Dog allergy is a nightmare for people, especially those who love to have a dog as a pet. Dog dander (dead skin flakes) is the chief cause of dog allergy in most people across the world. The most interesting fact about dog allergy is that people who have dogs are less likely to experience allergy symptoms than the ones who don’t own dogs.
This happens because dog releases a protein named endotoxin that boosts the human immune system to fight against allergies. Do not let dog allergy come between you and your dog. Here is a comprehensive way to tackle dog allergies.
In contrast to the widely held beliefs, different dogs of the same breed release different allergens and can cause dog allergy. It is not necessary that only the long-haired or furry dogs cause dog allergies. In fact, the hair is not the underlying cause at all but the dog dander is. In addition, dog’s urine and saliva also cause dog allergies. Saliva of dogs contains the primary allergen namely Can f1.
In addition, a particular type of protein in dog’s blood called dog albumin causes dog allergies. Dog albumin reacts with albumin of other animals such as cats. Also, only those people with weak immune system are prone to dog allergy. In this case, their bodies mistake harmless substance in dog dander to be harmful virus or bacteria and react against it.
In an attempt to destroy this misunderstood allergen, the person experiences watery eyes and sneezing. Often people react to the pollen carried by the dog and mistake it for dog allergy.
When people with dog allergy come in contact with dog dander they show symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, red and itchy eyes, sneezing, running nose, stuffy nose, etc. In some cases, people experience skin reactions when they come in contact with dogs.
Dogs show their affection by licking. In case of dog allergy, however, you might experience a break out in your skin right at the place where you were licked by the dog. In severe cases, dog allergies lead to hives on the person’s face and chest. The symptoms are always worse in case of people with asthma.
Dog allergy is diagnosed effectively through RAST (radioallergosorbent test). RAST identifies whether or not you have dog allergy. The doctor might also ask you to stay away from your dog for a few days in case you show symptoms of dog allergy.
If your condition improves, it means you have dog allergy. Once it is proved you have dog allergy, removing the dog dander from your house should be your goal. It generally takes months to create a totally dander free environment in your house.
Dog allergy drugs are prescribed to patients of dog allergy. These include –
These drugs reduce nose swelling caused by dander by relieving congestion. Some common decongestants are Allegra-D and Sudafed.
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These drugs block the chemical that triggers symptoms related to dog allergy. Some of the common antihistamines found easily over the counter include Benadryl, Allegra, Zyrtec, Claritin, etc. Doctors may also prescribe nasal antihistamines such as Astelin.
Prescription steroids also treat dog allergy symptoms effectively. These include Nasonex, Flonase, etc.
For some people allergy shots are prescribed as a remedy to dog allergy. However, you should take advice of your doctor beforehand regarding their use.
The best way to keep dog allergy at bay is to stay away from dogs. If possible, you should avoid going to houses where folks own dogs. If at all you have to be in such a house with dog, ask the host to keep the dog away from your room.
At the same time, you should be careful regarding those visitors who have dogs. This simply means that the guests may leave the dogs at home but they will carry the dog dander with them as it sticks to clothes and luggage. Keep the dogs out of your bedroom. It would be better if you would assign a particular place to the dog. You can also keep the doctor outside the house, like in the garage, depending on the climate.
If you own a dog, clean your house regularly. Apart from sweeping and mopping, you will have to clean the furniture and rugs. HEPA filter equipped vacuum best suits the requirements. Make sure that you clean each and every corner of your house. Use central air cleaner that filters the air.
Neuter the dog and bath him/her at least twice per week. The dog’s body should be wiped with a clean wet cloth every day.