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).
Scientists have discovered how allergic reactions to cats are triggered, raising hopes of preventative medicine. Researches such as ‘Common allergens and allergic reactions to dogs’
In the UK, pets are the second most important cause of allergy in the home with half of all asthmatic children allergic to cats, while 40% are allergic to dogs. Rabbits, hamsters and other furry domestic pets can also cause allergies in these children. About half of all households in the UK have a pet, with cats (10 million) and dogs (7 million) the most common.