The causes of an allergy are many such as pollen, dust, molds, and other airborne substances found inside and outside of the home. Even dander shed by a dog can cause allergy. If you are one of these people suffering from a dog allergy, here’s what you have to do to determine the causes of the symptoms.
Typical symptoms of a dog allergy include sneezing, watery eyes, itchiness in the nose and eye areas. In fact, it is pretty much like having a regular allergy to dust or pollen. In other cases, the skin may break out on areas where the dog has licked it such as the arm, face or hands.
Even if you are sure that your symptoms are caused by a dog allergy, the only way to tell for sure is to go to the doctor. Your family physician can schedule an allergy test. Specifically, you have to undergo a radioallergosorbent test or RAST which will determine if you have any dog allergy. Tell the doctor if you suspect other causes as well so that you can do an allergy test for other offensive substances.
Once it is confirmed that you have a dog allergy, avoidance of dog dander is the best preventive medicine. This is difficult to do if you own one already, but in the end, you might have to give up the animal in order to avoid dog allergy. In addition, your children can also get a dog allergy and this is not the ideal situation at home when you are containing or preventing allergies when you know that you can easily find another home for your furry friend.
There are also ways to live with a dog allergy such as vacuuming like mad in areas where dog dander can fall. Make your heating and air-conditioning work as they have special filters to trap dust and dander. Clean these regularly to minimize dog allergy episodes. De-clutter your home by getting rid of stuff that are going to collect a lot of dander such as rugs, carpets, curtains, and upholstered sofas. Dander can get anywhere and it is not easy to remove all of them even if you are cleaning frantically. Even if you don’t own a dog anymore, it will still take months of regular dusting and vacuuming before your home is dander-free.
Avoid going to homes where there are dogs. This is also not an easy thing to do as you risk offending friends with your sudden dislike of dogs. However, be truthful and explain that you have a dog allergy. Tell them that you were tested and it was confirmed that dog dander is the cause. In cases like these, having a solid medical justification of a dog allergy certainly helps. You can ask that the dogs be kept away for the duration of the visit or you might hold a get together outside of your friend’s home, weather permitting. Take antihistamines in advance to prevent attacks if you are going to be exposed to dog dander.
A dog allergy is treated by taking antihistamines, decongestants, and in special cases (prescription) steroids. People with a dog allergy and other allergies can undergo an allergen immunotherapy to reduce the symptoms. Severe asthma sufferers receive this type of treatment.
Sources and Citations
Merck Manual of Medical Information
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