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Pet Allergies: Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention
Pet Allergies: Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention
January 25/2023

Pet Allergies: Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, allergies affect as many as 30% of adults and 40% of children in the United States, and allergies to cats and dogs affect 10 to 20% of the world’s population. Pet allergies can cause a number of symptoms ranging from mild sneezing to rashes and even difficulty breathing. You don’t always necessarily have to remove pets completely from your home. Understanding the causes of pet allergies can help you manage risks and prevent allergic reactions.

If you are looking for a primary care physician regarding your pet allergies and live in the area, then contact Southern Maryland Medical Group to schedule a convenient appointment. We have three locations offering professional medical care in the Southern Maryland area.

Causes of Pet Allergies

Let’s begin by clearing up the common misconception that it is the fur or hair of the pet that causes allergic reactions. The length of the pet’s hair or fur is hardly relevant. People with pet allergies are actually allergic to the proteins in the animal’s saliva, urine, and dander. There are many factors that determine whether an individual will be allergic. These factors include genetics, the environment, air pollution, respiratory infections, and even diet.

To be clear, it can be possible that you do not have pet allergies but your pet causes allergies to flare up as it brings in pollen, mold, and other allergens on their fur from outside.

Individuals with allergies have oversensitive immune systems that can mistake common, sometimes harmless things, like pet dander, for dangerous invaders and attack them as if they were bacteria or viruses.

Symptoms of Pet Allergies

The severity of pet allergies can vary depending on the individual, but the general symptoms of an allergic reaction include:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny Nose
  • Itchy, Red, and/or Watery Eyes
  • Itchy Nose, Roof of Mouth, or Throat
  • Nasal Congestion
  • Postnasal Drip
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Chest Tightness and/or Pain
  • Whistling or Wheezing Sound When Breathing Out
  • Hives or Red, Raised Patches of Skin
  • Itchy Skin

Asthma and sinus infections can cause further complications.

Preventing Allergic Reactions

Restricting contact with cats and dogs is the best way to avoid allergic reactions, but this may not be enough. Pet dander, saliva, and urine left behind by a pet can also trigger allergic reactions. Frequently clean furniture, rugs, and places your pet lays on, and wash and groom the pet once a week to remove dander. Don’t forget to wash your hands and skin after contact with pets and avoid touching your face until you have washed your hands.

When to see a doctor

Some moderate symptoms of an allergic reaction are similar to those of a common cold, but if the symptoms persist for more than two weeks, then you may have an allergy. If the symptoms are severe, where your nasal passages feel completely blocked and you have difficulty sleeping, then call your doctor. If you are looking for primary care doctors in Southern Maryland, then call Southern Maryland Medical Group to schedule a convenient appointment.

Our Locations

Southern Maryland Medical Group has 3 convenient locations to provide professional medical care services in the Southern Maryland area. Call or schedule an appointment with one of our locations to get medical care help. 

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Camp Springs, MD

5801 Allentown Road, Suite 400 Camp Spring, MD 20746

Phone: 301-868- 0150

Billing Inquiries: 301-552-1270

Fax: 301-868-0243

Greenbelt, MD

7500 Greenway Center, Dr #1200 Greenbelt, MD 20770

Phone: 301-486-7580

Billing Inquiries: 301-552-1270

Fax: 301-486-7581

Riverdale, MD

6510 Kenilworth Ave, Ste 1400, Riverdale MD 20737

Phone: 301-618-0771

Billing Inquiries: 301-552-1270

Fax: 301-618-0772