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Pet Allergies Did you know that pet allergens (dander) have been found to be present in cinemas, buses and offices? This is because we obligingly carry the dander of household pets; after showing affection by cuddling or stroking. This enables the dander to be spread around in public places flaring up immune responses in those prone to pet allergies. Therefore your symptoms may remain at bay throughout the year. Experts suggest that a mask...

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Pet Allergy

Did you know that pet allergens (dander) have been found to be present in cinemas, buses and offices? This is because we obligingly carry the dander of household pets; after showing affection by cuddling or stroking. This enables the dander to be spread around in public places flaring up immune responses in those prone to pet allergies. Therefore your symptoms may remain at bay throughout the year. Experts suggest that a mask should be worn by severe allergy sufferers. This might seem to be a drastic measure however it is a prevention measure apart from antihistamine tablets or other synthetic drugs.

 

For those of you moving house with allergies to pet dander, be warned! Even after contact with an animal and its surroundings have ceased, the allergens may still be present on ceilings and walls. Therefore when moving ask if there have been any household pets. In which case you will have to clean the house inside and out preferably using non-chemical based detergents and steam cleaners which will help denature any allergens; having air purifiers will help in containing any airborne allergens.

 

Pet allergy is caused by the shedding of minute particles of fur and skin relatively known as pet dander. However some animals produce there allergens in urine or saliva, that may also cause allergies. These particles are so small that they can easily become airborne allowing them to be inhaled. However it is also possible for an allergic reaction to occur when an animal or object containing pet allergens comes in contact with a sensitised patient by simply just touching.

The airborne dispersed pet dander which causes pet allergies is seen as a threat by the body. In response to this threat the body releases immunoglobulin E (IgE) to attack the invading allergens. This triggers mast (white) cells to release chemicals including histamine. Once released, histamine causes the airways to become constricted leading to breathing difficulties and symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Allergic rhinitis is also referred to as a 'permanent cold' and can affect the quality of life by disturbing sleep, and reducing concentration and performance at school or work.

If you suffer from persistent cold like symptoms which includes a runny nose or allergic rhinitis which lasts longer than a week or two then you may be suffering from an allergic reaction. The question is; what is causing the allergic reaction to occur? This is when it is important to determine at which point you started experiencing the symptoms. In the case of pet allergies it may have been after being in a room which has been occupied by a pet or you may have cuddled or stroked or had contact with an animal at some point in the day. In any case you should consult a doctor for expert advice.

Often it is enough for the doctor to know whether you have an allergy just by taking into consideration when and where you developed your symptoms. However skin tests and blood samples can confirm the diagnosis.

 

Skin Test
Skin tests are carried out by injecting or applying a diluted extract into a tiny scratch or puncture made on the patients arm or back. The diluted extract may be of dust mites, pollens, pet dander or molds commonly found in the local area.

The skin test is one way of determining whether a patient has IgE antibodies in the skin which react to a certain allergen. A positive reaction to any of the allergens will appear at the test site as a raised red reaction (called a wheal) with a surrounding flush (called a flare). This reaction proves that there are IgE antibodies present to that particular allergen present in the skin.

 

Blood Tests
Skin testing is the most sensitive and least costly procedure to use in order to determine whether a patient has a reaction to a specific allergen. However this type of diagnostic testing should not be carried out on patients who suffer from widespread skin conditions like eczema as this may cause further reaction. Therefore in this case taking a blood sample to test for levels of IgE antibodies to a particular allergen in the blood would be a safer option. This diagnostic testing method is called RAST (radioallergosorbent test) and can be performed when eczema is present or if a patient has taken medications that interfere with skin testing.

 

Read more about it: http://www.allergymatters.co.uk/acatalog/Animal_Learning_Centre.html

 

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