Pet Allergies can be triggered by proteins found in a pet’s dander, skin flakes, saliva and urine. Furthermore, the fur of pets can act as a reservoir for pollen and mould spores. These proteins when coming into direct contact on a person’s skin or being inhaled can behave as allergens to a body’s immune system, triggering allergic reactions. Common allergic medical conditions associated with Pet Allergies include allergic rhinitis, asthma, eczema, and hives.
Contrary to many believe, there are no actual ‘hypoallergenic breeds’ of cats and dogs. The length of the animal’s hair or the amount of hair or fur shed do no determine the allergenic potential.
What are the Symptoms of Pet Allergies?
Pet Allergy symptoms can occur during, and shortly after contact with a pet. The symptoms tend to last long even when the animal is gone. This is because the dander can stay in the air, on the surrounding furniture or on your clothes for a long while.
Common symptoms include:
- Runny and blocked nose
- Red, Itchy and watery eyes
- Itchy red skin bumps (hives)
- Asthmatic symptoms such as wheezing, breathing difficulty, chest tightness
You may have chronic symptoms discussed above if you are exposed to your pet on a long term basis.
What do I expect when I consult my doctor for Pet Allergies?
Your doctor will obtain the relevant allergy history. Allergy testing in the form of blood tests and skin prick test may be offered by your doctor/ allergist to confirm the allergy.
What are the Treatment Options for Pet Allergies?
As of any type of allergies, avoidance of trigger is key. Often, staying away from your pet is not an option, you may consider symptomatic relievers such as antihistamines, decongestants, and corticosteroids.
Pet allergy can be a long term concern if you own the pet. Symptomatic relievers may not be an ideal solution. You may consider speaking to your doctor/ allergist for immunotherapy allergy shots as a long term solution.
What can I do to minimize Pet Allergies?
- Avoid hugging and kissing your pets if you are allergic to them.
- Keep your pets out of your bedroom, and away from your furniture.
- Avoid sleeping with your pet.
- Get someone who is not allergic to your pet to regularly brush and bath your pet outdoor. (at least once a week)
- Use air filters with HEPA (High Efficacy Particulate Air Filter) to remove unwanted allergic particles in the air.
- When vacuuming, use a double/ micro-filtered bagged vacuum to avoid allergen to leak back into the room air.
- Ensure good home ventilation.
- Avoid having carpets, rugs, upholstered furniture in the house as they can trap dander and other allergens.
- Get non-furry pet instead for companionship.
- When all fails, you may need to find a new home for your pet.