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Cats, Dogs and Allergies, Oh My!

Cats, Dogs and Allergies, Oh My!

Allergies are among the most common heath problems, with more than 50 million people afflicted with asthma, seasonal hay fever or other allergy-related conditions each year. Generally, allergies are more common in children, however, a first-time occurrence can happen at any age or recur after many years of remission.

Allergens found in animals are a common cause of allergic reactions. They are caused by the protein found in an animal's:

  • Skin
  • Dander
  • Saliva
  • Urine

Household pets, like cats and dogs, are the most common sources of animal allergens.

Pet allergy signs and symptoms caused by inflammation of the nose include:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy, red or watery eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Itchy nose, roof of mouth or throat
  • Postnasal drip
  • Cough
  • Facial pressure and pain
  • Swollen, blue-colored skin under your eyes
  • In a child, frequent upward rubbing of the nose

Some people with pet allergies may also experience skin symptoms. These may include:

  • Raised, red patches of skin (hives)
  • Eczema
  • Itchy skin

If you have a pet allergy, the best strategy is to avoid or reduce exposure to the animal as much as possible. Medications or other treatments may be necessary to relieve symptoms and manage asthma.

If your signs and symptoms are severe — such as severe nasal congestion, difficulty sleeping or wheezing — call your doctor. Seek emergency care if wheezing or shortness of breath rapidly worsens or if you are short of breath with minimal activity.

Sources: MayoClinic.org

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