In most family setups across the world, pets have become part and parcel of that important unit and people keep pets for various reasons from health, companionship, pleasure or security.

What exactly are pets?

Well, pets are domesticated or tamed animals that get inducted into the family unit as members for the above-mentioned reasons.

The most common pets are dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, fowl or birds and fish.

Having pets around the house can be interesting and quite enjoyable however, there are some downside effects of owning pets from the cost of keeping them to health-related issues.

Today we want to look at the health-related issues that arise from keeping some pets particularly in terms of allergies.

The human body is designed to respond to external stimuli in different ways. Different people respond differently to different things once they get exposed to them.


Pet allergies

Pet allergies are actually caused by reactions to proteins found in the pet's skin cells, flakes of dead skin/dander, urine or saliva.

The reactions are usually triggered when humans are exposed to animal allergens (proteins that cause allergy)

Common symptoms of pet allergy

• Pet allergies in human manifest in ways that include but not limited to the following:

• Mild skin rash Hives (raised red patches on the skin)

• Eczema

• Red, itchy or watery eyes

• Nasal congestion

• Asthma attack in asthmatic people

• Sneezing

• Running nose

• Cough

• Postnasal drip (constant feeling of wanting to clear your throat).


Management and treatment of pet allergies

In case you or your loved one have an allergic reaction to pets, there are a few precautions you can take to alleviate the severity of the allergic reactions.

• Bath your pets regularly: Bathing your pets reduces the amount of dander or dried saliva on their fur that you react to.

• Avoid petting, touching, kissing or hugging your pets as much as possible.

• Wash your hands thoroughly with soap after touching a pet.

• Change the pet’s litter box and their beds regularly as those are dander hot spots.

• Do not allow pets to come into contact with your bedding or favourite chilling spot in the house

• Vacuum your carpets weekly or do away with them completely as the carpets trap dander.

• Get allergy shots (immunotherapy). This happens to be an effective treatment where you are gradually injected with doses of allergens and your body builds tolerance over time

• Visit an allergist to help determine the best course of treatment for your allergy

• See a doctor for treatment on severe cases or for prescription of Antihistamines

• Consider having fish as a pet because cases are yet to be reported of allergies in pet fish.

Pet lovers who are allergic to pets may have a hard time deciding whether to keep their pets or let them go. It is usually not an easy decision to make because of the attachment they have to their animal family. Whatever you decide to do, you must strike a balance to achieve a good outcome and make the world a better place.