What to do about pet dander allergies
See a GP if you ponder you or your kid might own had an allergic reaction to something.
The symptoms of an allergic reaction can also be caused by other conditions.
A GP can assist determine whether it’s likely you own an allergy.
If they ponder you might own a mild allergy, they can offer advice and treatment to assist manage the condition.
If your allergy is particularly severe or it’s not clear what you’re allergic to, they may refer you to an allergy specialist for testing and advice about treatment.
Find out more about allergy testing
What causes allergies?
Allergies occur when the body’s immune system reacts to a specific substance as though it’s harmful.
It’s not clear why this happens, but most people affected own a family history of allergies or own closely related conditions, such as asthma or eczema.
The number of people with allergies is increasing every year.
The reasons for this are not understood, but 1 of the main theories is it’s the result of living in a cleaner, germ-free environment, which reduces the number of germs our immune system has to deal with.
It’s thought this may cause it to overreact when it comes into contact with harmless substances.
Substances that cause allergic reactions are called allergens.
The more common allergens include:
- food – particularly nuts, fruit, shellfish, eggs and cows’ milk
- grass and tree pollen – an allergy to these is known as hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
- mould – these can release little particles into the air that you can breathe in
- dust mites
- animal dander, tiny flakes of skin or hair
- insect bites and stings
- latex – used to make some gloves and condoms
- medicines – including ibuprofen, aspirin and certain antibiotics
- household chemicals – including those in detergents and hair dyes
Most of these allergens are generally harmless to people who are not allergic to them.
How to manage an allergy
In many cases, the most effective way of managing an allergy is to avoid the allergen that causes the reaction whenever possible.
For example, if you own a food allergy, you should check a food’s ingredients list for allergens before eating it.
There are also several medicines available to help control symptoms of allergic reactions, including:
- decongestants – tablets, capsules, nasal sprays or liquids that can be used as a short-term treatment for a blocked nose
- antihistamines – these can be taken when you notice the symptoms of a reaction, or before being exposed to an allergen, to stop a reaction occurring
- lotions and creams, such as moisturising creams (emollients) – these can reduce skin redness and itchiness
- steroid medicines – sprays, drops, creams, inhalers and tablets that can assist reduce redness and swelling caused by an allergic reaction
For some people with extremely severe allergies, a treatment called immunotherapy may be recommended.
This involves being exposed to the allergen in a controlled way over a number of years so your body gets used to it and does not react to it so severely.
Strategies to Reduce Pet Allergies
If your child’s allergies aren’t too severe, you may be capable to take some steps to reduce your child’s symptoms and hold your pet. For instance:
Keep pets out of the bedroom. Make your child’s room a pet-free zone and be certain to hold it clean. To hold the room pet dander- and pollen-free, install a high-efficiency air filter and air purifier.
Remember to change the filters frequently.
Cover your child’s bed with additional protection. You can purchase dust mite covers for your child’s pillow, blanket, and mattress. This will also assist hold out dust mites, another potential allergy trigger, in addition to allergens love pet dander.
Go for hard surfaces. Where you can, replace upholstered surfaces with non-fabric or easily washable materials. Pet dander sticks to upholstery, drapes, curtains, and carpeting more easily than it does to surfaces such as wood, vinyl, or tile.
Plus, the latter are easier to clean.
For this reason, you also shouldn’t let your allergic kid sleep with stuffed animals, Dr. Nassef adds. If you must own carpet in your child’s bedroom or elsewhere in your home, select a low-pile one and own it steam-cleaned regularly.
Bathe your pet weekly. Weekly baths can significantly reduce the quantity of allergy-causing dander your pet sheds.
If possible, enquire a non-allergic member of your household to bathe the pet and be certain to wash that person’s clothes afterward. Wearing gloves may also assist. Enquire your veterinarian to recommend the best soaps and shampoos. Caution: Bathing too frequently can own the opposite effect. It can dry your pet’s skin and cause the animal to shed more dander.
Teach your kid to wash his hands with soap and water after touching the pet.
Washing helps prevent the spread of allergens to your child’s nose, eyes, and mouth — which is especially significant if your kid gets a rash from having been licked by your pet, Nassef says.
Talk to your allergist about treatment. “Medications work for allergy symptoms regardless of the trigger — pollen, pet dander, etc.,” Nassef says. “But not every medications work equally well for every symptoms.” That’s why it’s significant to work with your doctor and tailor your child’s allergy medications to his or her symptoms.
Consult your veterinarian.
Your veterinarian can recommend a diet for your pet that’s wealthy in vitamins and minerals, which can assist your pet’s skin retain its moisture and not shed as much. Love people, pets can benefit from omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, according to the Partnership for Animal Welfare in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Every family has to decide for themselves whether they can manage their children’s pet allergies with a cat or dog, Nassef says. “The best solution for pet allergies is to not own a pet,» she says, «but numerous people consider pets part of their family and getting rid of the pet is out of the question.”
An allergy is a reaction the body has to a specific food or substance.
Allergies are extremely common.
They’re thought to affect more than 1 in 4 people in the UK at some point in their lives.
They’re particularly common in children. Some allergies go away as a kid gets older, although many are lifelong.
Adults can develop allergies to things they were not previously allergic to.
Having an allergy can be a nuisance and affect your everyday activities, but most allergic reactions are mild and can be largely kept under control.
Severe reactions can occasionally happen, but these are uncommon.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction
Allergic reactions generally happen quickly within a few minutes of exposure to an allergen.
They can cause:
- a runny or blocked nose
- a red, itchy rash
- red, itchy, watery eyes
- wheezing and coughing
- worsening of asthma or eczema symptoms
Most allergic reactions are mild, but occasionally a severe reaction called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock can happen.
This is a medical emergency and needs urgent treatment.