People who suffer from pet allergies will experience symptoms associated with inflammation of the nasal passages, such as a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, and shortness of breath. Physical contact with pet dander can cause contact dermatitis, skin rash, hives, or even asthma. Pet allergies are caused by proteins found in an animal's skin cells, saliva, or urine. The most common signs of pet allergies are similar to those of hay fever, such as sneezing and a runny nose.
In some cases, people may also experience asthma-like symptoms like wheezing and difficulty breathing. To manage pet allergies, it is best to avoid or reduce exposure to the animal as much as possible. Medications or other treatments may be necessary to relieve symptoms and control asthma. It can be difficult to tell if you have a cold or an allergy since the symptoms are so similar.
If your signs and symptoms persist for more than two weeks, it is likely that you have an allergy. If your symptoms are severe and you feel that your nasal passages are completely blocked, have trouble sleeping, or are wheezing, it is important to call your doctor. If you experience worsening wheezing or shortness of breath or if you are short of breath while doing minimal activity, seek emergency care. People with asthma and pet allergies often have difficulty controlling their asthma symptoms and may be at risk of having asthma attacks that require immediate medical treatment or emergency care.
Allergies occur when the immune system reacts to a foreign substance such as pollen, mold, or pet dander. Pet dander consists of microscopic patches of skin shed by cats, dogs, rodents, birds, and other animals with fur or feathers. Pet allergens can be found in homes, classrooms, workplaces, and other places where pets have never been. Any animal with fur can be a source of pet allergy but pet allergies are most commonly associated with cats and dogs.
If you're exposed to a pet for a long time, you may have more chronic symptoms such as persistent nasal congestion rather than the sudden symptoms that occur when you're exposed to a pet in the short term. If you don't have a pet but are thinking about adopting or buying one, make sure you don't have pet allergies before you get engaged. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid and limit dandruff to better control pet allergies. Wash sofa covers, pillows, curtains, and pet beds frequently and keep pets away from rugs and furniture.
People with asthma and pet allergies can have particularly serious symptoms. Animal dander can be found even in homes and buildings without pets because of how quickly allergens spread. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there are detectable levels of pet dander in every home in the United States.