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Pet Allergy

A pet allergy is an allergic reaction to the proteins in the animal’s saliva, skin cells, or urine. This type of allergy can cause sneezing and runny nose, like hay fever. Often, pet allergies are caused by exposure to dead skin flakes shed by the animal. Pet allergies can affect any animal with fur, but cats and dogs are the most common pets to cause allergies.

You should avoid or reduce exposure to animals if you have a pet allergy. To alleviate symptoms and manage asthma, medications or other treatments may be needed.

What causes Pet Allergy?

Allergies take place when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance. Your immune system produces antibodies. These antibodies protect you from unwanted invaders that could make you sick or cause an infection. When you have allergies, your immune system makes antibodies that recognize your certain allergen as something harmful, even though it isn’t.

When you inhale the allergen or come into contact with it, your immune system responds and produces an inflammatory response in your nasal passages. Prolonged or regular exposure to the allergen can cause the ongoing airway inflammation linked with asthma. 

Who are at risk for Pet Allergy?

Pet allergies are common. On the other hand, you are more likely to develop a pet allergy if allergies or asthma runs in your family.

Being exposed to pets at an early age may help you avoid pet allergies. Several studies have found that children who live with a dog in the first year of life may have better resistance to upper respiratory infections during childhood than kids who don’t have a dog at that age.

What are the symptoms of Pet Allergy?

The signs and symptoms of pet allergy caused by inflammation of nasal passages include:

  • Itchy nose, the roof of mouth, or throat
  • Postnasal drip
  • Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy, red, or watery eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Swollen, blue-colored skin under your eyes
  • In a child, frequent upward rubbing of the nose
  • Facial pressure and pain
  • Frequent awakening

Diagnosis for Pet Allergy

Your doctor may suspect a pet allergy based on symptoms. If you have a pet allergy, the lining of the nasal passage may be swollen or appear pale or bluish. 

  • Allergy skin test – Your doctor may suggest an allergy skin test to determine exactly what you’re allergic to. You may be referred to an allergy specialist for this test.
  • Blood test – If a skin test can’t be performed because of the presence of a skin condition or because of interactions with certain medications, your doctor may recommend a blood test that screens your blood for exact allergy-causing antibodies to various common allergens. 

Treatment and Medications for Pet Allergy

The initial treatment for pet allergy is avoiding the allergy-causing animal as much as possible. When you lessen your exposure to pet allergens, you generally must expect to have allergic reactions that are less severe or less often. It is often hard to remove completely your exposure to animal allergens. Even if you don’t have a pet, you may unexpectedly encounter pet allergens transported in other people’s clothes. 

In addition to preventing pet allergens, you may need medications to control your symptoms. Your health care provider may direct you to take one of the following medications to improve nasal allergy symptoms:

1. Antihistamines

2. Corticosteroids 

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