Effects of Pet Dander on Humans
Pet dander has all types of effects on humans. It is also commonly known as a pet allergy. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) says that of people who suffer from allergies, 15 to 30 percent of them also suffer from pet allergies. That’s a lot of people with allergies to pets and this condition is especially hard for people who have pets that they have grown to love, only to discover that they have an allergy to them. While there are some solutions to an allergy to pet dander, severe allergies are hard to treat.
There are several types of pet allergies that affect humans. The most popular are cats, dogs and rodents. People with allergies to these animals are reacting to either the saliva, urine or the dander from these animals. Pet dander is the most common cause and it comes from the animal’s skin. As the skin ages and flakes off, it produces dander. The AAFA says that cat allergies are twice as likely in humans than dog allergies. The cause of this is because cats are constantly cleaning themselves causing their saliva to dry on their skin and when it flakes off as dander, it has more of the allergy potency.
Signs and Symptoms
According to Alen Corporation, the symptoms of an allergy to pet dander range from mild to severe depending on the exposure time and the person. Signs of a pet dander allergy include things like itchy eyes, nose and skin, sneezing, swelling of the eyes, skin rashes, coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and asthma attacks. Alen Corporation says that an individual allergic to pet dander can start showing signs as soon as 15 minutes after exposure or as long as a few days after exposure.
There are several ways that doctors will test for a pet dander allergy. According to the AAFA, the first way is to remove the human from the pet’s environment to see if the symptoms go away. Doctors can also usually tell based on a simple blood test and a review of the patient’s family history. The AAFA also says that if cat induced asthma is suspected, a doctor will perform a blood test called a radioallergosorbent (RAST) test to confirm the diagnosis.
Unfortunately, pet dander is hard to control and hard to get rid of. Alen Corporation says that pet dander can be in carpet, the air, furniture and clothing for up to six months once a pet is removed. For this reason, it is recommended that people with severe pet dander allergies don’t own pets or visit people who own pets. If a person suffers from more mild symptoms to pet dander, it is important to keep the pet out of that person’s sleeping area.
To further combat a pet allergy, bathe pets once a week to decrease pet dander and brush them outside once a day. The AAFA says it also helps to thoroughly clean the house once a week and to vacuum with a high efficiency particulate air filter (HEPA). You can also have a HEPA filter added to your heating and cooling unit to further remove pet dander from the air.