animal allergies

What are animal allergies?

Animal allergies present with respiratory disorders or dermatitis in allergic individuals and are common in both adults and children. The reaction develops after exposure or contact with animals, especially domestic animals (cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, horses). 

What are the causes of animal allergies?

The allergic reaction is triggered by proteins contained in the saliva and dandruff of animals such as dogs and cats (more rarely by the mites that lurk in their fur) and is due to an incorrect reaction of the immune system which interprets as dangerous substances that actually do not I am.

What are the symptoms of animal allergies?

Respiratory disorders caused by allergies to animals range from simple allergic oculorinitis with a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing and burning in the eyes and throat , to real asthma attacks . Skin reactions are also possible , with the development of urticarial manifestations in contact with the hair or saliva of animals.

How to prevent animal allergies?

There is no real way to prevent animal allergies. Furthermore, those who are allergic to a particular animal may over time develop allergies to other species as well . However, children who from birth get used to living in environments where animals are present have a significantly lower chance of developing allergies, since early contact with allergens trains the immune system to tolerate them. 

Diagnosis

Allergies to animals are diagnosed mainly with two tests, which are carried out to confirm or exclude the presence of allergy: the prick test and the search for specific IgE. The prick test , which is carried out at the same time as the allergic examination and is a quick and very simple examination, requires drops of extracts containing the allergens to be tested to be placed on the patient’s skin. In the point corresponding to the liquid, a slight puncture will be made, more like a “pinched” one, with a special disposable instrument. If the patient’s skin becomes red or swollen, taking on an appearance similar to that caused by mosquito bites, it is possible that the suspicion of allergy is confirmed. Theresearch for specific IgE can be useful to validate the result of the prick test, instead it takes place through blood tests and the report is given according to the times of the analysis laboratory. 

Treatments

If it is not possible to remove the animal that caused the allergy, contact with it must be as limited as possible and it is advisable to undertake a treatment treatment: to alleviate the symptoms, antihistamines to be taken orally are usually prescribed. eye drops and nasal spray cortisone . It is also recommended to pay attention to the hygiene of the home environment : floors, curtains, armchairs, sofas and beds must be cleaned regularly. Your pet will also need to be washed more often than it usually would.

There is also the possibility of carrying out the specific allergen immunotherapy , known as a “ vaccine ”, which must be continued for about three years to have an effect. The immune system, in fact, is trained to recognize the allergen through a controlled sublingual intake of known doses of the same. 

Here’s how to relieve the symptoms

  • Regularly wiping a damp cloth on your cat’s fur can help reduce allergy symptoms.
  • Keep the bedroom “off limits” for the house cat. We spend most of our lives sleeping and at least during sleep our body should be exposed as little as possible to allergens. If the cat has slept in the bedroom until the allergy was diagnosed, it is good to replace the blankets and pillows.
  • The cat litter box is a pleasure only for the cat! Cleaning must be done by a person who is not allergic to cats. The same goes for regular brushing of the coat.
  • Wash your hands every time you come into contact with a cat.
  • Eliminate carpets and all textiles that can retain dust from the apartment – Cat allergens easily adhere to airborne dust and can remain in the environment for months, even if the cat is no longer at home.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner with a filter.

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