Almost 62% of U.S. households have pets, and more than 161 million of these pets are cats and dogs.* Unfortunately, millions of pet owners have an allergy (allergic rhinitis) to their animals.

The proteins found in a pet’s dander, skin flakes, saliva and urine can cause an allergic reaction or aggravate asthma symptoms in some people. Also, pet hair or fur can collect pollen, mold spores and other outdoor allergens.

An allergen is a normally harmless substance that triggers the immune system to overreact in people with allergies. This response can cause allergy symptoms such as sniffling, sneezing and itchiness and watery eyes.

Contrary to popular opinion, there are no truly “hypoallergenic breeds” of dogs or cats. Allergic dander in cats and dogs is not affected by length of hair or fur, nor by the amount of shedding.

Giving up a pet in order to prevent allergy symptoms isn’t always necessary. An allergist / immunologist has specialized training and experience to accurately diagnose your symptoms and develop a treatment plan to help you or your child manage allergy symptoms and potentially keep your furry friends.

Source: aaaai.org