For most people, the companionship and pleasures of spending time with an adored pet are undeniable. However, with 10-20 of the world’s population suffering from pet allergies, visiting or living in a household with a dog, cat, and other furry friends can turn into a miserable and unhealthy experience.
At Advanced Allergy & Asthma Centers, one of our goals is to help patients with pet allergies experience greater comfort and relief. We provide the skilled and compassionate care required to treat allergies, asthma, respiratory issues, and a broad spectrum of skin reactions, enabling patients to enjoy an improved quality of life.
People with pet allergies have supersensitive immune systems that overreact to the otherwise harmless proteins in pet saliva, urine, and dander (dead skin cells). As pet dander gets dispersed with shedding or cats licking their fur, these allergens can stick to the walls, rugs, furniture, or clothing and even go airborne. These allergens do not dissipate quickly and can remain strong and at high levels for a long time. Furthermore, pet hair and fur can also trap outdoor allergens like mold and pollen, which can also trigger an allergic reaction and asthma.
More than 90% of all households test positive for animal allergens, and close to 30% of the population nationwide experience allergic reactions to cats and dogs. It’s also worth noting that cat allergies are almost twice as common as allergies to dogs.
Symptoms of a pet allergy may resemble some of the ones associated with Hay Fever and vary from mild to severe. People with other allergies are often more prone to pet allergies.
A person with a pet allergy may experience some of the following symptoms:
Pet allergies are typically diagnosed and identified based upon a patient’s medical history, evaluation of symptoms, clinical examination, and testing. Testing may include a skin test or a blood test.
Like other allergens, the best approach is avoidance. However, when it comes to pets, it’s often difficult. While some people choose not to have pets, keep them outside, or limit socializing in homes with certain pets, it’s not always the case.
If one is able to keep a pet at all despite allergies, it involves making some significant household changes to lower exposure. It also means getting care from our office to help manage the allergy. Medications may include antihistamines, corticosteroids, decongestants, or immunotherapy.