What is an animal allergy and how can I avoid it?

In the UK, the second most common source of indoor allergens is domestic pets. Having an allergic reaction to animals is a common condition and it can aggravate other allergies if you’re not careful. While they are the pride of our life, pets can also be a major source of allergens. Cats are, in fact, the most likely to cause an allergic reaction of all other pets.

How can my pet be an allergen and what are the symptoms?

Contrary to most beliefs, the allergen is not the animal itself, but their coats serve as an excellent transporter for allergens. The allergens that come from domestic animals are often referred to as “dander”. Animal dander is nonseasonal, but it is an inhaled allergen. It may bring on symptoms of hayfever or asthma and may even produce skin reactions like urticaria.

If you are allergic to a pet in your home you may experience allergic rhinitis, hayfever, itchy eyes, and at times eczema. Some of the sources of animal allergens are:

  • saliva
  • skin
  • scales (dead skin debris)
  • urine
  • excrement

Any one of these allergens when dried form small particles that are referred to as “animal dander”. A person who is exposed to animal allergens may have an allergic reaction due to breathing in these particles of animal dander. Cats, horses, and small rodents are the most common causes of allergic reaction.

What can I do about it?

The best way to avoid an allergy is to avoid dealing with the allergens that cause it. However, considering your pet is a member of your family, this may be easier said than done. You can instead make sure your pet has a regular bath and grooming sessions at least thrice a week. Washing your pet can help to reduce the amount of allergen release into the air and will help him smell fresher and stay free of sickness. You may also want to have a designated area for your pet to sleep and not allow him in the bedroom.

Consult your healthcare expert or pharmacist about using a quality anti-allergy tablet like Zirtek to help calm the allergy symptoms.