Why you should never share a bed with your pet

Asthma: St John Ambulance explain how to help during attack

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The beginning of spring signifies brighter days, a warmer climate, and pets shedding their winter fur, which can be problematic for you if you share a bed with your pet. A sleep expert pointed out that dogs and cats begin to shed their winter coats, for up to four weeks, which can harbour bugs and germs. Animal dander could cause serious health problems, according to sleep expert Lauren Whitehead at Happy Beds.

Dander is the tiny flakes of skin shed by pets, which can be breathed in while you sleep alongside your warm-blooded pet.

Whitehead said: “These small particles [of dander] can be inhaled through the air, causing potential problems with breathing and the lungs. It can also eventually lead to asthma in severe cases.”

The charity Asthma and Lung UK cautions: “Any animal with fur can cause pet allergies.

“A pet allergy is when a person has a reaction to a pet’s skin cells, saliva or pee.

“Sometimes people are allergic to dander – the dead flakes of skin that pets shed.”

Asthma and Lung UK explains: “Dander is very small and can stay in the air for a long time.”

As dander can collect on fabric, such as bedding, an allergy can show up as:

  • A runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • A blocked nose
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath.

“The only way to confirm if you have an allergy is to ask your GP to refer you for a skin prick or blood test,” the charity adds.

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If you find yourself sniffling due to pet dander in spring, Whitehead shared some recommendations.

“Add an air purifier to your bedroom to remove dander and aid breathing,” said Whitehead.

You can also remove excess fur from your bedding using a hoover attachment or a lint roller.

“If you find that your pet has fallen asleep on your bedding, grab a dryer sheet and keep rubbing it back and forth on the pillow or bedding,” advised Whitehead.

“The static electricity will quickly remove the pet hair from your bed set, whilst leaving it a lovely odour.”

Another tip is to “take your pet to a professional groomer to help with the shedding that is to come”.

Whitehead added: “If your pet doesn’t have enough hair for the groomers, you can use a de-shedding shampoo to reduce the volume of shedding from your pet.”

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned that furry pets “can trigger an asthma attack if you are allergic to them”.

Asthma attack symptoms

The NHS listed four of the “most common symptoms of asthma”, which are:

  1. Wheezing (a whistling sound when breathing)
  2. Breathlessness
  3. A tight chest – it may feel like a band is tightening around it
  4. Coughing.

An asthma attack “can happen suddenly, or gradually over a few days”, which can lead to:

  • Wheezing, coughing and chest tightness becoming severe and constant
  • Being too breathless to eat, speak or sleep
  • Breathing faster
  • A fast heartbeat
  • Drowsiness, confusion, exhaustion or dizziness
  • Blue lips or fingers
  • Fainting.

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