Pet allergy

 
Contributed by : Ravina Sewani   
Pet allergy

Children love pets. But sometimes, the pet dander may cause allergies in children.

  • Pet allergy is body’s immune response against animal’s dander (dead skin in animal fur), animal’s saliva, or animal’s urine. The body perceives all of these as a threat and triggers an allergic reaction in your child.
  • A pet with a lot of fur or feathers on its body holds a greater chance of triggering an allergic reaction in your child.
  • If your child has been diagnosed of pet allergy by your child’s paediatrician, it is better to not own a pet. If your child loves animals, you can take him/her visit your friend’s or relative’s pets once in a while.
  • If your child is allergic to other things as well, then your child may show immediate symptoms after coming in contact with some animals.
  • Pet allergies are known to self-resolve after avoiding animals for some time. But if this is not the case, it is better to not own pets at all.
  • Pet allergens are airborne so use an air filter in your house to keep your child from contacting these allergens. Keep the carpets at the minimum in your house.
  • Keep your pet’s belongings and cage clean and free of fur.
  • Keeping pets outdoor might help a bit but does not solve the problem entirely.
  • Treatments include prescription of antihistamines and nasal sprays by your child’s paediatrician.


Symptoms:

  • Itching
  • Rashes
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Swelling of the lips or tongue or face
  • Throat constriction
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Allergies may sometimes also cause a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis which constricts the airway passage and requires immediate medical attention.


Diagnosis:

  • Always get your child diagnosed by a healthcare expert and never on your own. Never self-assume that your child has peanut allergy. Commercial home test kits for self-diagnosis are not recommended as they may not be of the required standards.
  • Your child’s paediatrician may recommend that your child undertake tests like skin prick test, blood test or food/drug challenge. It is important that these tests are performed under medical supervision as these tests might trigger an allergic reaction. Along with these tests, your child’s paediatrician will also examine your child's medical/family history, existing conditions like asthma and eczema.



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