What to do if your child’s pet causes allergic symptoms?

In addition to mold and dust mites, allergy symptoms in the home are most often caused by pet hair. What solution exists if we don’t want to get rid of our pet?

That’s what we asked dr. Éva Somogyi pediatrician, doctor of the Buda Allergy Center

What kind of pet should we choose?

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), 10 percent of the U.S. population is allergic to some kind of pet, and among asthmatics, that number reaches 20 to 30 percent. At the same time, 70 percent of households live with a four-legged pet with their family. According to the recommendation of the professional organization, if you are just considering accepting a pet into the family, the following aspects should be kept in mind when choosing:

  • all furry or feathered animals can cause allergies – not only their hair, but also the proteins in their saliva and urine can cause allergies.
  • In contrast to the various advertisements, we can state that there are no hypoallergenic animal species, since the hairy animals have not only their hair, but also some protein molecules of the detached epithelial cells. certain protein molecules in saliva can also cause allergies. There may also be large differences in allergen production levels between individuals of the same variety.
  • cats tend to cause allergies more often than dogs.
  • if we want to minimize the risk of allergies, choose fish, – considering that large aquariums can increase the humidity in the apartment, which is not favorable for mold and dust mite allergies – amphibians or reptiles, they usually do not cause allergies.

Before we take the new pet home

Families with multiple allergy sufferers are also at higher risk for allergies than children. In such a case, the decision must be considered very much. Pets quickly grow to the hearts of children, after which it is very difficult to get rid of them. If we do choose to do so, we can do the following:

  • take the child to befriend the animal a few times,
  • we watch for hay fever or skin symptoms – rash, itching.
  • if you are unsure, an allergy test can show if you are allergic.

It may not be the cause of the cat or dog

If the pet has been living with us for some time when the child has allergic symptoms, be sure to perform an allergy test. It could easily be that the four-legged is not the cause of the symptoms, but is actually a pollen allergy. This is because the animals, as they travel outdoors, carry a lot of pollen into the house on their paws and clinging to their fur, so it may happen that the symptoms are caused by some kind of pollen allergy.

What to do if the allergy only becomes apparent later?

  • If the allergy test shows that the child is allergic to the pet, we can do the following.
  • We can try to minimize the chances of a relationship between the two of us by keeping the animal in the garden or just in a particular room in the apartment, but we need to know that we can’t completely isolate allergens from the child anyway.
  • Because of the heating systems and air conditioners, allergens are constantly circulating in the apartment, reaching any point.
  • With an air purifier, we can filter out allergens, thus reducing the amount of allergens circulating in the indoor air.
  • Regular vacuuming with HEPA filters, thorough cleaning and frequent bathing of pets are recommended.

This treatment can help if we don’t want to get rid of our pet!

Allergen immunotherapy can help the body get used to the presence of a dog or cat allergen over three years of treatment. The treatment can also be performed in children from the age of 5-6. It can cause mild side effects – an itchy feeling in the mouth – as preparations that need to be used once a day are absorbed from under the tongue. These side effects typically go away in a short time. Three years of treatment can eliminate allergic symptoms over a long period of time, up to ten to twelve years.