Have you ever come across someone who is an ardent pet lover but funnily, that person does not own a single pet? Are you the kind of person who absolutely adores animals but sadly, you cannot own any? I have the good fortune of owning a pet dog but a lot of my pet crazy friends are not that lucky. There are many reasons for this and the regular excuses among them are not enough time to take care of pets, no sufficient space for them, objection from one’s family and neighbors etc. But the most common reason people give for not having pets is pet allergies.
What are pet allergies?
Just as the name suggests, pet allergies are the allergies of human beings towards animals. Everybody does not suffer from this and different people might be allergic to different breeds of cats, dogs or birds. The people who are allergic to animals have extra sensitive immune systems which while coming into contact with allergens, react in such a way as to induce sneezing or watering of the eyes in order to throw out those foreign bodies. Allergens are the proteins which are found in the dead skin (which is called dander), saliva, urine, feces, blood etc of animals. These allergens are otherwise harmless but the since the immune systems of allergic people are supersensitive, it regards them as dangerous. Pet allergies may not always develop suddenly. They take about two years to develop.
How do allergens spread?
Contrary to what most people think, allergies are not cause due to the fur of pets. The fur of pets is merely a medium on to which the allergens stick. This might happen when their dander is held by the fur or when they lick their fur. After the saliva dries, it no longer sticks to the fur. It becomes airborne can stay suspended in air for long periods of time. Animals fur also holds on to dust and pollen which are other types of allergens. Therefore, the length and abundance of the fur has nothing to do with the worsening of an allergy as fur is not the actual cause of allergies.
It is also found that allergens are long lasting and have the ability to stick to walls, clothes and other surfaces. They are most commonly found in public places like theatres, buses, cars etc and these things make it a possibility of allergens reaching even the homes without pets. Even dogs of the same breed may trigger different levels of allergic reactions in people, due to dandruff and other such problems.
What are the symptoms of pet allergies?
A person who is suffering from pet allergies may show different symptoms while being near animals. The severity of these allergic reactions differs from person to person. The most common reactions to allergies are sneezing, itching, watering of eyes, coughing, wheezing, swelling of skin, redness of skin, inflamed eyes, rashes and in very severe cases it can also lead to asthma. Sometimes the symptoms may not be gone completely even after a few months of staying away from the animal.
Skin tests or blood tests should be helpful in the determination of allergies in human beings. Although people might be sure that they have pet allergies, it is always better to have them tested. This is because in some cases, the people might not actually be allergic to animals but to the dust, dust mites and pollen in the air. However, tests cannot always predict accurately the cause of the allergy. In such situations it is advisable to stay away from animals for a brief period of time and test if the symptoms reduce or disappear.
How to take care of your pet allergy
The most obvious answer to this question would be to get rid of your own pets and stay away from animals on the whole. While this might work for most people, it will put pet lovers in a fix. There is no way I can imagine living without animals. So I’m assuming that it will certainly be difficult for other animal lovers as well. Luckily for such people, there are other options apart from being away from animals. It is advisable for them to bring home pets like fish, turtles etc.
If a person who is allergic to pets is still intent on keeping a furry animal, then he or she can take other precautions like only allowing the pet to stay out of the house, regular and thorough cleaning of the house and also of the furniture, sheets, curtains etc, wearing a dust mask, regular brushing and bathing of the pet by another person and getting treatment. Using an HEPA filter can help remove allergens in the air. If the pet is allowed inside the home then it must not be allowed to enter the allergic person’s bedroom.
Being an animal lover myself, I understand how important it is to be able to be with pets. Therefore, it is my humble suggestion that you should not let anything come in the way of your love for your pet. After all, pets are just a part of your life but to them, you are their life.