COMMON PET ALLERGIES AND HOW TO AVOID THEM

COMMON PET ALLERGIES AND HOW TO AVOID THEM

A dog is man’s best friend — that is, unless the man is allergic to his dog.

Pet allergies are common in the United States. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 15 to 30 percent of all Americans are affected. Although allergies to cats are about twice as common, allergic reactions to dogs tend to be more severe. This is especially the case in those with asthma.

Symptoms of dog allergies

The symptoms of a dog allergy may range from mild to severe. Symptoms may not appear for several days after exposure in people with low sensitivity.

Some clues you may be allergic to dogs include:

  • swelling and itching in the membranes of the nose or around the eyes
  • redness of the skin after being licked by a dog
  • coughing, shortness of breath, or wheezing within 15 to 30 minutes of exposure to allergens
  • rash on the face, neck, or chest

Treatment

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 (and sometimes horses and other animals). 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.

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