Animal hair allergy symptoms diagnosis and treatment what can be done

Animal hair allergy: symptoms, diagnosis and treatment – what can you do??Animal hair allergy symptoms diagnosis and treatment what can you do

The most common animal allergy is the cat allergy. The allergic reaction is triggered by allergens found in the cat's saliva, tear fluid and dander. (Source: Zinkevych/Getty Images)

Many people are allergic to animal dander, especially common to that of cats. But the fur of dogs, horses or even bird feathers can also trigger allergic reactions.

Whether dog, cat or guinea pig, pets are part of life for many people. People affected by animal hair allergy are severely restricted in their everyday life. Learn everything about animal allergies here. How to treat it.

Definition: What is an animal hair allergy??

Contrary to the name, it is not the animal hair itself that causes the allergy, but the protein-containing components such as saliva, dander, sebum, urine or sweat. These are found on the hair or feathers of the animal. Are released into the environment through them. If allergy sufferers inhale the particles, it triggers an allergic reaction in them.

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Typical symptoms of pet dander allergy

An allergy to animal dander shows symptoms similar to those of an allergy to pollen or an allergy to house dust .

The main symptoms include:

– red, watery eyes – runny nose, allergic rhinitis – itchy and tingling nose and eyes – allergic conjunctivitis – bronchitis, bronchial asthma – itchy skin rash – cough irritation

The symptoms usually appear directly after contact with the corresponding allergen. The animal does not even have to be touched or be present. Animal allergens can also be found in indoor air, leading to reactions.

Which animals cause allergies?

Cat allergies are the most widespread. Because cat allergens have very good floating properties. This means that the allergy-causing particles can also be transported to cat-free places via clothing. The allergens are found in the sebaceous, salivary and anal glands, as well as in the skin and tear fluid of the cats. After the animal has left the apartment, the cat allergens can remain in the air for several months and years.

Dog allergies, on the other hand, occur less frequently. This is because dog allergens are less aggressive. There are even some breeds of dogs that have a particularly low allergy potential. Basically, short-haired dog breeds cause allergies more often than long-haired breeds. However, there are no completely allergen-free dog breeds. In dogs, the allergens are found in hair, urine, saliva and skin. Birds can also be allergic through their feathers. Their feces cause allergic reactions in the pet owner. Often complaints are also caused by mites in the plumage of the birds. Other animals that can cause animal allergies are horses and rodents. Especially the protein molecules in guinea pig urine are aggressive. In golden hamsters, allergens are found in the fur, dander and urine. Rats and mice can even cause severe asthma.

Diagnosis: Get tested for allergy to animal hair

If sneezing attacks, red eyes and coughing occur after contact with certain animals, an animal hair allergy is suspected. This should be clarified by a dermatologist or allergist.

pet allergy symptoms diagnosis and treatment what can you do

First, the doctor takes a medical history and tries to clarify the causes of the allergic reaction in a detailed conversation. Even if there is no direct contact with an animal, an animal allergy cannot be ruled out, as cat hair allergens in particular can be widely dispersed through the air. Prick test: It is performed on the skin of the forearms. (Source: Margit Wild/imago images)

Often the doctor then performs a so-called prick test. drip solutions containing allergens onto the skin and lightly prick the area so that the liquid enters the skin. In the case of an allergy, a skin reaction occurs at the corresponding skin site.

A blood test can also confirm the suspicion of animal hair allergy. Sometimes provocation tests are also used. In these, the allergens are placed directly on the mucous membranes of the bronchial tubes or nose.

Treatment: This helps with an animal hair allergy

For pet allergy sufferers, it is helpful to avoid triggering factors. For those who do not want to do without their pet, help is available in the form of anti-allergic medications such as nasal drops or tablets, as well as asthma sprays. Some of them require a prescription, others are freely available in pharmacies. Acute allergy symptoms can also be treated with antihistamines or cortisone.

Hyposensitization is another method that is rarely used due to several risks . In this specific immunotherapy, the immune system is gradually accustomed to the allergens. Since this method is highly criticized due to its side effects, it is usually only used in cases of particularly strong animal hair allergy or unavoidable permanent contact with corresponding allergens.

Tips for animal hair allergy sufferers

If you own pets or are in regular contact with animals, there are some helpful tips to keep allergy risk low and alleviate discomfort:

– Clean your home, textiles and clothing regularly and thoroughly to eliminate possible allergens. – Use a microfilter when vacuuming – Make sure that carpets in the home are clean – Do not allow pets in the bedroom, in bed or on the couch – Refrain from using textiles made of angora, sheep's wool or alpacca wool – Refrain from smoking and nicotine

Also use an air purifier to filter allergens from the air

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– German Allergy and Asthma Association – European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation – gesundheitsinformation.de

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