You finally give in to a family pet, but ever since you brought home Mr. Whiskers, your eyes are red and itchy, you’re sneezing and have a constant runny nose. You feel like you have a perpetual cold. Is being allergic to your pet a minor inconvenience or can it lead to something more serious?
How Prevalent Are Pet Allergies?
According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), almost 62% of U.S. households have pets and more than 161 million of these pets are cats and dogs. Ten percent of pet owners are allergic to their pets and 25% of them decide to keep their pets.
Are You Allergic to Your Pet?
Some of the signs and symptoms of pet allergies include:
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Congestion (stuffy nose)
- Itchy skin
- Hives (hives on your face and chest are symptoms of a more severe allergy)
- Skin reaction where your pet licks you
Be aware that if you have asthma as well as a pet allergy, your symptoms could be especially serious.
What’s the Allergen?
If your pet causes any of the above allergic reactions or aggravates your asthma symptoms, your pet’s hair or fur is not to blame as many people seem to think. But keep in mind that pollen, mold spores and other outdoor allergens can collect in your pet’s hair and fur. The real culprits behind these allergic effects are the proteins found in your pet’s saliva, urine and dander (flakes of dead skin).