Can You Live With A Pet If You Are Allergic To It
For most pet owners finding a new home for a beloved pet is a difficult choice, especially when theres an emotional attachment to their animal.
Taking allergy medication, especially when you know youre going to be exposed to pets or animals, is one option to discuss with your allergist.
The following lifestyle recommendations may also help:
- Restrict pets to one area of the home when inside.
- Always keep pets out of the bedroom.
- Cover beds and pillows with allergen-proof encasings. Its often extremely difficult to remove pet allergens that may have gotten into mattresses, box springs and pillows.
- Use a HEPA-filter vacuum daily, especially in rooms where the person with pet allergies spends the most time. Consider a HEPA air cleaner for the bedroom.
- Replace carpets, upholstered furniture, heavy drapes and other allergen and dust collectors with hardwood floors or washable furnishings. Focus on the bedroom even though you should not allow your pet in this room, animal allergens can still travel through air and on your clothes.
Washing your cat or dog is not likely to result in any significant difference in allergens. Research shows the benefits of washing are so temporary that it is unlikely to be worth the effort or distress to the pet.
Can Dogs And Cats Be Hypoallergenic
All warm-blooded animals produce the proteins that can cause allergic reactions in people with sensitive immune systems. Some cat and dog breeds, such as poodles and sphynx cats, are often recommended for people with allergies. However, finding a hypoallergenic pet can be more complicated than picking one of these breeds. For example, though certain dogs are considered hypoallergenic, they may in fact still cause allergy symptoms because of the proteins found in their skin , saliva and urine. In fact, a study by Nicholas et al. recommended that clinicians should advise patients that they cannot rely on breeds deemed to be hypoallergenic to in fact disperse less allergen in their environment.
Cats tend to cause more allergic reactions than dogs because they groom themselves more often, but both species have the potential to release allergens into the air that you breathe, no matter which breed you choose. Therefore, there is not really a cat or dog that is truly hypoallergenic, though some breeds may cause fewer problems for allergy sufferers because of their grooming habits or shedding patterns.
Living With Pet Allergy
The best solution to pet allergies is to avoid exposure for example, by not having a pet in your home. Often, the only solution is to find the pet a new home. You should also avoid smoking, as this makes allergies more likely to develop.
Washing the pet, restricting it to one area of the house, using high efficiency particulate air cleaners and removing carpet havent been shown to work.
If you have a pet allergy, always wash your hands after touching the animal and never let it into your bedroom.
If you cant avoid exposure, you might be able to treat the symptoms with medication, such as:
- nasal steroid sprays
Another option is immunotherapy, which is also known as ‘desensitisation’. It’s offered by a specialist known as an immunologist, and takes 3 to 5 years to complete.
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How To Pick A New Pet
It’s a good idea to see how your kid reacts to the kind of animal you’re thinking of getting. Take them to visit a home that has that kind of critter, and let them play with it. Thatâs no guarantee they won’t eventually get allergies, but itâll give you an idea. If you know your child is allergic but you plan to get a pet anyway, limit your child’s time with it at first, and watch for reactions.
Treatment For Dogs That Are Allergic To Cats
If you find out that your dog is allergic to cats, youll want to know how to manage the reactions. Once your dog has been tested, he can be treated with individual immunotherapy, says Trimble. Immunotherapy involves daily exposure to the specific allergens the dog is sensitive to, either by daily injection or by a daily oral spray/oral drops. The goal of this therapy is to decrease the severity of itch and inflammation and decrease the need for other itch-preventing medications. This individually tailored treatment is the only method the veterinary community has found that helps to change the abnormal response the body has to allergens. Although not a perfect treatment your dog will likely still be itchy, just less so when it comes to itchiness, improvement to any degree will be welcomed by your dog.
Keeping your house clean by vacuuming more often to remove cat dander from the floor and having an air purifier to remove any dander in the air can also help your dog.
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What Are The Signs Of A Pet
Pet-to-pet allergic reactions mimic the signs of allergic reactions to other substances. Primarily, youll notice your pet scratching themselves more than usual. This is because pets that suffer from allergies have an abnormal skin barrier that allows environmental allergens like dust, dirt, and dander to be absorbed more easily. The skin responds by releasing histamine, which causes a feeling of itchiness.
Aside from intense scratching, a pet experiencing an allergic reaction may also display other signs, like sneezing, runny nose or eyes, puffy or red eyes, and red, irritated skin. You might even notice bald patches or skin trauma as a result of your pet scratching themselves to try and find relief.
Are You Allergic To Your Pet
Are You Allergic to Your Pet? Breathe EasyYou Can Still Keep Your Animal Companion!
Although many people have discovered the beneficial effects of caring for a furry friend, the fact remains that roughly 15 to 20% of the population is allergic to animals. The result? Countless pet parents in unhappy, unhealthy situationsand their beloved pets are the cause! Allergen is the medical term for the actual substance that causes an allergic reaction. Touching or inhaling allergens leads to reactions in allergic individuals. Symptoms can include red, itchy, watery eyes and nose sneezing coughing scratchy or sore throat itchy skin, and most serious of all, difficulty breathing.
The most common pet allergens are proteins found in their dander , saliva, urine and sebaceous cells. Any animal can trigger an allergic response, but cats are the most common culprits. People can also become allergic to exotic pets such as ferrets, guinea pigs, birds, rabbits and rodents. There is no species or breed to which humans cannot develop allergies. Fur length and type will not affect or prevent allergies. Certain pets can be less irritating than others to those who suffer from allergies, but that is strictly on an individual basis and cannot be predicted.
Improving the Immediate Environment
Taking Care of Yourself
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Diagnosing A Pet Allergy
Professional diagnosis for pet allergy is generally based on the symptoms, medical history and your test report results. depending upon the situation the doctor may ask for a blood test or a skin test to observe an allergic reaction. Often times when dust or pollen allergy correlates with the pet allergy therefore a doctor may suggest you stay near a dog or pet and observe your condition.
Depending on the severity of the allergy, the doctor may advise you to stay away from pets, especially dogs and cats. On the other hand, people with mild allergies may keep a pet with them, but it is suggested to not let them get near your personal belongings. Shampooing and grooming the pet is also a must to neutralize your symptoms.
How Are Cat Allergies Treated
Cat allergies can usually be controlled with standard allergy drugs. Your doctor might recommend:
- Antihistamines, which are available over-the-counter — like cetirizine , diphenhydramine , fexofenadine , and loratadine or some antihistamines such as azelastine come in a nasal spray
- , like over-the-counter pseudoephedrine or allergy drugs that contain the ingredient pseudoephedrine such as Allegra-D, Claritin-D, or Zyrtec-D
Nasal steroid sprays, which affect allergy or asthma symptoms in various ways steroid sprays are a common treatment for allergies. Budesonide , fluticasone , and triamcinolone are steroid sprays that are available over the counter.
Allergy shots are another option. Allergy shots are not always effective, and completing treatment can take years. They’re also not used for children under age 5. But they can be a huge help to some people. Ask your doctor if they make sense for you.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to prevent an allergy. Some studies have shown that exposure to pets as a young child seems to reduce the risk of developing pet allergies later. On the other hand, a child who already has allergic tendencies may get worse with exposure to a pet.
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What Is The Best Treatment For Pet Allergy
The best treatment is to avoid contact with cats or dogs or the areas where they live. Keep pets out of your home. If possible, try to avoid visiting homes with pets that you are allergic to. Avoiding cats and dogs may give you enough relief that you will not need medicine.
Keeping the pet outdoors will help, but will not rid the house of pet allergens. Another option is to choose pets that do not have fur or feathers. Fish, snakes or turtles are some choices.
Pet allergy can be a social problem making it difficult to visit friends and relatives who have cats and dogs . This may be especially troublesome for children who cannot participate in activities at the home of friends. Talk to your doctor about possible use of medication before these social exposures and specific measures to take after the exposure.
What You Can Do:
1. Create an area in your home that is “allergy free”, preferably a bedroom or other room where pets are expressly forbidden and denied access. Keep the air clean in this room using a HEPA air cleaner.
2. Use HEPA air cleaners throughout the rest of the home, and avoid furnishings where dust and dander can more easily accumulate, such as cloth curtains and blinds and carpeted floors. Clean these areas frequently and thoroughly to remove dust and dander and prevent accumulation of these allergens. Frequently wash couch covers, pillows, curtains, area rugs and pet beds.
3. Bathing your pet on a weekly basis can greatly reduce the level of allergy-causing dander . Cats can get used to being bathed, but it’s critical to only use products labeled for them kittens may need a shampoo safe for kittens. Check with your veterinarian’s staff or a good book on pet care for directions about safe bathing, It is also a good idea to use a shampoo recommended by your veterinarian or other animal care professional.
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How Do Pet Allergens Spread
Whether its cat allergen or dog allergen, it leaves the animal and gets in the air. Once it is airborne it is either inhaled or sticks to the first surface it touches. That can be a wall, a chair, a lamp, or even a shirt or the skin of its owner. No matter what it touches, as soon as it is disturbed it is in the air again.
As long as the protein is in the air, there is a chance you will inhale it. Inhaling the allergen starts the allergic reaction.
If a dog licks you, you are getting a direct dose of the allergen. Also, dried saliva can flake off toys and pet beds and become airborne. The airborne allergen can stick to anything.
Cat allergen is found in hospitals, airplanes and other places you wouldnt expect to find it. Thats because cat owners carry a coating of the allergen on their clothes, their skin and their hair. Cat owners drop this allergen everywhere they go.
Dog owners do the same thing, but because dogs dont produce the same quantity of allergen, dog owners dont spread as much.
How Do You Prevent Pet Allergy Symptoms
Finding a new home for the pet is the most effective way to reduce levels of pet allergens in the home.
If you choose this option, keep in mind that once the cat or dog is removed from the home, symptoms may not improve for weeks or even months, as allergen levels fall quite slowly. Professional cleaning may help, and you can speed things along by making extensive environmental changes, such as removing carpets and upholstered furniture.
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Fur Facts Why Am I Allergic To Cats But Not Dogs
Hot summer months as well as wintery weather can mean more time spent indoors avoiding the sun or cold for both people and pets. For allergy sufferers, that may mean an increase in symptoms. Even if you aren’t directly allergic to your cat or dog, they act like furry dust mops that trap and hold allergens like pollen and dust that do set you off.
Why Am I Allergic To My Pets?
About 2 percent of the US population is allergic to cats themselves. About one-third of cat-allergic folks love kitties so much, they’re willing to put up with the sniffles. Allergy symptoms include itchy eyes, coughing, wheezing and/or hives.
People can also be allergic to dogs, and the symptoms are similar. In addition, some folks become sensitized to dog saliva, so canine kisses can leave the person with an itchy rash or even hives. In the most severe cases, cat or dog allergies can make asthmatic people suffer dangerous asthmatic episodes, so pet allergies are nothing to sneeze at.
Why Am I Allergic to Cats but Not Dogs?
Cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. So if you react to cats, you may not have a problem with dogs at all. It doesn’t really matter if your dog or cat has long or short fur, or differences in breed. There are some individual differences even among dogs or cats of the same breed. Here’s why.
6 Ways To Reduce Pet Allergy Symptoms
Picking The Right Breed
To have the greatest success it’s important to choose the right breed of cat to own. Several breeds of cat have far fewer allergy inducing dander and skin than other breeds. Cats that are safer for owners include Cornish Rexes, LaPerm, Oriental Shorthairs, and Devon Rex. These breeds are safer to own than other breeds when you are allergic to dander, because their fur has fewer layers. This means that there is less dander and less fur to fly around, so people with dander allergies are able to tolerate them much better.
The Sphinx cat, which is nearly hairless is one of the most popular breeds for people with dander allergies, while the Siberian is less likely to cause allergies for people allergic to the glycoprotein found in the saliva and skin, because their saliva has very low levels of Fel D1. There are nohypoallergenic cats cats that have been bred to show distinctive hypoallergenic traits, such as a lack of the allergy causing protein or different fur. Be wary of breeders or pet shops who make this claim.
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The Allergy Agent Responsible
Next to the allergen itself, it is the pet owners weak immune system that worsens the situation. When the body meets the allergen, the body releases histamines to fight off the thought-so deadly cell. The result eventually is coughing, nasal congestion, chest stiffening and difficulty breathing.
It is observed that people who are allergic to pets will be allergic to the pets hair as well due to the protein cells that can get transferred from its urine, saliva, or blood. Thus, if there is a pet in the area, chances are that there may be allergens in there-be it a room, the air and on the furniture.
Now coming back to the real question.
What Causes Allergies
Pet allergy, like all allergy, is caused by a confused immune system. Its a terrible case of mistaken identity. The body is exposed to harmless bits of proteins from the environment. Instead of recognizing these proteins as innocent, the immune system mistakenly identifies them as germs and creates antibodies to attack them.
Much in the way the body creates antibodies as a result of exposure to disease , it creates antibodies in response to this protein. These are called human immunoglobulin E or IgE for short. With germs, it means the body is ready for war with the next exposure. Unfortunately for the allergic person, the body goes to war with every exposure to harmless proteins.
In other words, every time you are exposed to the protein, the body thinks it needs to fight a germ. Thats why allergies can give you the same sniffling, sneezing, wheezing, coughing, and itchy or watery eyes that go along with a cold. Allergies also cause inflammation. That inflammation can also lead to eczema, fluid in the inner ear, or even asthma.
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What Is Pet Allergy
About 1 in 5 people have a pet allergy. Most are allergic to cats or dogs, but you can also be allergic to other domestic animals, such as guinea pigs, mice, rats, horses and birds. Allergies are particularly common in people who handle pets as part of their job. Some people are allergic to more than one animal.
People with a pet allergy are also likely to have other allergies for example, to pollen and dust mites. Pet allergies can develop at any time during childhood or adulthood, but some people will grow out of them.