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Pet Allergies Can Be Controlled

It is estimated that 15% of the population is allergic to their pet. Are you one of them? There are many symptoms of an allergy to a pet. Sneezing, sniffling and runny eyes are some of the more common ones. Rash or itching may be present if physical contact occurs. Lung congestion and shortness of breath may also be present in people who also suffer from asthma. People with asthma are 2 to 3 times more likely to have a pet allergy.

Everyone is different and some people are more severely allergic than others. People who have parents with pet allergies are more likely to be allergic themselves. Early exposure to pets, however, can help many people develop a tolerance to the allergy.

Cats and dogs are the most common pets that people are allergic to. This may be due to the fact that they are the most common pets to have. All breeds of cats and dogs can cause irritation. There are no safe breeds. Different breeds, however, may be more irritating to one individual than another. In general, cats tend to be more allergenic than dogs. You may also be allergic to mice, guinea pigs, horses and many other types of pets. Many people mistakenly think that the fur is the cause of the allergy. It is actually dander or dead skin cells that cause so much discomfort. Animal saliva and urine are also allergens. In addition, other allergens such as dust and pollen can build up on fur and aggravate your allergies.

Finding out that you have a pet allergy does not mean that you have to give away your pet. Many people with allergies continue to live comfortable lives with their pets. About 1/3 of Americans with allergies live with one or more cats. There are many things you can do to control the dander. It is a good idea to vacuum regularly to control the pet dander that is in the carpet. It is also wise to invest in a good HEPA air filter to clean the air of all the airborne toxins. Bath your pet once a week to greatly cut down on the dander that he is shedding, as well. Keep your pet off the bed and out of the bedroom completely. Wash your hands after handling your pet. Doing these things will greatly reduce the symptoms of allergies. If this is still not enough, you can get regular allergy shots from your doctor. If the symptoms are still overwhelming after using all the techniques mentioned, giving away the pet may be the only end solution. If this is your plan, you should be aware that it takes months for the house to be completely rid of all of the offending allergens.

Before you give away your pet, it is a good idea to make sure your pet is the offending allergen in your house. You can visit an allergist who will do an allergy skin test to diagnose your allergies. He will expose your skin to various allergens then watch for an allergic reaction. Giving away your pet only to continue sneezing anyway would be awful.

Michael Russell
Your Independent guide to Allergies