Do you or your child sneeze when your pet walks into the room? Do your eyes itch after petting a cat? You may be suffering from pet allergies. The proteins found on an animal’s skin, saliva, and/or urine cause pet allergies. Typically, your allergy is triggered by exposure to the dead skin flakes (otherwise referred to as dander) of the animal.
Cats most commonly cause allergies, but they can also be inherited. If you suffer from a pet allergy, the best thing to do is avoid contact with the pet causing the allergy. This is easier said than done.
According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, almost 62% of households have pets, and more than 161 million of these pets are cats and dogs! Unfortunately, at least 15% of the population suffers from animal allergies. Eleven million people are allergic to cats alone. For people who suffer from asthma, that percentage goes up to 20-30%. If you are one of the 10-20% then you will probably relate to the symptoms below.
Symptoms of Pet Allergies
- Audible whistling or wheezing
- Chest tightness or pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Facial pressure and pain
- Frequent awakening
- Itchy nose, roof of mouth or throat
- Itchy skin
- Itchy, red or watery eyes
- Nasal congestion
- Postnasal drip
- Red patches of the skin
- Runny nose
- Swollen eyes
- Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath or wheezing
How To Reduce Exposure to Pet Allergies At Home
- Shut your bedroom door and do not allow any animals in your room
- Purchase a HEPA filter
- Remove carpets and replace them with tile or wood
- Clean and vacuum regularly
- Wash your bedding weekly in hot water to kill dust mites
- Carry your pet in a carrier for transportation
- Wash your hands often, specifically after playing with your animal
If your symptoms do not respond to over the counter medicine you may want to connect with a Top10MD Allergist to address this problem. By seeking an allergist who has specialized training and experience to accurately diagnose and treat your symptoms you and your pets can live a happy and healthy life.
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