A pet allergy is an allergic reaction to proteins in the skin cells, saliva or urine of animals. Signs of a pet allergy include those commonly seen with hay fever, such as sneezing and a runny nose. Some people may also have signs of asthma, such as wheezing and difficulty breathing.
Most of the time, pet allergies are caused by exposure to the pet’s dead skin flakes (dander). Any animal with fur can be a source of pet allergy, but pet allergies are more common with cats and dogs.
If you have a pet allergy, it is best for you to avoid the animal or limit your exposure to it as much as possible. It may involve taking medications or receiving other treatments to relieve symptoms and manage asthma.
Pet allergy signs and symptoms caused by nasal passages include:
Itching, redness or increased tearing in the eyes
Itchy nose, roof of mouth or throat
Runny nose behind the nose
Facial pressure and pain
The skin under the eyes is swollen and appears blue
Repeated rubbing of the upper nose in children
If pet allergies contribute to your asthma, you may also feel:
chest tightness or pain
A whistling or buzzing sound when exhaling
Difficulty sleeping due to shortness of breath, coughing, or wheezing
Some people with pet allergies may also develop skin symptoms known as Atopic Dermatitis. This type of dermatitis is an immune system reaction that results in dermatitis. Direct contact with a pet may cause an allergic reaction that can cause Atopic Dermatitis, resulting in signs and symptoms such as:
Raised red spots on the skin (rash)
When do you visit the doctor?
Some signs and symptoms of pet allergies, such as a runny nose or sneezing, are similar to those of the common cold. So sometimes it’s hard to know if you have a cold or an allergy. If symptoms persist for more than two weeks, this may mean that you have an allergy.
Call your doctor if your signs and symptoms are severe, which include complete blockage of the nasal passages and difficulty sleeping or wheezing. Seek emergency care if wheezing or shortness of breath worsens quickly, or if you feel short of breath with minimal activity.
Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance; Such as pollen, mold or pet dander.
Your immune system produces proteins known as antibodies. These antibodies protect you from unwanted invaders that could make you sick or cause an infection. When you have an allergy, your immune system makes antibodies that identify your allergen as something harmful, even though it isn’t.
When you inhale or come into contact with the allergen, your immune system responds and produces an inflammatory response in the nose or lungs. Prolonged or regular exposure to allergens can cause persistent (chronic) airway inflammation associated with asthma.
cats and dogs
Cat and dog allergens are found in the skin cells they shed (the dander), as well as the animals’ saliva, urine, sweat and fur. Lint is a particular problem because it is so small, it can remain in the air for long periods of time with minimal air circulation. Lint can also get caught easily in upholstered furniture and can stick to your clothes.
Pet saliva can stick to carpets, bedding, furniture, and clothing. Dry saliva can be suspended in the air.
Hypoallergenic cats and dogs may shed less dander than other species, but there are really no non-allergic breeds.
Rodents and rabbits
Pet rodents include mice, jerboas, hamsters, and guinea pigs. In rodents, allergens are typically found in hair, dander, saliva and urine. Dust from dirt or sawdust at the bottom of cages may contribute to airborne dispersal of rodent allergens.
In rabbits, allergens are found in dander, hair, and saliva.
Rarely, pet allergy is caused by animals without fur, such as fish and reptiles.
Pet allergies are common. However, you are more likely to develop a pet allergy if allergies or asthma are common in your family.
Being exposed to pets at an early age may help you avoid pet allergies. Some studies have found that children who live with a dog in their first year of life may have better resistance to upper respiratory infections during childhood than children who do not have a dog at that age.
Persistent (chronic) inflammation of the tissues in the nasal passages caused by pet allergies can block the hollow spaces connected to the nasal passages (sinuses). These blockages may make you more likely to get a bacterial infection in your sinuses, such as sinusitis.
People with asthma and pet allergies often have difficulty controlling asthma symptoms. They may be prone to asthma attacks that require immediate medical treatment or emergency medical care.
If you don’t have a pet but are considering adopting or buying one, make sure that you are not allergic to pets before making this commitment.