Pet Allergies Treatment Questions and Answers
Having an allergy to pets doesn’t have to mean you can never be around animals. We can help treat and reduce pet allergy symptoms at Trivita Clinic of Integrative Medicine in Scottsdale, AZ. Our skilled health care team is trained in both conventional medicine and alternative therapies, and we can help you with allergy and immune support. Visit us online to request an appointment or give us a call for more information.
When to see a doctor for pet allergies?
The only way to prevent allergic reactions to pets is to avoid keeping any pets in the home, but this is not practical for many people who enjoy sharing their home with companion animals. To reduce allergic reactions, you can increase the level of vacuuming, dusting, and laundering so that allergens don’t build up in carpets, on furniture or on bedding. Keep pets out of bedrooms and off the furniture. Focus on frequent cleaning of pet bedding or habitats, and cleaning or grooming the pet itself to reduce the hair and residue they can leave behind. You may want to consider air filters or purifiers to help clean the air in your home.
You should see a doctor for pet allergies if you have tried all the above tips but are still having symptoms, or if the symptoms are becoming more severe. If you have asthma and you are having more difficulty with breathing, you should seek health care.
What are pet allergies?
Pet allergies are allergic reactions to the proteins found in saliva, urine or skin cells that are shed by animals with fur or feathers, called dander. Most pet allergies are to cats and dogs, but people can be allergic to many different animals, like birds, rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters. About twice as many people suffer from allergies to cats than to dogs. Some furry pets shed less than others, or have less fur, making them a better choice for someone who suffers from pet allergies, but no pet is truly hypoallergenic. It is possible for people to react to either dander, urine, or saliva, or several of them, or all of them.
When the tiny proteins are inhaled, the immune system recognizes them as something unfamiliar to the body and responds in two ways:
- By releasing chemicals called histamines, which work to fight off the invader and get it out of the body.
- By creating antibodies, which are chemicals that recognize the new material and remember it, so if it enters the body again the defense response can be quicker and sometimes stronger.
This is the usual job of the immune system, to defend the body against unfamiliar particles which may cause harm, like bacteria and viruses. Unfortunately, in the case of allergies, the cells of the immune system overreact to something that wouldn’t have otherwise been a threat.
What are pet allergy symptoms?
Pet allergy symptoms are noticed after contact with a pet or sometimes just from being in a home where there is a pet. Symptoms usually begin quickly and include the following:
- Itchy, teary eyes
- Sneezing and runny or stuffy nose
- Pain from nasal congestion
- Coughing or wheezing
- Hives or a skin rash
For some people who are highly sensitive, or that have respiratory conditions like asthma, an allergic reaction to a pet can trigger a severe breathing problem or shortness of breath.
How are pet allergies diagnosed?
Your health care professional will complete a full assessment with you, where they will consider your symptoms and observations and do a physical exam. They may also do a test to confirm the allergy diagnosis. In an allergy skin test, they will place drops of a liquid containing extracted material from the allergen on your skin and then lightly prick it. If the spot swells and turns red, you are allergic to that allergen.
How are pet allergies treated?
Conventional allergy treatment focuses on stopping the symptoms or avoiding the allergen. At Trivita Clinic of Integrative Medicine located in Scottsdale, AZ, we know there are multiple ways to reduce allergy suffering and still enjoy companion animals. We practice multiple modalities, including conventional medicine, and holistic modalities, and help you balance your healthy immune system by focusing on nutrition, acupuncture, and other supports.
If you are interested in learning more about our services or would like to book an appointment, call us or schedule online! We serve patients from Scottsdale AZ, Arcadia AZ, Gainey Ranch AZ, Paradise Valley AZ, and Tempe AZ.
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