Household pets are often responsible for many childhood allergies.
Common pets like cats, dogs, hamsters, and birds shed dander, fur, saliva, and droppings which contain proteins that act as allergens and trigger reactions in allergy-prone children.
Furry pets are usually the most allergenic. Non-shedding animals like reptiles, fish, and amphibians rarely cause allergies.
How They Cause Allergies
Allergic children have sensitive immune systems. The chances are higher for a child to be allergy-prone when either or both parents have allergies. When an allergic child comes into contact with allergens, their immune system reacts against it by producing histamines; these cause mild or severe reactions in the body.
The allergy may manifest as skin rashes and hives, nasal allergies like wheezing, coughing, sneezing, or cause watery eyes.
When the household has a pet, the child is constantly exposed to animal dander, droppings, and saliva in the indoor environment. Animals that spend time outdoors can also bring in other types of allergens like pollen and mold in their fur. In certain cases, children aren’t allergic to the animal itself. Instead, it is outside allergens that the animal’s fur attracts, which triggers the allergy.
How to Handle Pet Allergies
If your child is continuously suffering from allergic symptoms, it is likely that your pet is the cause of the problem. Reactions can happen even if your child doesn’t interact with the pet; this is because the allergens are usually present in the indoor environment where your child spends time. Allergen levels in your house can linger and trigger allergies for a long time even if the animal is away.
Allergists can identify the cause of your child’s allergies by conducting suitable tests. These tests introduce small amounts of different allergens into your child’s skin and observe reactions and can help the allergist analyze whether your child’s allergy is caused by the pet or by something else.