Why Does My Pet Make Me Sneeze?

Why Does My Pet Make Me Sneeze?

All dogs have allergens in their skin, saliva, and pee. No matter how long or short their hair, or what type of breed they are, no dog is truly “hypoallergenic.”

It’s a common allergen that gets attached to your pet’s hair. Then the hair falls out and lands on you, your clothes, or your furniture. Long-haired pooches are no more likely to trigger an allergy than their buddies with short ‘dos. Some breeds, like the Portuguese water dog, shed less. That may mean fewer sneezes and sniffles.

The American Kennel Club lists several breeds that have “non-shedding coats.” They might drop a strand here or there, but they don’t shed an undercoat. That’s why they give off less dander. Who made the list? The Bedlington terrier, bichon frise, Chinese crested, Irish water spaniel, Kerry blue terrier, Maltese, poodle, Portuguese water dog (shown here), schnauzer, soft-coated wheaten terrier, and Xoloitzcuintli (Mexican hairless dog).

These specific mixes are popular. One example is the labradoodle. This Labrador/poodle mix is said to be a low-dander dog, although the AKC warns that there’s no guarantee these pups will have poodle-like coats.

When it comes to being allergenic, a dog’s individual features matter more than its breed. For example, canines with dandruff give off more allergens. Breeds more likely to have hereditary dandruff problems include cocker spaniels, springer spaniels, basset hounds, West Highland white terriers, dachshunds, Labrador and golden retrievers (shown here), and German shepherds.

If you’re sneezing, it might not be your dog. Dust mites, a major allergen for people, thrive in places where your four-legged friend spends the most time. It’s a good idea to replace dog beds that are over a year old, especially if your home doesn’t have central air or if your canine’s bed is in the basement.

Feline saliva carries strong allergens. As with dogs, hair length isn’t the issue. Some cat breeds — Siberian and Russian blue cats — are thought to be less allergenic. But there’s no such thing as a kitty that can’t trigger a response if you’re prone to them already.

If you’re allergic to a pet, your symptoms are similar to most allergies:

Skin or blood tests called RAST (radioallergosorbent test) may help narrow down the cause of your allergies. It’s good to get tested, because you may be allergic to pollen or mold on the animal and not your furry friend. But the test may not be conclusive.

Even when someone in your home is allergic, about 25% of families keep their pet. If Fluffy or Fido makes you sneeze, you might:

 

It’s a good idea to see how your kid reacts to the kind of animal you’re thinking of getting. Take her to visit a home that has that kind of critter, and let her play with it. That’s no guarantee she won’t eventually get allergies, but it’ll give you an idea. If you know your child is allergic but you plan to get a pet anyway, limit your child’s time with it at first, and watch for reactions.

Allergies and asthma are no small problem. If your child has serious allergies, the only answer may be to find the pet a new home. Even then, it could take 6 months or more to clear your home of pet allergens.

If you or someone in your family is among the 10% of people allergic to dogs, consider getting a pet that has no fur or feathers. Try a turtle, hermit crab, fish, or snake. Just know that these critters also pose health risks. Exotic pets may carry salmonella or other diseases, and pet turtles have been linked to salmonella outbreaks.

Sources
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Medically Reviewed on 05/19/2018

Reviewed by Amy

Flowers, DVM on May 19, 2018

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SOURCES:

American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology web site.

American Kennel Club web site.

Heutelbeck, A. Journal of Toxicology & Environmental Health, 2008.

Hodson, T. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, April 1999.

Lipton, L. Psychiatric News, Feb. 2, 2001.

Merck Veterinary Manual web site.

Reviewed by Amy

Flowers, DVM on May 19, 2018

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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Why Does My Pet Make Me Sneeze?

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What Do You Know About Children’s Allergies?

What Do You Know About Children’s Allergies?

It causes fever

It causes itchy mouth

It’s often caused by hay

Hay fever can give you symptoms like runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, and an itchy mouth and throat. But it won’t cause a fever. And while lots of plants can trigger it, like pollen from trees and weeds, hay isn’t usually one of them.

Where does the name come from? People used to think that the symptoms were brought on by the smell of new-cut hay in the summer. They were wrong, but the name stuck.

Algernons

Allergens

Immunoids

Anything that can trigger allergies — from pollen to peanuts — is an allergen. They’re not usually harmful to most people. But if your kid has an allergy, his body overreacts and attacks these substances as if they were dangerous germs. All the symptoms of allergies, like itchy hives, sneezing, and an upset stomach, are the body’s attempts to “protect” itself from the allergen.

Raccoon eyes

Shin splints

Chilblains

“Allergic shiners” is another name for these dark, bluish rings under the eyes. They’re harmless and don’t hurt, but they can take parents by surprise. What causes them? When your kid is stuffed up with allergies, fluids build up around the eyes, making them puffy and discolored. They don’t need any special treatment, and they’ll fade along with other symptoms when you get your child’s allergies under control.

By the time they’re teens

As adults

Kids don’t outgrow them

Allergies to those foods tend to fade by the time children are 16. But some food allergies don’t usually go away, like those to nuts and shellfish. For example, only 1 in 10 children who are allergic to tree nuts, like almonds, outgrow it.

Hair

Poop

Skin flakes

Dander, another way to say skin flakes, can be the trigger of your kid’s allergy to the family dog or cat. So can the animal’s pee or saliva. That said, try to keep your child away from pet hair, since pet allergens can stick to it — and so can other triggers, like pollen and mold from outside.

Eczema

Roseola

Shingles

Atopic dermatitis is the most common type of eczema, and babies and young kids often get it. When they have contact with a trigger — like pollen, mold, or a specific food — these kids break out in patches of red, dry, itchy skin. Moisturizers and creams with medication, like steroids, can help ease the swelling and itch.

In his teens

Only after age 3

Around 4 to 6 months old

Doctors used to say that kids shouldn’t eat foods with nuts until after age 1 at the earliest, but that delay actually seemed to increase  the chances of nut allergies. Now experts suggest that babies try foods with nuts early, after they’ve started on other solid foods. Just remember that babies can’t eat whole nuts since they’re a choking risk.

A parent with allergies

Cats or dogs in the home

Both

If your kids get allergies, don’t assume it’s the fault of the family pet. Research shows that babies who live in homes with a cat or dog seem to have lower  odds of pet allergies than babies who don’t.

But allergic problems do run in families. So if you have them, your kids are more likely to have them, too. The specific trigger, though, like pollen or dust mites, will probably be different.  

Hacking cough

Itchy eyes

Aches and pains

Allergies and colds share a lot of symptoms, like stuffy nose, sneezing, and cough. But there are ways to tell them apart. Itchiness is typical of allergies rather than colds. Allergies are likely to cause thin, clear mucus, while colds cause thick, yellowish mucus. And if symptoms last more than 2 weeks, it’s more likely to be allergies than a cold.

Antihistamines

Histamine boosters

Statins

During an allergic reaction, the body releases a chemical called histamine, which causes itching, swelling, and other symptoms. Antihistamines help block the effects. Other medicines — both over-the-counter and prescription — can help kids with allergies too, like cromolyn and steroid nose sprays. But before your child starts using any medication, always check with his doctor.

Podiatric ichthyologist

Pediatric immunologist

Either one

Pediatric allergists and immunologists are doctors who are experts at treating kids with allergies. They can help you figure out the cause of your child’s allergies and how to treat them — so she’ll breathe easier and feel better. Allergists can also help reduce her reaction to allergens with a treatment called immunology, or allergy shots.

Your Score:

You correctly answered out of questions.

Boom! You nailed this quiz. Consider yourself an honorary allergist. 

Pretty good. You know some basics, but you’re not an allergy expert yet. Study up and try again.

Eh, not so hot. Read up on the basics and take this quiz again.

Sources
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Reviewed by Hansa

D.

Bhargava, MD on January 22, 2018

Medically Reviewed on January 22, 2018

Reviewed by Hansa

D.

Bhargava, MD on
January 22, 2018

IMAGE PROVIDED BY:

Thinkstock

 

Mayo Clinic: “Hay Fever,” “Likelihood of Child Outgrowing Food Allergy Depends of Type, Severity of Allergy,” “Cold or Allergy: Which Is It?” “Learning About Allergies,” “Food Allergy vs. Food Intolerance: What’s the Difference?”

American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology: “Rhinitis (Hay Fever),” “Allergen,” “Skin Allergy,” “Preventing Allergies: What You Should Know About Your Baby’s Nutrition,” “Prevention of Allergies and Asthma in Children,” “Celiac Disease, Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, and Food Allergy: How Are They Different?”

American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: “Children & Allergies,” “Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis).”

Bergmann, K. History of Allergy, Karger, 2014.

KidsHealth: “Food Allergies,” “All About Allergies.”

UpToDate: “Patient Education: Allergic Rhinitis (Seasonal Allergies) (Beyond the Basics).”

Archives of Disease in Childhood: “Optimal Management of Allergic Rhinitis.”

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: “Pet Allergy: Are You Allergic to Dogs or Cats?”

Healthy Children: “Peanut Allergies: What You Should Know About the Latest Research & Guidelines,” “Allergy Medicine for Children,” “What is a Pediatric Allergist/Immunologist?”

This tool does not provide medical advice.
See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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What Do You Know About Children’s Allergies?

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