Pet hair allergies are the third most common form of allergy, after pollen and dust mite allergies. The name, however, is misleading because it's not the animal hair itself that causes the allergic reaction but the proteins, dead skin cells, sweat and other agents that attach themselves to the animal hair. In principle, it is possible to be allergic against all animals. The most frequent forms, however, are cat, dog, rabbit and guinea-pig allergies.
An allergic reaction is most likely to occur immediately after you had direct contact with your hairy companions. Typical signs include:
- Teary, itchy and irritated eyes
- Coughing attacks
- Sneezing attacks
- A runny or blocked nose
- Being short of breath, or even having asthma in severe cases
- Itching and skin rashes, e.g. red patches or lumps
We recommend that you avoid certain pets that you know you are allergic against as much as possible. But if you are unable to part with your four-legged friend and are willing to put up with the symptoms, you may consider the following:
- Wash your hands every time after you hold the animal. If your skin is irritated, products containing urea, sea buckthorn or aloe vera will offer some relief.
- Keep your pet out of your bedroom and set up a separate spot for him to sleep.
- Get rid of any rugs and carpets, because they can cause allergens to accumulate.
- Clean your floors and furniture regularly with a damp cloth.
- Wash your sheets regularly. Choose blankets that you can wash and cushions with polyester filling.
- There are numerous medicines, such as antihistamines, cortisone cream, nasal and eye drops, that provide relief against allergic reactions. You may also consider hypo-sensitisation treatment as a way of combating the symptoms.