All warm-blooded pets, such as cats, dogs, birds, and rodents, have
dead skin cells (animal dander) and make urine or stool.
These can all trigger asthma symptoms, such as wheezing or coughing, or another
allergic reaction, such as the rash of
atopic dermatitis or the stuffy nose of
allergic rhinitis. Substances that trigger these
reactions are called
Although there is no strong evidence that reducing animal dander in
your home will reduce symptoms of asthma or allergy, the following steps may be
People who are allergic to small rodents, such as mice or gerbils,
can sometimes be allergic to a substance in the animal's urine as well as its
dander. If you are allergic, have other family members clean the litter box. Or
keep your pets outside your home in a garage or shed.
Consider finding your pet a new home if your symptoms are severe. You
will have to think about how important your pets are to you versus how bad your
allergy symptoms are. You will also have to think about how happy or well-behaved
a pet will be if it is kept outdoors and away from you.
Even after you remove a pet, it may take many months before the
change has a noticeable effect. You may also need to remove items that the pet
slept on or was often around.
Adults spend one-third of their time and children spend half
of their time in their bedrooms, so it is important that you take steps to prevent
allergens in this room.
December 20, 2011
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Rohit K Katial, MD - Allergy and Immunology
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