Does your daughter suffer from watery eyes when she played at her friend’s house and cuddled with the cat? Does your tough teen suffer from sneezing and wheezing as he played with the neighbors’ dog? Does your child get eczema after petting a rabbit? Then it may be that your child is allergic to pets.
What is a pet allergy?
In pet allergic children an allergic reaction occurs after contact with one or more species. It is a misunderstanding that the allergic symptoms are caused by the hair of the particular animal. The allergic symptoms are caused by animal dander but also the saliva and the urine of animals contain allergens. Animal dander can cause allergic symptoms in people who are sensitized.
How often does a pet allergy occur?
A pet allergy is a common allergy. Exact figures are not known but it is clear that an allergy to cats and dogs is the most common within this type of allergy. In addition, an allergy to rabbits, guinea pigs but also birds (parakeet, canary and parrot) is regularly seen.
What are the symptoms of a pet allergy?
When your child is allergic to a certain kinds of pets then allergic symptoms will occur if your child is close to or in contact with this particular animal. Allergic symptoms mostly affect eyes, nose and lungs. Also skin problems may occur if allergic to animal dander.
When animal dander gets in contact with the mucous membranes allergic symptoms will arise. The most frequently reported symptoms are:
The symptoms that arise as a result of a pet allergy (animal dander) are not seasonal but can occur throughout the entire year. The symptoms can arise rather quickly after contact with the animal, but sometimes also hours later.
The advice is to take your pet (s) out of the home when your child turns out to be allergic to it. That is often very difficult, the emotional bond between human and animal is strong and should not be underestimated, especially in children.
Tips in case of a pet allergy
There are a number of practical tips that you can use when your child is suffering from an allergy to domestic pets:
- Keep your pet(s) out of the bedroom as much as possible;
- Brush your pet(s) regularly and preferably outdoors;
- Provide your home with a smooth flooring (laminate, tiles etc.) which is easy to keep clean;
- Clean furniture and floors regularly with a damp cloth;
- Let your child wash his/her hands after contact with the animal he/she is allergic to;
- Try to place your pet(s) outdoors as much as possible
Additional tips can be found on the website of the Dutch organization called Landelijk Informatie Centrum Gezelschapsdieren