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Pet Allergy Singapore

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Pet Allergy Singapore

Pets are great fun. Apart from being fantastic companions, they also bring joy and entertainment to your entire family. However, you make an unpleasant discovery – you seem to be allergic to your new furry bundle of joy. 

This is not uncommon at all actually. Approximately, 10 million people are allergic to pets! You can still have a pet with allergies; it all comes down to allergy management.

What is a Pet Allergy?

A pet allergy is any reaction that you have to the animal’s dander, skin, urine, or saliva. Most of the time it’s the dead skin cells that trigger the pet allergy.

While any pet can be a potential source of allergy, dogs and cats are the usual culprits. You can be exposed to the proteins via inhalation or direct skin contact.

As with most allergies, your immune system’s reaction to the animal protein and allergic reactions are triggered.

Pet allergies can exacerbate medical conditions like hives, rhinitis, eczema, and asthma. As such, pet allergies are definitely not to be taken lightly.

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Does the type of dog or cat make a difference when it comes to Pet Allergies?

A common misconception is that if you get a dog or cat with shorter hair, you might be able to escape the allergic symptoms. You may have also heard about hypoallergenic cats and dogs; these pets are said to not trigger allergic responses. However, the truth is no dog or cat is totally hypoallergenic. Even though they claim that they are minimal shedders, you still may come in contact with their skin cells, fur, and bodily fluids. A hypoallergenic pet does not exist!

What are symptoms to be on the lookout for with Pet Allergies?

Pet allergy symptoms may occur as soon as you have direct contact with a pet or even if you are in the same room with them. Other times, the allergic reaction is a bit delayed due to the animal’s fur on your clothing or on the furniture after it has left the room. Pet dander/shed particles may still be lingering in the air.

Pet allergy symptoms can be divided into two categories: skin-related symptoms and those that affect our nasal passages and lungs. 

  • Allergic dermatitis
    • Since pet allergies trigger an immune system reaction, there may be some skin inflammation. 
  • Eczema
    • This is a condition that causes the skin to become inflamed and blistered
  • Itchy skin
  • Hives
    • These are red, raised patches that appear on the skin.

Nasal Symptoms 

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Red, itchy, or watery eyes
  • Itchy throat, nose, and the roof of the mouth
  • Postnasal drip
  • Nasal congestion
  • Persistent cough
  • Inability to sleep straight through the night
  • Facial pain and/or pressure
  • Puffy eyes
  • Bluish skin under the eyes
  • Frequently rubbing of the nose

Asthmatic Symptoms

  • Pain or tightness in the chest
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Insomnia due to the above-mentioned symptoms

Picture of a puppy

What can I do to keep my Pet Allergies in check?

The good news is that there is a lot that you can do to minimize your pet allergy symptoms. You would be surprised how much difference these measures can make.

  • Find a non-furry pet.If you are flexible and are not partial to a dog or cat, maybe you should explore your options.
  • Avoid hugging or kissing your pet if you discover that you are having an allergic reaction.
  • Ventilate your home. Open your windows and let fresh air in if you can.
  • Keep your pets off your furniture- remember if they spend a lot of time on your couches and chairs, they will be leaving animal dander behind.
  • Keep your pets from invading your bedroom. Remember that symptoms can sometimes disrupt your sleep. Don’t sleep with your pet! 
  • Seek help regarding grooming. Find someone who does not have a pet allergy to handle baths and brushing. This is recommended at least once a week.
  • Give up your carpets, rugs, and upholstered furniture. These items are pet dander traps.
  • Use a micro-filter bagged vacuum when you are cleaning. This type of vacuum prevents the offending allergens from escaping into the air.
  • Consider acquiring HEPA air filters to remove unwanted allergic particles from the air.

How do you deal with pet allergies?

Since staying away from your pet is not really an option, you should definitely look into what treatments are best for you.

Your first step would be to schedule a consultation with your doctor. A proper diagnosis is required.

This is where your doctor will recommend testing. Pet allergies are usually diagnosed using 2 tests: An allergy skin test or blood test. The allergy skin test works by exposing you to animal protein and then observing you for an allergic reaction. The blood test looks for antibodies caused by allergens.

What are other treatment options in Singapore for pet allergies?

A more long-term solution is sublingual immunotherapy.

Sublingual immunotherapy is a treatment that works by introducing small doses of an allergen to increase tolerance and immunity. Eventually, allergic symptoms are significantly reduced. 

The goal is to build an immunity where you are barely affected by your allergen.

This option is highly recommended for pet owners since you will have your pet around you for extended periods of time.

If you suspect that you may be allergic to your pet, we encourage you to schedule an appointment so that you can get the help you need and enjoy happy days with your pet!

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