Pet allergy symptoms appear during or shortly after exposure to the animal. Allergies to pets, particularly to cats and dogs, are a common cause of allergic disease, including asthma and allergic rhinitis (hay fever).These symptoms may linger long after the animal is gone. This is because the dander remains in the air, on furniture or on your clothing. The allergy results in: Sneezing, Itchy, watery eyes, Runny nose, Congestion. Additionally, contact with a pet may trigger skin allergy symptoms including itchy skin or raised, red patches (hives). Pets can also trigger asthma symptoms, causing wheezing, difficulty breathing or chest tightness.
The most effective way to manage pet and other allergic rhinitis symptoms is to avoid the allergen(s) causing the symptoms. Antihistamines like Allegra, Claritin, Benadryl, or Zyrtec and other over-the-counter allergy medications may help relieve symptoms, but they are not ideal as a long-term treatment. Decongestants, which reduce swelling in the nose and relieve congestion; examples are over-the-counter Sudafed and Allegra-D. Other drugs, which affect allergy or asthma symptoms in different ways; prescription steroids -- such as Flonase or Nasonex sprays -- are a common treatment for allergies. Both Flonase and Nasonex are available over the counter and by prescription. Allergy shots have a proven track record as an effective form of long-term treatment (immunotherapy).
A team of Swedish scientists have used national register information in more than one million Swedish children to study the association of early life contact with dogs and subsequent development of asthma. This question has been studied extensively previously, but conclusive findings have been lacking. The new study showed that children who grew up with dogs had about 15 percent less asthma than children without dogs. Numerous studies have shown that animal allergens can be present in environments where no animals reside.3, 4 In schools and daycare centers, cat (Fel d 1) and dog (Can f 1) allergens are frequently detected, but the levels of exposure vary greatly. Researches such as “Dog saliva – an important source of dog allergens” are in progress.
Allergy to dog (Canis familiaris) is a worldwide problem that affects 5–10% of the adult population. It has been estimated that sensitisation to dog, confirmed by skin prick test, occurs in children with a physician-diagnosed asthma, rhinitis or eczema in up to 34%, 33% and 21%, respectively, in Sweden. Pets are a common cause of allergy, with half of all asthmatic children allergic to cats and 40% allergic to dogs. Living on a farm with lots of animals seemed to confer even more protection, cutting the risk of asthma by about 50%.