Allergy to dogs is the most complicated thing you need to cope with having a pet.
For a person with dog allergies, life is not easy in a country where these animals are loved. In the United States, approximately 30% of families have dogs. The wool of these animals is everywhere, even in places where the dog’s paw has not trod. According to the data of the national health institutions, there is a pet hair in every house in the United States.
So how can one live with an allergy to a man’s best friend? Below are the causes and treatment of allergies to dogs, as well as tips on how to avoid it.
Symptoms of allergies to dogs
Symptoms of allergy to dogs are similar to the symptoms of any other nasal allergy, they include:
- Coughing and wheezing
- Red, irritated eyes
- Runny nose and stuffy nose
Some people who are allergic to dogs also have a skin reaction. For example, the skin becomes inflamed at the site of saliva. People who are prone to a more acute allergy may develop a rash on their face or chest. Those who suffer from asthma, as well as those who suffer from allergies to dogs, can manifest particularly acute symptoms.
Causes of allergy to dogs
You’ve probably heard that some breeds of dogs cause allergy symptoms, while others do not, or that short-haired dogs are safe, while moult-prone breeds do not. But experts believe that this is not the case. In fact, dogs of even one breed can distinguish different levels of allergens.
The problem is not in wool, usually an allergy occurs on dead skin cells, and also on saliva and urine. Therefore, it’s not about how long or short the coat is, every dog carries a potential threat of an allergic reaction.
You might be interested in why the dog’s fur produces such an effect. People with allergies have a very sensitive immune system. In this case, the body reacts to harmful substances, like viruses or bacteria. Sneezing and eye irritation are just side effects of trying to destroy or eliminate the allergen.
Being diagnosed for allergies to dogs
To determine the allergy to dogs, the doctor may suggest doing a skin test or a blood test called a radioallergosorbent test. Even if you are sure that you are allergic, the analysis will help to make sure of it. Sometimes people make mistakes, and it turns out that they are allergic to pollen or mold, which dogs bring from the street.
Although the allergy test is effective, it is not always final. This means that if you have a dog, the doctor can offer to live without it, and watch the symptoms.
To give an objective assessment, it can take some time, as a rule, in order to reduce the level of accumulation of wool to the rate that is fixed in a house where there is no dog, it will take a month.
Treatment of dog allergy
Standard medications that are used in the treatment of allergies can also be used in the treatment of allergies in animals. The doctor can offer:
- Antihistamines that block the action of chemicals that cause symptoms. They can be dispensed without a prescription. Some antihistamines are available as a spray.
- Decongestants that reduce edema and prevent mucus congestion, some of them are dispensed without a prescription.
- Other medications that cope with allergy or asthma symptoms in different ways. Steroids that are prescribed by doctor and can be used as sprays – they are traditionally used in the treatment of allergies.
The course of allergic injections does not solve the problem of people with dog allergies. They are not effective for everyone, and a full course of treatment can last for years. But in some cases they can really help. Discuss with the doctor their advantages and disadvantages.
- Controlling the environment
Most allergists believe that although medications can be effective, the best way to control an allergy to dogs is to avoid contact with them. Here are some tips:
- Observe the distance.
Do not touch or kiss the dog. The best option – do not visit at home, where there is a dog. If you have to stay in a house where there is a dog, ask the owners not to let the animal into the room where you will spend the night, even for a few weeks before your arrival.
- Use medicines.
If you know that you will not be able to avoid contact with the dog in the near future, start taking the medication a few weeks before. In this way, you can prevent an allergic reaction before it starts.
- Be careful with visitors who have a dog.
Wool can remain on clothes and things. Even if guests leave their dogs at home, they can bring their own wool, and this can be a big problem for you.
Of course, some, the above tips, can be useless if you have a dog in your house. But even in this situation, you can take action:
- Do a thorough cleaning.
The dog’s fur can be everywhere, you should regularly sweep the floors and wipe the dust, and also vacuum. If possible, buy a vacuum cleaner with a high-performance dry air filter. Conventional filters do not catch allergens, but release them into the air.
- Make it so that it is easier to clean the house.
Get rid of the carpeting, rugs and curtains. Do cleaning in dusty, crowded cabinets, if you reduce the amount of things that accumulate dust, it will help to cope with the symptoms.
- Clean the air.
Central heating and air conditioning can promote the spread of wool around the house. In this case, the air purifier and the air filter of the ventilation system can be useful.
- Do not let the dog into the bedroom.
Since you spend a third of a day in the bedroom, it is important that there be as clean as possible. If you keep the door permanently closed, it will not save completely from allergens, but will reduce their number.
- Let the dog go.
Free the dog from several areas in the house. If the climate and environment allows, keep the dog on the street for as long as possible.
Experts do not know if the frequency of dog bathing can affect your condition. Some studies have shown that bathing helps reduce the amount of wool in the air. You can try bathing the dog every week and watch the symptoms. But keep in mind that, even if you did not have any allergies, you should swim often too.
These methods can be useful, but if they do not help, you will have to take more stringent measures, for example, get rid of the dog. It’s hard to do, but you have to think realistically. It is not fair in relation to a person that he can not suffer from a cold and constant sneezing at home. A permanent allergy can lead to asthma, which is a serious illness.
Thus, if you or your family members are allergic to dogs, discuss this with your doctor. Control over the symptoms will not ease your condition, but it will not let it get worse.