Life with Pets — and an Animal Allergy
For animal lovers, dogs and cats are more than pets; they’re four-legged members of the family. But if being around a dog or cat makes you sneeze and your nose stuffy, you have an animal allergy.
Any animal with fur can cause an allergic reaction (even a guinea pig or rabbit!) but pet allergy symptoms are most common around cats and dogs. In fact, as many as 3 in 10 allergy sufferers are allergic to cats and dogs — with cat allergies being twice as common.
And yet, it’s not their fur itself that triggers allergic reactions. Pet allergies are caused by a sensitivity to proteins found in an animal’s saliva, urine and dander, which are dead flakes of skin and most often trigger pet allergy symptoms. These allergens collect in their fur along with other allergens like dust and pollen, a common trigger of spring allergies, and are then spread around — turning these lovable animals into allergy hotspots.
Gone but not forgotten.
Once pet allergens are airborne, they can stay suspended in the air for long periods of time, and even remain in a room at high levels long after a pet was in it, settling onto furniture, curtains and other surfaces — even clothing. That’s why people with an animal allergy should consider keeping pet allergy medication on hand — even if they don’t have a pet of their own.
What about a hypoallergenic pet?
Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a “hypoallergenic” dog or cat — although some breeds don’t seem to cause reactions in allergy sufferers. Most of these tend to have a low, or non-shedding coat, which produces less dander.
Pet Allergy Symptoms
Animal allergy symptoms can impact people in different ways. Symptoms that are caused by pet allergies include:
- Nasal allergy congestion
- Runny nose
- Itchy nose
- Post nasal drip, itchy throat, and itchy/watery eyes*
Exposure to pet allergens can trigger other pet allergy symptoms, such as wheezing, coughing and other respiratory symptoms.* Some experience a skin rash, hives, eczema or itchy skin, either as part of their symptoms or upon direct contact.*
*Nasacort is not indicated for relieving these symptoms and should only be used as directed for nasal allergy symptom relief.
Tips For Dealing with Pet Allergies
Avoiding pet allergens is the best way to manage an animal allergy. Some strategies to reduce exposure include:
- Change your clothes after prolonged exposure to an animal
- Install an air cleaner like a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to remove pet allergens from the air, as well as pollen and other allergens that can trigger seasonal allergies
- Avoid physical contact such as petting, hugging or kissing animals. If you do, wash your hands with soap and water.
If you have a pet of your own and struggle with pet allergy symptoms, here are a few things you can do to manage pet allergens like dander in the home:
- Keep your pet away from your bedroom and clean it thoroughly on a regular basis. Consider using a HEPA cleaner in the room
- Keep surfaces throughout the home clean and uncluttered. Bare floors and walls are best
- Regularly remove your pet’s beddings and clean their favorite furniture
- Steam clean your carpets, sofas and curtains regularly
- Wash the pet every week to reduce airborne allergens and have someone without a pet allergy brush the pet outside regularly
- Keep an effective animal allergy medication on hand
How Pet Allergy Medicines Relieve Nasal Allergy Symptoms
Even if you don’t share your life with a cat or dog, pet allergens can still affect you because you can easily come into contact with dogs or cats through friends and family. As a result, your animal allergy can be triggered, leading to a variety of symptoms.
There are many animal allergy treatments available to help you manage different symptoms. Available in a variety of forms either over the counter or by prescription, they include the following:
- Antihistamines block histamines, which are chemicals released by your immune system to defend against allergens and causes your symptoms. Oral antihistamines are not indicated for relieving nasal allergy congestion and can cause drowsiness.
- Decongestants provide quick, temporary relief of nasal allergy symptoms like nasal allergy congestion by narrowing the blood vessels inside your nasal passages so you can breathe more freely. Nasal spray decongestants are recommended for short-term use only.
- Combination Allergy Medications contain both an antihistamine and a decongestant to relieve multiple allergy symptoms.
- Corticosteroids work by suppressing inflammation caused by allergies. A nasal corticosteroid spray reduces swelling and mucus in your nasal passages to relieve nasal allergy symptoms and is the most recommended type of medicine for nasal allergy congestion.
Nasacort is a nasal corticosteroid that provides 24-hour non-drowsy relief of nasal allergy congestion.
Unlike seasonal allergies, an animal allergy can cause you misery any time of year. Taking steps to minimize your exposure to allergens and finding the best pet allergy medicine for you are important ways you can manage your allergies. And if nasal allergy congestion is your worst symptom, see how Nasacort can give you relief so you can enjoy being around your beloved pet.
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