For a person with dog allergies, life in a dog-loving country is not simple. Approximately 37% to 47% of American households have a dog. Dog dander gets everywhere, involving places where dogs have never set a paw. According to the National Institutes of Health, detectable levels of pet dander are in every house in the U.S. So, how can you get through life with an allergy to man's best friend? Here is a rundown of the causes and treatments of dog allergies, along with tips on decreasing exposure.
Symptoms of Dog Allergies
The symptoms of dog allergies are typically like those of any other nasal allergy. They involve:
- coughing and wheezing
- red, itchy eyes
- runny, itchy, stuffy nose
- Skin redness
- Itching and swelling in the membranes of the nose or around the eyes
- coughing, shortness of breath, or wheezing within 15 - 30 minutes of exposure to allergens
- rash on the face, neck, or chest
- a severe asthma attack (in somebody with asthma)
Some people have skin reactions also with dog allergies. For example, their skin can break out where a dog licks them. Others with more severe allergies can develop hives on their chest or face. People with asthma as well as pet allergies can have particularly serious symptoms.
Causes of Dog Allergies
You can have heard that few dog breeds trigger allergy symptoms while others do not, or that short-haired dogs are safe while long-haired dogs prone to shedding aren’t. But on the whole, experts say that is not the case. Also, two dogs of a similar breed can each give off very different levels of allergen. It is not the dog's hair or fur that is the real problem. Instead, people are typically allergic to the dander flakes of dead skin as well as the urine and saliva. Any dog can cause an allergic reaction whether hairs are long or short.
You can wonder why dog dander has such an effect on you. People with allergies have oversensitive immune systems. Their bodies overreact to harmless substances such as dog dander and attack it as they will viruses or bacteria. The sneezing and watery eyes are just the side effects of the body's attempt to abolish or flush out the allergen.
How to treat dog allergies?
The fast way to get rid of pet allergies is to eliminate the pests from your house. There Are some ways to minimize your exposure to allergens and lessen your symptoms if you do not want to part with Fluffy.
Here’re some medications and treatments that can manage allergies and asthma:
Antihistamines are over-the-counter (OTC) medications like Benadryl, Allegra, Claritin, and Clarinex OTC that can aid relieve sneezing, itching, and runny nose.
Nasal corticosteroids like Flonase (now available over the counter) or Nasonex can decrease inflammation and control symptoms.
Cromolyn sodium is an OTC nasal spray that can aid reduce symptoms, particularly if it is used before, they develop. Decongestants make it easy to breathe by shrinking swollen tissues in the nasal passage. These’re available in oral form or as a nasal spray.
Allergy shots will expose you to the animal protein that causes the reaction and helps the body to be less sensitive, decreasing symptoms. Shots are given by an allergist and are frequently used in more severe cases for long-term treatment.
Leukotriene modifiers are prescription medications that can be recommended if you cannot tolerate nasal corticosteroids or antihistamines. Due to the risk of severe behavioral and mood changes Trusted Source, montelukast (Singular) will only be used if there are not any suitable alternatives.
Strategies to Reduce Pet Allergies
If your child’s allergies are not too severe, you can be able to take some steps to decrease your child’s symptoms and keep your pet. For example:
Keep pets out of the bedroom. Make your kids room a pet-free zone and make sure to keep it clean. To keep the room pet dander- and pollen-free, install a high-efficiency air purifier and air filter. Remember to change the filters often. Cover your child’s bed with extra protection. You can buy dust mite covers for your kids' pillow, blanket, and mattress. This will also aid keep out dust mites, another potential allergy trigger, furthermore to allergens like pet dander.
Go for hard surfaces. Where you can replace upholstered surfaces with non-fabric or simply washable materials. Pet dander sticks to upholstery, curtains, drapes, and carpeting more simply than it does to surfaces like vinyl, wood, or tile. Plus, the latter is easy to clean. For this reason, you also should not let your allergic child sleep with stuffed animals. If you must have carpet in your child's bedroom or elsewhere in your house, select a low-pile one and have it steam-cleaned regularly.
Bathe your pet weekly. Weekly baths can significantly decrease the amount of allergy-causing dander your pet sheds. If possible, ask a non-allergic member of your household to bathe the pet and make sure to wash that person's clothes afterward. Wearing gloves can also aid. Ask your veterinarian to recommend the best shampoos and soaps. Caution: Bathing too often can have the opposite effect. It can dry the skin of the pet.
Teach your child to wash his hands with water and soap after touching the pet. Washing aids prevent the spread of allergens to your child’s nose, mouth, and eyes which is particularly important if your child gets a rash from having been licked by your pet.
Talk to your allergist about treatment. Medications work for allergy symptoms regardless of the trigger pollen, pet dander, etc. But not all medications work equally well for all symptoms. That is why it is important to work with your doctor and tailor your child’s allergy medications to his or her symptoms.
Consult your veterinarian. Your veterinarian can recommend a diet for your pet that is rich in minerals and vitamins, which can aid your pet’s skin to retain its moisture and not shed as much. Like people, pets can take advantage of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Every family has to decide for themselves whether they can manage their children’s pet allergies with a dog or cat. The best solution for pet allergies is to not have a pet, but many people consider pets part of their family, and getting rid of the pet is out of the question.