Pets and animals, as well as asthma
Many people believe that their asthma is caused by pet hair. However, if your pets trigger your asthma, you are likely allergic to proteins in the animal’s skin (dander), saliva and urine, or fine particles of bird feathers called ‘feather dust.’
Asthma symptoms can worsen by touching or inhaling allergens.
Many pets can trigger allergy symptoms, including cats, dogs, horses, rabbits, mice, gerbils, and birds. One type of animal might trigger allergic reactions, but you may be allergic to several.
Allergies in animals can occur at any age. It could now be even if your pet were not allergic when you were younger.
How can you tell if animals are triggering your asthma
People with allergies to animals usually react quickly, often in a matter of minutes. Some people may not feel symptoms until hours later.
Asthma symptoms can also be present. You might experience itchy eyes and nose, sneezing, and coughing.
Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can cause breathing difficulties and nausea.
Take time away from your pet and see if you feel more relaxed
You may have an allergy to your pet if your asthma symptoms improve after you’ve been away from them, such as on holiday.
Moving your pet to another room or outside can not relieve asthma symptoms. The allergens may remain in your carpet, furniture, and clothes.
Even if your pet is rehomed, symptoms may persist for some time.
You can only confirm that you have an allergy to animals by asking your doctor for a skin test or blood test. Do not buy home allergy testing kits – they may not be reliable.
If you develop asthma symptoms, you should consult your veterinarian immediately
Take your preventive medicines as directed. This will make it less likely you’ll get asthma attacks.
Seek out your GP or an asthma nurse immediately. Let them know that you suspect your symptoms may be related to your pet. Your doctor can review your written asthma plan to ensure your asthma is well controlled.
Please keep your pets as far outside as possible or confine them to a specific area of your home, preferably without carpeting. Keep them out of your bedroom.
Ask someone without allergies to bathe or groom your pet. This could help reduce their allergen shedding.
Wash your pet’s toys and bedding and all soft furnishings.
If your pet is housed in a cage, clean it often. Ask someone without allergies to clean it and take it outside. Any bedding or litter with urine on it should be replaced. As this can trigger asthma symptoms, avoiding using sawdust in the cage is best.
Consider an air filter and vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. These are sometimes helpful in managing pet allergies. However, the evidence is still unclear.
Use fans and air conditioning in rooms you spend most of your time in or leave windows open whenever possible.
Dust with a damp cloth every other day. This will keep pet dander at a minimum.
Has an allergy test been done before you decided to rehome your pet? You may also be experiencing asthma symptoms from smoking, dust, or pollen.
If you are visiting someone with a pet
Take an antihistamine an hour before visiting someone with pets or coming into contact with pet owners. The allergens could be in their clothes, car, or home.
Ask pet owners not to vacuum or dust before arriving. This will prevent allergens from being emitted into the atmosphere.
Talk to your doctor or an asthma nurse to discuss using a regular spray on your nose to control allergy symptoms such as runny, itchy skin.
You might be thinking of getting a pet
Consider whether you have other allergies. People who do are more likely than others to develop them.
Set up a trial run and spend time in a home where you are interested in getting a pet. Your reliever inhaler should be with you.
You could borrow it for a few days to test your reaction to the animal being in your home. You can also call your local shelter to ask if anyone has a pet like the one you are looking for.
Hypoallergenic pets and asthma
Hypoallergenic is a term that refers to something that is relatively unlikely to cause an allergic reaction.
People believe sure pets, including certain breeds and types of dogs and cats, are hypoallergenic and safe for people with asthma. However, research has shown that there is no genuinely allergenic pet.
Asthma, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and amphibians
People with asthma may keep scaley animals like fish, turtles, or lizards as pets. They don’t shed skin flakes and are less likely than other animals to cause an allergic reaction.
Keep in mind that fish can trigger asthma symptoms in some people. This could be due to allergens in their diet or algae growing in their aquarium.
You can ask your doctor if a reptile, amphibian, or another animal could cause your asthma symptoms.
Other pet options for children with asthma
Here are some ways your children can feel connected to animals if they don’t want to keep one.
Sponsor an Animal Through a Zoo, Safari Park, or Charity Scheme.
Give your child an interactive pet like a Furby, Little Live Pet, or animal app. Children can feel as though they are caring for an animal, but without having to trigger asthma symptoms.
Petting farms and zoos
Some people are allergic to or sensitive to farm animals such as cows, sheep, and chickens. They also are allergic to small animals found in petting gardens, such as guinea pigs and rabbits.
Children with asthma or other medical conditions may find this difficult to accept. However, schools must ensure that children can participate in school trips and parties at farms or petting zoos.
When your child visits a farm, petting zoo, or another animal-related place, tell the adults about asthma.
Your child should always have their inhaler, usually blue, with them. If the school has an emergency inhaler, an adult accompanying them on the trip should also bring it.
You may need to give your child an antihistamine before they go. Please avoid contact with animals and wash your hands after touching them.