Pet allergies are a type of allergy that occurs when the body’s immune system overreacts to proteins found in pet dander, saliva, or urine. Pet dander is the most common trigger for pet allergies. Pet dander is made up of flakes of dead skin, which can easily become airborne and settle on furniture, carpets, and clothing.
Pet allergies can affect people of all ages, but they are more common in children. Pet allergies can also be more common in people with other allergies, such as hay fever or asthma.
Symptoms of pet allergies can range from mild to severe. Common symptoms include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Itchy skin
- Difficulty breathing
In severe cases, pet allergies can trigger a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the throat. If you think you are having an anaphylactic reaction, call 911 immediately.
There is no cure for pet allergies, but there are ways to manage the symptoms. The most important thing is to reduce your exposure to pet dander. You can do this by:
- Keeping your pet out of your bedroom
- Brushing your pet regularly
- Bathing your pet regularly
- Vacuuming and dusting your home regularly
- Using an air purifier
You can also take over-the-counter or prescription medications to relieve your symptoms.
If you have pet allergies and are unable to reduce your exposure to pet dander, you may want to consider getting rid of your pet. This is a difficult decision, but it may be necessary for your health.
If you have any questions or concerns about pet allergies, be sure to talk to your doctor.