Sure, our furry friends shed, but fur balls are not the problem. It’s actually the pet dander – microscopic bits of skin and saliva residue – that causes most of the trouble when it comes to animal allergies. Dander circulates in the air and has a tendency to adhere to walls, clothing and other surfaces.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON PET AND ANIMAL ALLERGIES
Any animal with fur can trigger an allergy, but the most common pet allergies are caused by our favorite little companions: cats and dogs.i
In fact, around 3 in 10 people with allergies in the US have allergic reactions to cats and dogs. However, cat allergies are much more common – about twice the amount of dog allergies.ii
Unfortunately, if you do have a dog or cat, it’s inevitable that their dander will end up everywhere. Pet dander collects very easily on our furniture, flooring and clothes. It’s also easily stirred into the air when you groom your pet, or dust or vacuum the house, which can mean that this allergy trigger can remain airborne for prolonged periods of time.ii
PET ALLERGY SYMPTOMS
No matter how much you love your dog or cat, if you’re allergic to pet dander, it’s likely that you are going to experience some typical allergy symptoms. These may include:i, ii, iii
- Nasal congestion
- Runny, itchy nose
- Itchy, watery or red eyes
- Skin rash or hives
- Wheezing, chest tightness or shortness of breath (for more severe allergies)
If you only have a mild dog or cat allergy, these symptoms may not appear until several days after contact with the pet. However, contact with a cat can trigger a severe asthma attack in up to 3 in 10 people with asthma.ii Find out more about cat allergies.
HOW IS A PET ALLERGY DIAGNOSED
Your doctor will diagnose a pet allergy based on your symptoms, a physical examination, your medical history and test results. Cat and dog allergies are usually diagnosed with a simple and quick ‘skin-prick test’. Your doctor will place a small extract of pet allergen (dander) on your skin and lightly prick you with a small probe to allow the allergen to get under the skin’s surface.
You will then be monitored for any signs of an allergic reaction, which will typically occur within 15 to 20 minutes. If you do experience allergy symptoms, this will confirm that you are allergic to the animal.ii
TREATMENT FOR PET ALLERGIES
If you have an allergy to pet dander, don’t panic — getting rid of your furry friend is not your only choice!
While removing your dog or cat from your home may ultimately be necessary for anyone who experiences severe animal allergies, choosing the right allergy relief product can be a big help. A product like FLONASE can help treat your allergy symptoms while also allowing you to keep your beloved companion.
FLONASE Allergy Relief helps to relieve your worst allergy symptoms – including nasal congestion; sneezing; itchy, watery eyes; and a runny nose. FLONASE is the #1 prescribed allergy medicine* from the #1 doctor recommended brand† in allergy relief. Discover the full FLONASE range of allergy relief products.
Here are some other things you can do to help manage your cat or dog allergies at home if you decide to keep your pet:iii
- Don’t let them in the bedroom. Keep the door to your bedroom closed. This will stop pet dander from getting into your bed and help avoid allergy triggers while you sleep.
- Wash your pet once a week. This may help reduce airborne allergens.
- Get help from someone without an allergy. Have them brush the dog or cat outside to help remove dander, and clean their litter box, to reduce your contact with trigger allergens.
- Avoid carpeted floors where possible. Animal dander is sticky, so try to keep your home surfaces clean and uncluttered. Bare floors and walls are best for reducing allergens.
*Based on IMS Health Monthly TRx Allergy Market for 12-month period ending 2/28/18.
†Among OTC Allergy Medications based on most recent physician's survey dated 6/23/17.