Dogs are the best friends of a human being unless he or she is allergic to them. Americans love dogs. However, pet allergies are also quite common in the country. According to a report, 15% to 30% of the population has pet allergies. Allergic reactions due to other pets are not as severe as allergic reactions to dogs. Moreover, people with asthma are quite likely to have a dog allergy. This article gives the reader some information about the symptoms, causes, risk factors, and treatments for dog allergies.
Symptoms of dog allergies in humans
Patients with dog allergies will experience several symptoms when they come in contact with a dog. These symptoms could range from mild to severe. People with low sensitivity may not experience symptoms for several days after they come in contact with dogs. Some of the symptoms of dog allergies include:
- Itching and swelling of the membrane in and around the eyes and nose
- A patient’s skin becomes red after getting licked by a dog
- Wheezing, coughing or shortness of breath within 10 to 30 minutes after exposure to dogs
- Rashes on the face, chest, and neck
- A severe attack of asthma for asthma patients
- Trouble with sleeping due to shortness of breath
- Pressure and pain in the face
- Nasal congestion
Causes of dog allergies in human beings
The proteins that a dog secretes generally end up in their dead skin or dander, urine, and saliva. When an allergic person comes in contact with the dog, their immune system starts to react abnormally to these harmless proteins secreted by the dog. You should also remember that different breeds of dogs produce different dander. Thus, it is possible that an individual is only allergic to a specific breed of dogs. Also, the dander could get into various surfaces like the carpet, clothing, walls or even couch cushions. In this way, an allergic person could come in contact with a canine pet, due to which they may exhibit symptoms of dog allergies. Moreover, the dander could remain in the air for an extended duration of time and find its way into an allergic person’s lungs and eyes.
Risk factors of dog allergies
Dog allergies are quite common in the country. People with a family history of asthma are prone to dog allergies. People who are exposed to dogs from a young age are more likely to avoid dog allergies as compared to individuals who haven’t had any exposure to dogs. A few studies have also found that the children who live with dogs in the first year of their life are more resistant to dog allergies than the kids who haven’t lived with them.
Complications due to dog allergies
- Sinus infection: One of the most common symptoms of dog allergies is the inflammation of the tissues in your nasal passages. This inflammation could obstruct the connection between the nasal passages and sinuses. Due to this, one can face bacterial infections such as sinusitis.
- Asthma: People who have asthma are more likely to have dog allergies. Individuals who have both asthma and dog allergies struggle with managing the symptoms of asthma. They can get severe asthma attacks anytime and might need medical attention or emergency care.
When should one see a doctor?
The symptoms and signs of dog allergies symptoms are quite similar to those of common cold. Thus, it is difficult to identify this condition in the first place. If the symptoms stay for more than a couple of weeks, then there are high chances that you are allergic to dogs. If the symptoms of dog allergies keep getting worse, and you face problems like a blocked nose, breathing difficulties, and sleepless nights, then you should call your doctor without wasting any time. You can also consider emergency care if you are facing shortness of breath even when you aren’t indulging in any physical activity.
Treatment for dog allergies
When you visit a doctor to get relief from dog allergies, they might recommend the following treatment plans for your condition:
- Medications: The doctor might prescribe some medications that will help to reduce the symptoms of the dog allergy. These medicines can provide quick relief from the signs of this condition.
- Saline water cleanses: Some people who suffer from dog allergies might find helpful to rinse their nasal passages with saline water.
- Lifestyle changes: If you have a canine pet, your doctor may recommend keeping the dog outside your house or setting up dog-free zones. In this way, you can avoid the worst parts of this condition.
Finally, if you are thinking of getting a dog home for companionship, then you must first make sure that you don’t have a dog allergy. Additionally, it is recommended that asthma patients should avoid adopting dogs.