Allergies to pets are common. People with pet allergies can have allergic reactions to the protein in the animal’s saliva or urine. Some patients may also experience symptoms of asthma, such as wheezing and difficulty breathing.
In most cases, pet allergies are caused by dead skin (dandruff) shed by the pet. All fur animals can be pet allergens, but pet allergies are usually related to cats and dogs. In the United States, the incidence of allergies to cats is approximately twice that of dog allergies.
What Are the Symptoms of Allergies to Pets?
- Runny nose
- Itchy, red, or watery eyes;
- Stuffy nose
- Itchy nose, top of mouth or throat;
- Nasal discharge;
- Facial pressure and pain;
- Waking up frequently while sleeping;
- The skin below the eyes is swollen and blue;
Some pet allergy sufferers may also have skin diseases, such as atopic dermatitis. This type of dermatitis is inflammation of the skin caused by an abnormal reaction of the immune system.
What are the causes of Allergies to Pets?
Allergies occur when the immune system reacts abnormally to foreign substances (such as pollen, mold, or pet dander).
The proteins produced by the immune system are called antibodies. These antibodies protect you from invaders who may cause disease or infection. In allergies, the immune system produces antibodies. Even if the allergen is harmless, these antibodies will recognize the specific allergen as a harmful substance.
When inhaled or exposed to allergens, the immune system reacts and causes inflammation of the nasal cavity or lungs.
Allergens from cats and dogs are found in shed skin cells (dandruff), saliva, urine, sweat, and fur. Dandruff is unique because it is tiny, and it can stay in the air for a long time when the airflow is weak. It is also easy to gather on upholstered furniture and can also stick to clothes.
Pet saliva can stick to carpets, bedding, furniture and clothes. Dry saliva can spread in the air
What kind of inspection and diagnosis should be done for pet allergy?
Symptoms of allergies to pets (such as a runny nose or sneezing) are similar to those of a common cold, so it is sometimes difficult to diagnose whether a patient has a cold or an allergy. If symptoms persist for more than two weeks, the patient may be allergic.
If the symptoms are severe, such as a complete blockage of the nasal cavity, difficulty falling asleep or wheezing, see a doctor. If wheezing or shortness of breath worsens quickly or shortness of breath when doing light activities, seek medical attention immediately.
The doctor will judge based on your symptoms and test results.
The doctor may use lighting equipment to observe the condition in the patient’s nasal cavity. If you are allergic to pets, the inside of your nose may be swollen or pale or blue.
Doctors can use blood tests or skin tests to help diagnose. An allergy test will show whether you are allergic to animals.
Allergens from pets will stay at home for a long time, so it is best to stay away from pets for a while to see if the symptoms of allergies will disappear, and it will not work if you remove the pet
How to deal with and care for Allergies to Pets?
Avoiding contact with pets is the best way to treat Allergies to Pets. When there is less contact with them, the patient’s allergic reactions may be reduced, or mild allergic reactions may occur. Many people may not want to do this because they love their pets very much.
If you own a pet, the following practices can help reduce allergens in your home.
- Often bathe pets. Let family members or friends who are not allergic to pets bathe their pets every week.
- Establish a pet-free zone. Establish pet-free areas in bedrooms and other rooms to reduce allergens in these rooms.
- Replace carpets and dander furniture. If possible, replace carpets with tiles, wood, linoleum, or vinyl flooring, as these are not easy to inhale pet allergens. You can replace other allergen-containing furniture, such as upholstered furniture, curtains, and horizontal blinds.
- Ask for help. Family members or friends who are not allergic to pets are asked to clean their pet’s litter box, beds, or cage.
- Use a high-efficiency filter. High-efficiency particulate air cleaners and exhaust air purifiers help reduce pet allergens in the air.
- Keep pets outside. If pets can live outdoors, you can place their beds outside the house, reducing allergens at home. Most pets may not live outside the house, or this approach will not work under certain weather conditions.
5 Misunderstandings About Allergies to Pets
1: Only pet hair can cause allergies.
It’s not true. Pet hair is annoying and can cause allergies because it contains saliva or other pet proteins.
Pet proteins cause allergic reactions to pets in pet dander, such as tiny dander, saliva, and urine. The overactive immune system in allergy sufferers attacks these harmless substances.
According to the American Lung Association (ALA), animals with more fur are more likely to carry other allergens, such as pet dander and dust.
Myth 2: Continuous contact with animals will make you no allergic to them.
If you are allergic to animals, whether you are a child or an adult, increased exposure usually does not reduce the allergic reaction. The situation may get worse. This conclusion is based on the report of the Australian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy.
However, studies have confirmed that early childhood exposure to cats, dogs, and other animals may reduce the risk of allergic reactions later.
Myth 3: There are some breeds of cats and dogs that do not cause allergies.
It’s not true. All cat or dog breeds produce dander. However, some breeds are considered more suitable for allergy sufferers than others. Generally, the better breed has less fur. In addition, smaller dogs secrete less saliva than larger dogs. The American Kennel Club recommends that allergy sufferers breed breeds that produce less dander.
Myth 4: Small animals do not cause allergies.
This statement is incorrect. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, hamsters, guinea pigs, birds and other warm-blooded mammals can also trigger asthma and allergic reactions in people allergic to animal dander. For many allergy sufferers, birds are also a significant problem because they release dander into the air through cleaning their feathers, flapping their wings, and flying. If you are allergic to animals but still want to keep a pet, consider animals without dander like fish, turtles or other reptiles.
Myth 5: You will not have Allergies when you are not at home.
Not necessarily. Due to its tiny size and jagged shape, pet allergens tend to stick to clothes and other fabrics and be carried to other locations. Animal dander that can cause allergies can be found in many public places (such as workplaces, classrooms, and hospitals).