Pet allergies are nothing but an allergic reaction to allergens,
which are certain proteins found on animal fur and skin, urine, and in animal saliva. Most pets like cats, dogs, rabbits, rodents and birds produce allergens.
For those, who are prone to pet allergy, their bodies launch an immune system when they come in contact with allergens. This allergic reaction occurs when the body deems an allergen, otherwise harmless to others as a harmful invader.
The immune system of an allergic person reacts to any allergen by producing specific proteins known as antibodies, which then alert cells in the body to release histamine and other cellular substances, which cause allergy symptoms. Allergens can range from pollen to other plant materials, pet dander, certain foods, mold, dust, insect bites and even specific medicines.
Pet dander can cause allergies in some owners. Sometimes, pet allergy symptoms will also resemble those caused by other allergens such as pollen, dust or mold. Symptoms will typically include:
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- Itchy skin
- Scratchy throat or mouth
- Red patches on the skin ( known as hives)
- Asthma symptoms, including chest tightness, difficulty breathing or wheezing
The best way to avoid pet allergies is to avoid bringing home pets that will trigger allergic reactions. You may also prevent or reduce symptoms by taking care to avoid hugging, petting or kissing your pets, getting someone else without pet allergies brush the pet outdoors frequently, using an air filter, removing rugs and carpets that often trap pet allergens, and making sure to keep pets out of your bedroom and off upholstered furniture. Your doctor can also suggest specific medications such as nasal steroids and antihistamines to help lessen your symptoms. In other cases, immunotherapy with allergy shots may be a long-term solution to your allergy.
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