Animal allergy is a common asthma trigger. You can develop an allergy to a pet at any time. Any animal can cause allergic problems in the chest, nose and skin. The material that causes these problems is called an allergen.
All animals with fur, feathers or hair produce allergen. The allergen is in their dander, saliva and urine. Animal allergen is a problem because it easily gets into the air we breathe. Animal allergen is easily carried from place to place on clothing. Allergic problems may happen right after contact with an animal or may happen a few hours later. Regular contact with an animal may cause daily symptoms including cough, wheeze or stuffy nose.
Avoidance and Control
- The best advice for anyone with an animal allergy is not to have an animal in the home.
- Once an animal is removed from the home, it may take months before there is less allergen in the home.
- If you cannot remove the animal, keep it outside as much as possible.
- When an animal must be inside, try to keep it in a small uncarpeted area. Carpet holds more of the animal allergen.
- Never allow the animal into the bedroom.
- If you have an animal allergy, you should not clean its cage, litter box or handle the animal.
- If you are allergic to an animal and have regular contact with it, asthma may be harder to control.
- You may need to take more asthma medicine to keep your asthma controlled.
- Animals should be kept out of daycares and school rooms where children have allergies to animals.
- Experts cannot agree if air cleaners, special vacuums, or washing your pet will help.
- If you must visit a place where there are animals, speak to your doctor. Get advice about medicine that may help to protect you during a visit.
- If moving, check with the landlord or previous home owner to see if an animal has lived in the home.
More Animal Facts
- Cats are a common problem for people with allergies or asthma.
- All breeds of cats and dogs can cause allergy. There are no NON allergic cats or dogs.
- Short haired pets produce as much allergen as long haired pets.
- Animal allergen collects on cloth covered furniture and carpets. It is hard to remove.