People with pet allergies have oversensitive immune systems which react to proteins — or allergens — in an animal’s urine, saliva, or dander (skin flakes). These allergens can cling to and collect on furniture, clothing, and other surfaces. Pet hair itself is not an allergen. And there are no hypoallergenic animals, not even hairless ones.2
Allergies happen because the immune system treats otherwise-harmless proteins as allergens, which your body considers a threat. It will start creating antibodies and histamines to fight it. Allergy symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, itchy/watery eyes, or an itchy throat are all attempts to flush allergens out of the body.
Allergies to cats are twice as common as allergies to dogs and can range from very mild to very severe. Symptoms can develop very quickly or sometimes take hours to appear. If you’re unsure if you have a cat allergy or need cat allergy treatment, we recommend visiting a health professional or immunologist who can conduct tests and provide a diagnosis.
First and foremost, there are no hypoallergenic dog breeds. Some may cause fewer allergies than others, but all of them distribute allergens around the home. Best thing to do is avoid touching your eyes or face after coming into contact with a dog, and try to stay clear of their saliva.
An action plan for fighting pet allergies
You can minimize allergens by keeping your house nice and clean. A big step in fighting pet allergies is to make your house more livable2 for you and less hospitable for allergens:
Bathe your pets at least once a week
Choose carpet-free flooring to limit the buildup of dander
Invest in an air purifier with a certified allergy and asthma filter
Brush pets outdoors
Keep pets out of the bedroom
Wash your hands with soap routinely throughout the day
Clean solid surfaces as often as possible
3. Telfast Gulf PIL – last revised November 2020
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