Can animal dander aggravate asthma?

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Animal dander is produced by all furred and feathered animals. With this in mind, any type of animal dander can put individuals with asthma at high risk for poor control of the condition if they are highly sensitive.

It is important to note that about 30% of asthmatic individuals are allergic to cats or dogs. While most link the asthma-associated symptoms with hair, it is essentially the dander responsible for the issues.

What is animal dander?

Even though it is commonly believed that it is the hair from pets which triggers allergic reactions that leads to asthma symptoms and short-haired animals are less allergic, both are simply myths. Actually, it is the dander or the proteins in urine, skin flakes, feces, hair and saliva that triggers the asthma symptoms.

Remember that these proteins are small-sized particles that are spread through the air and land on a body part that comes in contact with the mouth or nose or the particles are directly inhaled into the lungs. The symptoms are noticed right away or might not develop after 8-12 hours.

What are the indications of pet allergy?

Animal dander
Any type of animal dander can put individuals with asthma at high risk for poor control of the condition if they are highly sensitive.

The indications of asthma typically include the usual asthma symptoms upon exposure such as the following:

An individual is likely to experience these symptoms if animal dander enters the lungs. Nevertheless, the individual should be aware of other symptoms as well. If an individual is not severely sensitive or not exposed to substantial amounts of animal dander, a reaction can manifest days later which makes it more difficult to make a connection to animal exposure to the symptoms.

Is the type of pet an issue?

Always bear in mind that all pets shed a certain amount of allergen producing dander every week. With this in mind, there are no so-called “hypoallergenic” pets but some generate minimal allergen than others and might be better options for those who are eager to keep a pet.

Any pet that has fur will carry animal dander around the house and on the owners if they hop on their laps. It is interesting to note that it is simply a myth that it is the fur that triggers issues among asthmatic individuals, but long-haired animals are expected to gather and transport dander compared to those that have shorter hair.

Ideal treatment

The suitable treatment is to avoid exposure altogether. This might not always be optimal or possible however.

If a close friend of an individual has an animal that he/she is allergic to, avoiding exposure might not be possible. Take note that this is an issue for concern among children who could not engage in certain activities which results to social stigma or unhappiness since they feel different. It is best to consult a doctor regarding medications that can be taken beforehand planned exposures.

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