, there’s no guarantee that your asthma won’t be triggered.
The Reality of Hypoallergenic Pets
Some dog and cat breeds, such as Spanish Waterdogs, Sphynx cats, and Poodles, are often recommended for people with asthma and pet allergies. However, contrary to popular belief, the idea of a “hypoallergenic pet” is false. This is because asthmatic attacks and pet allergies are not only about fur, feathers, or hair. Even pets without a single hair on their bodies can worsen asthmatic symptoms. The protein present in animal waste products could trigger asthma attacks or an allergic reaction. More so, pet dander, made of tiny flecks of skin shed by furry animals, can stick to your house items and personal belongings, worsening your asthmatic symptoms and making it difficult for your lungs to function properly.
No Two Pets are the Same
All pets are different. They have unique differences and may contribute differently to your asthmatic condition. For instance, cats are more likely to trigger an allergic reaction than dogs. In fact, constant exposure to cats will trigger an asthma attack for about 30% percent of asthmatic people. Similarly, male cats produce more testosterone, increasing the production of allergens in their body, thus making them more likely to trigger both an asthma attack and an allergic reaction than female cats.
Choosing our Retirement Community
Are you looking for a pet-friendly retirement community that can help you with your respiratory conditions? Then, you’re at the right place. We have various senior living options to accommodate the needs of our residents and provide them with superb care. You also get to enjoy active aging with the help of our senior-friendly programs, such as housekeeping and maintenance, health and fitness, and Sensations dining, when you move in with us. Kindly contact us today!