Pets make wonderful companions, but for individuals sensitive to their dander, they may be the cause of considerable discomfort, as well. At McGovern Allergy and Asthma Clinic, a large percentage of our patients experience allergies to pets, from dogs to cats to birds. Depending on the severity of the allergy, patients may react only when in close proximity to an animal, or they may react even in places where no animal is present, such as pet-free homes, schools, or offices.
Our physicians are sensitive to the special issues surrounding allergies to pets, particularly the emotional difficulty that sometimes comes with practicing avoidance measures. In addition to counseling our patients on ways to steer clear of pet allergens, we can offer advice on alternative methods of alleviating allergy symptoms, including select medications.
Pet antigen is a very difficult substance to control. Recent research has found that pet antigen (specifically cat antigen) is found in 100 percent of U.S. households. Pet antigen consists of microscopic proteins found in the sebaceous glands, fur, saliva, and urine of animals. It can easily be carried about by air currents and can be inhaled through your lungs as well as caught in the lining of your nostrils or in your eyes.
Vacuuming may help, though only if you use a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter; using a regular vacuum only stirs up these particles, making allergies worse. Truly, the best way to get relief from your pet allergies is to avoid contact with the pets causing the allergies. If total avoidance is not a possibility, contact should be minimized as much as possible. We at McGovern will be glad to advise you on further techniques to alleviate your pet allergy symptoms.