All You Need to Know about Pet Allergies
Allergies are our immune system’s way of saying – I don’t like what you’ve been touching or sniffing – and punishing us with runny noses, puffy eyes, powerful sneezes, itchy skin, breathing difficulties, and other adverse reactions that make us look and feel miserable. Some people are allergic to pollen from flowers and dust mites, others flare up when in close contact with pet animals, and yet others suffer from all the possible allergies in the world. If you’re an animal lover who enjoys pets, a pet allergy could be a wet blanket on your desire to own a pet. However, if you know all about pet allergies and are prepared to do what it takes to reduce them, you could bring home your cat or dog.
- They’re caused by your immune system’s reaction to pet hair, dander (used body cells), urine and feces. A pet’s dander is the biggest cause of allergies, and not its hair as commonly believed.
- Allergic reactions vary from serious to mild, based on your body condition and immune system response. You could get off lightly with just a few sneezes or you could be prone to asthmatic wheezing if you already suffer from asthma or any other breathing difficulty.
- Allergic reactions may not set in immediately – some people would know instantly that they’re allergic while for others, the reaction may kick in hours after they’ve been in contact with an animal.
- Cats cause more allergies than dogs, ironically, because they’re clean creatures – their saliva is the main culprit. Cats lick themselves often to clean their bodies, and when the dried saliva falls off their hair, it sticks easily to furniture, clothes and other objects, thus causing your allergies to act up.
- Pets with short hair too cause allergies because they shed dander which is the leading cause of allergies. So don’t assume that you’re going to be safe with a hairless dog or cat.
- Longer-haired pets shed more dander because of their long hair and cause more allergies because their hair easily picks up dust, pollen and mould which also cause allergies to act up.
- While cats and dogs cause the most allergies, other pets like birds, mice, hamsters, and even horses can affect your immune system through airborne feces and mould.
- You can reduce the allergens in your home if you give your pet a bath every now and then and rub them down with distilled water.
- Vacuum your home regularly to get rid of dust and dander.
- Restrict your pet’s activities to certain rooms in the house and prevent them from climbing on your bed, sofa and chairs. If possible, keep your pet outdoors.
- Don’t invest in plush upholstery for your furniture or buy a carpet that is a magnet for pet hair and dander.
- Keep your pet’s things – toys, bedclothes, dishes – clean.
- Clean up pet urine and feces immediately.
- Talk to your doctor and consider anti-allergen shots to help desensitize your body.
This guest post is contributed by Tina Marconi, she writes on the topic of online vet tech programs. She welcomes your comments at her email id: tinamarconi85[@]gmail[.]com.