Pet Allergies? Get the Facts on the Best Way to Cope
There are few things that we love as much as our pets, but one thing that can make having pets a problem is pet allergies. Being allergic to your pet—whether a cat, dog, bird, ferret, or other fur-covered animal—can mean having mild symptoms such as hives, itchy eyes, skin, or throat, nasal congestion, runny nose, and sneezing, or severe asthma-like reactions like coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. However, it is possible to keep your fur babies, manage your allergies, and live well. Take our pop quiz to test your knowledge on managing your pet allergies.
1.) What is the specific thing that causes pet allergies?
- Pet hair.
- Bugs like mites and fleas on an animal.
- A protein in an animal’s dander, which is dried skin like dandruff, and more.
- Things animals track indoors from outside.
2.) True or false? A protein is always the allergen responsible for all allergies, like pet allergies, peanut allergies, and hay fever allergies.
3.) Which of the following is true about pet dander protein allergens?
- They are also found in a pet’s saliva, sweat, and urine.
- They are tiny, easily airborne, and can travel everywhere.
- Reducing pet dander protein allergens can help reduce your allergies.
- All of the above
4.) True or false? When experiencing allergy symptoms, it’s always best to go to an allergist to find out exactly what you are allergic to.
5.) Which of the following is a way to reduce pet dander allergens in your home?
- Keep your bedroom pet-free and get special bedding that is less permeable to allergens.
- Get a HEPA filter machine to filter out pet dander.
- Vacuum frequently, shampoo rugs and carpets, and clean pet bedding often.
- Switch to hard flooring options, like hardwood or tile.
- All of the above
6.) True or false? Washing your hands often is a much better way to reduce your contact with pet dander allergens than washing your pet.
7.) Which of the following are medical options to deal with your pet allergy symptoms?
- Over-the-counter antihistamines for mild symptoms.
- Prescription medication for more intense symptoms.
- Allergy shots that aim to reduce or eliminate allergies over the long-term.
- All of the above
8.) True or false? You’re more likely to develop a pet allergy if allergies or asthma run in your family.
9.) How many people in the US are likely allergic to cats and dogs, the most common sources of pet allergies?
- 20 percent of people
- 30 percent of people
- 40 percent of people
- 50 percent of people
10.) True or false? Being exposed to pets at an early age, such as having a dog in the first year of life, may help you avoid pet allergies.
compiled by ERIKA ALDRICH/Information provided by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, WebMD, and Mayo Clinic
- C. A protein in an animal’s dander, which is dried skin like dandruff, and more.
- True. Proteins are what cause the body’s reaction of creating the antibodies that cause allergy symptoms.
- D. All of the above. Pet dander allergens are found in most areas of an animal, are easy to disperse, and can be controlled to a degree.
- True. It’s always a good idea to see an allergist to find out what you are allergic to.
- E. All of the above. Reducing your contact with your pet’s dander through cleaning and control like HEPA filters can reduce your allergies.
- True. Washing your pet does not do as much to reduce your contact with allergens as washing your hands.
- D. All of the above. There are many medical options for dealing with pet allergies, too.
- True. Having a family history of allergies and/or having asthma increases the likelihood you’ll have an allergy to pets.
- B. 30 percent of people. Estimates say that 30 percent of Americans are allergic to cats and dogs.
- True. Studies have suggested that being exposed to pets from a young age decreases the likelihood of having an allergy to pets.