Pets shed a combination of hair and dead skin cells referred to as dander. Unfortunately, after getting a pet, some people find that they're allergic to dander. If this is you, it's best to make an appointment with an allergy specialist to diagnose your allergy and recommend a course of management. A percentage of people with severe allergies to dander will have to re-home their pet. However, many others are able to keep their pet and manage their allergies. If you think you may be allergic to your pet, here's what you need to know.
Symptoms of Pet Allergies
Pet allergens circulate in the air causing you to breathe them in. If you're allergic to pet dander, you may experience itchy eyes, a runny nose, coughing, swelling under your eyes, sneezing, and nasal congestion. If you've experienced these symptoms shortly after bringing a new pet home, chances are that you have a dander allergy. People with lung conditions, such as asthma and bronchitis, are particularly sensitive to dander. If you're one of those people, you may find that pet dander aggravates your condition.
Pet Allergy Reduction In the Home
Dander settles easiest on carpet, bedding, and furniture like couches. A good way to reduce allergens in your home is to restrict your pets access to bedrooms and keep your pet off of couches. It's best to allow your pet access to rooms with hardwood flooring, this way you can vacuum the dander up and lower the amount in the air. Frequently dusting, cleaning, and washing linens and other fabrics can significantly lower your exposure to pet dander. It also helps to replace filters in your air conditioner and furnace with HEPA filters, which help purify the air and reduce the amount of pet dander circulating in your home. If you have a dog, research shows that washing your dog twice a week can have a dramatic affect of reducing dander by up to 85 percent.
Treatments and Management
Only an allergy specialist can determine what treatment, if any, is right for you. Allergies to dander are commonly treated with antihistamines and anti-inflammatory nasal sprays. The anti-histamines block an inflammatory substance involved in allergic reactions called histamine. The anti-inflammatory sprays are used to reduce nasal congestion. Both approaches are designed to help you breathe better. If itchy, red, watery eyes are your primary symptom, an allergy specialist can recommend eye drops.
For more information, contact local professionals like The Regional Allergy Asthma & Immunology Center, PC.