West River ENT & Allergy

Can Pet Allergies Be Cured?

Does your family have any four-legged family members, like a cat or dog? Pets can be a beloved part of the family and can bring joy to adults and children alike. The two most common household pets are cats and dogs—and along with companionship, they can also bring allergies. No one wants to have to give up a pet due to allergies, so it’s worth asking: can pet allergies be cured?

Can Pet Allergies Be Cured?
As with most allergies, the issue usually comes down to controlling and managing allergies rather than curing them. Allergy symptoms occur when your body’s immune system reacts to foreign substances that do not cause a reaction in most people or that are actually harmless.

The goal of managing your allergies is to control and prevent symptoms once you are exposed to an allergen, such as pet dander. In some cases, allergies can be “cured” by teaching your body not to overreact to allergens.

What Causes Pet Allergies?
Pet allergies are typically triggered by exposure to pet dander, which is the skin shedding of furry animals like dogs and cats. Some people are also allergic to pet saliva or urine.

How Do I Know If I’m Allergic to Pets?
In most cases, pet allergies cause the nasal passages to become inflamed. You may have a pet allergy if you notice the following symptoms after spending time around pets:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Itchy throat and roof of the mouth
  • Postnasal drip
  • Red, itchy, and watery eyes

Fortunately, you often do not need to choose between living with these symptoms or saying goodbye to a family pet. Controlling your allergies can be key to living in harmony with your furry friend.

How Can Pet Allergies Be Treated?

As mentioned above, pet allergies can more easily be managed than “cured.” The first step in controlling your allergy symptoms is avoidance. Of course, if you do not live with a pet, avoiding them is much easier. If you have a pet in your home, you can avoid your allergy triggers by taking measures like keeping your pet confined to only one area of the home (and away from your bedroom), frequently cleaning the home, and using an air purifier with a HEPA filter.

The second step in managing your allergies is getting your symptoms under control. Your allergist may recommend one of the following types of allergy medication to minimize your symptoms:

  • Antihistamines—These block the release of histamines, which cause many allergy symptoms.
  • Corticosteroids and decongestants—They can be used to relieve inflammation in the nasal passages, which makes it easier to breathe through your nose.
  • Leukotriene modifiers—These block the release or effect of leukotrienes, helping to relieve symptoms like chest tightness, wheezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing.

For a more long-term treatment option, your allergist may suggest immunotherapy. The goal of immunotherapy is to expose your body to small doses of the allergen over time, which gradually teaches your immune system not to react to the allergen. Allergy shots and allergy drops are two forms of immunotherapy that can effectively help your body lessen its response to allergens.

For more information about how you can manage and treat your pet allergies, we encourage you to contact us today at West River ENT & Allergy. We are eager to help!

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