Pets are an integral part of our lives, making it a challenge for those suffering with pet allergies. There are solutions to help those allergic to animals who have ever thought about either not getting a pet or surrendering the one they currently have. Through immunotherapy, Florida Center For Allergy & Asthma Care has been able to successfully treat patients allergic to their dog or cat.
A pet allergy, like any other allergy, is an immune system response to a protein it has encountered that the body has interpreted as foreign and overreacts to combat it. In the case of pet allergies, the guilty protein can be found in the animal’s dander, or loose skin flakes that the animal sheds, saliva and/or urine. These proteins stick to bedding, clothing and upholstered furniture. It is important to also note that there is no such thing as hypoallergenic dogs or cats.
The most common symptoms of pet allergies can mimic symptoms of hay fever or rhinitis, chiefly sneezing, congestion, itchy watery eyes, coughing and wheezing, eczema or rashes. Simple blood tests and/or skin prick tests can be run by your allergist to quickly identify the culprit and determine the best course of treatment.
“Immunotherapy (allergy shots) enables patients to have a better quality of life and allows them to enjoy their environment and their pets without having to constantly rely on medications,” said Dr. Sharlene J. LLanes.
In addition to medical options, a number for lifestyle changes can help you decrease your exposure to animal dander and find relief at home with your pet:
- Keep your air clean by using a HEPA filtered air purifier system, changing filters seasonally.
- Vacuum frequently using a HEPA filtered vacuum cleaner, which permanently traps airborne allergens.
- Clean your home weekly and thoroughly, including furniture and curtains. Use hypoallergenic mattress covers and wash all bedding weekly.
- Use a nasal lavage daily to wash away allergens that may have collected in the nasal cavity.
- Bathe your pets weekly using a dander-reducing shampoo, which can reduce the level of allergens by as much as 84%. *Be sure to check with your veterinarian as shampooing too frequently in certain pets can create an increase in dryness, causing the animal to shed higher quantities of dander.
- Keep coats trimmed short to reduce the quantity of allergens collected.
- Keep pets off furniture or use furniture covers that can be washed weekly.
- Do not place litter boxes in areas with air filtration intake vents.
- Keep pets out of the bedroom.
An allergy specialist can use their training and expertise to accurately diagnose your symptoms and determine the best course of treatment to help you or a loved one manage their symptoms so you can adopt a pet. For more information, please visit www.florida-allergy.com or call 1-877-4-ALLERGY.
About Florida Center For Allergy & Asthma Care
Florida Center For Allergy & Asthma Care has been in business for more than 38 years and has board certified physicians with extensive experience in treating both adults and children. FCAAC has 18 centers throughout South Florida, serving communities in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. The Centers specialize in the testing and treatment of adults and children who suffer from allergies, asthma and other disorders of the immune system. Among the most common allergies treated are allergic skin diseases, food, drug and pet allergies. The goal of the FCAAC team is to provide professional and quality care resulting in total patient satisfaction