The ultimate pet allergy FAQ

The ultimate pet allergy FAQ

The British public loves their pets. Half of UK households have one, be it a dog, cat, or other furry (or not-so-furry) creature. They’re our loyal companions and best friends. But some people are unlucky – they’re allergic to animals.

Whether you’ve lived with a pet allergy for some time or have just discovered one, here’s our quick FAQ that should hopefully answer your burning questions.

What are the symptoms of a pet allergy?

No matter what animal it is, the symptoms are often the same. They can also be very similar to hay fever, so make sure you don’t get your wires crossed.

Symptoms include:

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Watery or itchy eyes
  • Skin rash or hives
  • Coughing or shortness of breath

If you only have these symptoms when coming into contact with animals, you might be allergic to them.

So can I get a pet?

If you already have a pet and this is a new allergy to you, don’t worry. You can still peacefully coexist. It just means now you’ll have to be more careful to lower the chances of a reaction. What you need to know is the allergy usually comes from the animal dander – their hair. 

So here are some ways you can reduce the chances of coming into contact with it:

  • Keep animals off your furniture – if you spend a long time there, such as in your bed, make sure your pet doesn’t climb all over it
  • Clean regularly – invest in a vacuum made especially for pet hair and get into a routine of using it
  • Don’t touch your pet too much – keep contact to a minimum and always wash your hands when you’re done

Can I get a pet if I don’t have one?

This is up to you, whether you would rather have a pet and suffer or not bother at all. It’s a tough choice if you’re an animal lover. The upside is you can get hypoallergenic breeds of both dogs and cats. These are breeds that leave less hair lying around.

You could also consider a smaller pet, like a rabbit or a hamster, but again, their fur might trigger a reaction so do your research first. Alternatively, you could go for something different like a reptile or a bird. Allergy sufferers tend to have a better time with these pets but, again, they might bring their own issues.

If you love animals and want a pet, we can’t blame you. Whatever you do, always look after your health. If you need advice, find an allergist near you who can guide you through the process.

At the London Allergy and Immunology Centre, we’re experts on all things allergies. And that includes pet allergies. If you would like to discuss your condition, feel free to get in touch with us on 02031 433 449.

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