Here is your guide to pet allergies. If you would like to skip straight to help for managing allergies (e.g. treatments), click here.
What is a pet allergy?
The most common form of pet allergy is an allergy to the tiny particles of dead skin and saliva which are shed by the animal and subsequently become airborne. These microscopic particles are known as ‘dander’.
Cats are generally more allergenic than dogs, as the particles shed from them are smaller than the particles shed from dogs, which means that they become airborne more easily and are airborne for longer. Airborne particles can easily fly up the nose, triggering lots of nasty symptoms.
Unless you are severely allergic to pets, there are lots of ways to avoid the allergens which don’t involve getting rid of your cat. See our Allergy Avoidance Tips below to find out how.
Spending more time inside during cooler months, (meaning increased contact with pet allergens), can cause symptoms to flare up and become difficult to manage. This may actually be the first time someone realises that they have an allergy.
Indoor allergy symptoms caused by pets can be very similar to the more well known hay fever symptoms.
Common symptoms include;
- Sore, itchy, watery, red eyes.
- Sneezing and wheezing.
- Cold like symptoms such as a runny nose and sinus pain. (Many people believe they have a ‘winter cold’ when their symptoms are a result of spending more time inside amongst pet allergens than in the summer).
- Asthma can be triggered by many of the allergens found in our homes.
- In some rare cases, sufferers can experience extreme symptoms such as shortness of breath or even anaphylaxis.
Allergen avoidance- practical tips for dodging allergy danger zones around the home.
At HayMaxTM, we love to say ‘less allergen, less reaction’. What this means is that prevention is key with allergies. No home is 100% allergen free, but there are some simple ways to minimise the allergens around you. Here are some simple, easy to implement tips:
- Keep pets off sofas and beds (out of the bedroom altogether if possible).
- Damp dust surfaces regularly.
- Vacuum regularly. It may also be beneficial to install “Allergy Friendly” flooring.
- Use allergy friendly mattress covers and bedding.
- Keep cuddly toys and blankets in a cupboard to prevent the build up of allergens on them.
- Be careful when using harsh chemicals for cleaning. The fumes can exacerbate breathing problems (a common trigger for asthma) and cause skin irritation.
Remember… You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention.