Our pets are our best friends, but are they causing you to feel miserable? We’re covering the ways your pet could be the source of your allergies.
It’s a dreaded piece of news: you’re allergic to cats and dogs. If you’ve ever been told you have pet allergies, you’re most likely not actually allergic to your furry friend, but to the allergens, it carries around with it. In any case, there are ways to keep your pal on four legs around even if they make you feel miserable, some of the time.
Having allergic reactions is the result of having an over-sensitive immune system. If you notice yourself getting itchy and watery eyes around your pet, you are most likely having a reaction to harmless proteins found in an animal’s urine, saliva, or dander.
Often considered as the source for allergic reactions, pet hair is not an allergen. Pet hair, however, collects dander (dead skin cells), urine, and saliva and carries other allergens like dust, mold, and pollen. This is why you’ll feel allergy symptoms when you enter someone’s home and there is pet hair on furniture. It’s the allergens carried by the pet hair which is affecting you, not the actual animal hair.
Pet Allergy Symptoms
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, about 3 in 10 people in the United States have some form of allergy to cats and dogs. Those suffering from an animal allergy can experience any number of irritating symptoms like itchy and watery eyes, scratchy throat, skin rashes, and respiratory problems like intense coughing sneezing, and wheezing.
If you want to make sure it’s not your pet that you’re allergic to, consider doing some tests. Remove the animal from your home for a short period of time to see if your symptoms still persist. It could be another allergen in your home that may be causing you to break out.
Try to notice if you get an allergic reaction only when you’re around animals or if certain animals don’t cause a reaction.
Visit an allergist to get a variety of skin tests done. Tests with an allergist will be a good way to get some accurate results on what is causing your allergic reactions.
What to Do If You’re Allergic
If you are in fact allergic to your pet, there are some solutions that don’t require you to get rid of them forever (signal sigh of relief).
Many people sleep with their pets or keep them in the bedroom at night. Remove from this situation so you can sleep without those allergens present.
Regularly clean the surfaces in your home. Sweep, wash, and vacuum floors, and steam clean carpets. Pet allergens can be sticky and keeping surfaces, floors, and walls bare is more ideal.
Wash your pet more often than you normally would. Be sure to spray them down after being outside so you can prevent them from tracking in dust, mold, and pollen.
Change your clothes after spending time with your pet, especially if it had been outdoors.
Seek professional help from an allergist to get medications to help you deal with pet allergies at home.
These tips will not completely eliminate any allergy symptoms you may have when around your pet, but they will reduce your exposure to pet allergens and hopefully make the relationship with your furry friend a little less miserable.
Do you suffer from any of these allergy symptoms attributed to your animal? How do you deal with it? Let us know!