Dogs may be known as “man’s best friend”, but not when they wreak havoc with your allergies. Here’s what you need to know on handling pets and allergies.
An allergy is your body’s over-response to something in the environment. You become allergic to your pet because you experience an allergic reaction to a protein found in their skin cells, saliva, or even urine. You are likely to become triggered by the dead flakes of skin, known as dander when your pet sheds. Any animal with fur can cause allergies, but usually it is associated with cats and dogs. Cats seem to cause more allergies than dogs, but each person is different. Interestingly, of all the allergens we come in contact with like mold, dust mites, pet dander, and pollen, cat dander is the smallest. That means the allergen remains in the air for at least 30 minutes after it is disturbed in a room. If you are allergic to cats, it is almost impossible to avoid the triggers.
Symptoms Of Pet Allergies
The most common symptom is inflammation of your nasal passages. You may have a runny nose, sneeze, and have itchy eyes, an itchy nose and roof of your mouth. You may experience post nasal drip, facial pressure and pain. If you already suffer from asthma, you may have increased difficulty breathing, experience chest pain, and have trouble sleeping. In addition, allergic dermatitis may occur like itchy skin, red patches or hives on the skin, and eczema.
Minimizing Pet Allergies
If you are able to minimize pet allergies, you can expect less severe reactions or have them happen less often. Of course, the only way to truly prevent pet allergies is to avoid the animal whenever you can.
The following medications may help:
- Antihistamines can reduce symptoms including itching, sneezing, and runny nose. Prescription antihistamines can be taken as a nasal spray.
- Corticosteroids can be given as a nasal spray to reduce inflammation and control symptoms.
- Decongestants can shrink swollen tissue and make it easier to breathe.