Pet allergy is an allergic response to proteins that are found in the skin cells, urine or saliva of an animal. The signs and symptoms of pet allergy are somewhat similar to hay fever such as sneezing and difficulty in breathing. Pet allergy is caused by exposure to the dead flakes of the skin or dander which is shedding of the animal’s dead skin. Any animal with a fur can also be source of pet allergy, but most pet allergies are caused by cats, dogs, rodents and horses. By enrolling in a class on first aid today, you can readily manage the symptoms.
Symptoms of pet allergies
Most are caused by inflammation of the nasal passages such as the following:
- Runny nose and sneezing
- Nasal congestion and postnasal drip
- Itchiness in the nose, at the roof of the mouth or throat
- Itchy, red or watery eyes
- Facial pressure and pain
- Swelling and blue colored skin under the eyes and frequent awakening
- Frequent upward rubbing of the nose in children
When a pet allergy causes asthma, the person experiences the following:
- Tightness of the chest and difficulty in breathing
- There is difficulty sleeping due to shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
- A whistling or wheezing sound can be heard when exhaling
Skin symptoms of pet allergy
- Eczema and an itchy skin
- Raised, red patches of skin or hives
Causes of pet allergy
Allergies happen when the immune system of the body reacts to a foreign substance such as pollen, mold or pet dander. The immune system of the body produces proteins known as antibodies. When an allergen is inhaled or comes in contact with it, the immune system of the body will respond and produces an inflammatory response in the nasal passages or lungs and prolonged exposure to the allergen can cause chronic inflammation caused by asthma.
Allergens from cats and dogs can be found in the skin cells the animal is shedding or dander as well as in the saliva, urine and sweat on the fur. Dander is very small and can stay airborne for long periods of time while pet saliva can stick to carpets, beddings, furniture and clothing. When the saliva dries, it becomes airborne. Allergens from rodents such as mice, gerbils, hamsters and guinea pigs are found in the hair, dander, saliva and urine, and dust from litter or sawdust found in the bottom of cages contributes to airborne allergens. Animals that does not have fur such as fishes and reptiles does not cause allergy.
Treatment and home remedies
- Instruct somebody without allergies on pets to clean the entire house that includes washing of the ceilings and walls.
- Replace old upholstered furniture in the house with a new one or move the old furniture to another area in the room.
- Replace carpeting in the house particularly in the affected person’s room.
- Replace bed sheets, blankets and other bedcovers because it’s difficult to wash pet allergens completely as well as the mattress and box spring bed with an allergen-blocking covers.
- Bathe the pets on a weekly basis.
- Establish a pet-free zone in a certain area in the house, particularly the bedroom in order to minimize levels of allergens in those areas.
- Install high-efficiency air purifiers and vent filters in order to help minimize airborne pet allergens.