Do hypoallergenic pets and pillows really tame your allergies? - Fox 2 News Headlines

Do hypoallergenic pets and pillows really tame your allergies?

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(WJBK) - Allergies come in all forms: indoor, outdoor, food, pets, etc. But if you're tempted to buy a special sneeze-free dog or hypoallergenic pillow, an allergy expert says don't bother.

After undergoing extensive allergy tests, Stephanie Rolfe found out exactly what was making her miserable. Tests showed she was allergic to grass and pollen but she also suspected she was allergic to certain dogs, which is how she wound up with Harry.  

"We had to get rid of my other dog and we wanted a smaller dog that didn't shed and so my dad looked online and picked Harry out," she says.

Stephanie thought owning a dog that sheds less and has shorter hair would help, but it turns out hypoallergenic pets are one of the biggest myths in allergies.   

"In short, they really don't exist. It's really not the hair that causes the problems," says Dr. Nabeel Farooqui, an allergist at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. He says dander in pet fur can be an issue but other proteins cause allergic reactions as well.

"And those are actually found in the saliva and urine of the pets," he says.  

So, don't be surprised if allergies continue to hound you even with a new pet.    

Another myth is that feather pillows cause allergic reactions, but side-by-side tests with anti-allergen pillows put that myth to rest.  

"You actually have a higher content of dust mites, mold and animal dander in the synthetic material than you do in the feathers," says Farooqui.

Finally, the myth about how lethal black mold can be in your home.      

Farooqui says it can cause allergic reactions but rumors have spread faster the mold itself.

"The more toxic and fatal sort of reactions that we hear about in the news reports, really were based on weak evidence and have not been confirmed in testing," Farooqui says.

So here's the simple advice: clean your pet often, get rid of mold at first sight and if you do buy a synthetic pillow choose one with very tightly woven casing. The more porous the fabric, the more likely it is to hold things like mold and dust mites.

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