June is National Pet Adoption Month. We wanted to share some information on the topic of pet allergies with our readers so you know that being allergic doesn’t necessarily mean you have to live without pets, relegate it to the back yard, give it away, or worse, give it back to a shelter. Here are some facts that will help you live happily with your pets while coping with your pet allergy.
Are you certain it is a pet allergy?
Watery eyes, runny nose, general respiratory congestion, wheezing and coughing, and skin rash are the general symptoms. However, before deciding to part from your pet, there are various options that an allergist will be able to offer you.
First, you must determine if it is in fact a pet allergy. Symptoms are similar to those experienced by seasonal allergies, so you could just be reacting to the peak of pollen season, or to a new set of plants in your neighbor’s garden or neighborhood.
Second, initiate a treatment. FCAAC allergist, Dr. Zevy Landman, suggests treatment can range anywhere from over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants, to immunotherapy (which is still the most effective option).
Third, some lifestyle changes are highly recommended: use HEPA filters for air conditioning and vacuum cleaners at home, use hypo-allergenic pillow covers and mattresses wash your personal bedding and your pet’s weekly at the highest temperature possible. Furthermore, some extra precautions should be taken with your pet’s grooming for optimal results: give your pet a weekly shampoo with a dander-reducing product, don’t allow your pet to get on beds or furniture, and keep litter boxes away from ac vents to prevent circulation of dander throughout the house.
My dog is hypo-allergenic. TRUE or FALSE?
FALSE: there’s no such thing as hypoallergenic pets. There are some breeds that produce significantly less amount of the offending protein in their dander, therefore causing less allergic reactions in people and making them appear “hypoallergenic”.
There is a difference between male and female pets. TRUE OR FALSE?
TRUE: it is proven that males produce more allergens than females; intact males produce more than neutered males and, with no proven explanation, dark cats produce more than light-colored ones.
If we have enticed you to adopt a pet, you may visit www.petfinder.com for listings on pets currently available for adoption.
From furry friends to pesky foes, at FCAAC we help our patients keep their allergies to insect bites, venom and/or pesticides under control. This topic was particularly of interest to us these past two weeks as there were various aerial fumigation done throughout South Florida to tackle the surplus of mosquitoes this rainy season.
Mosquitoes can be carriers of deadly diseases like the West Nile, Dengue Fever or Malaria. They attack normally at dawn and dusk and the best way to avoid them is to wear EPA-approved insect repellents. If you think you are a magnet for mosquitoes, it might not be a coincidence. You may be producing higher levels of the substances these critters are more drawn to like carbon dioxide and lactic acid.
To enjoy a mosquito-free evening picnic at the park there’s news of a free phone App (IOs and Android friendly) coming out soon called, Mosquito Buster App that emits high-frequency noise that repels mosquitoes and cannot be heard by a human ear. We’ll have to wait until it hits the market to try this our ourselves!
Fire ants, bees, wasps and yellow jackets inject their venom and can cause anaphylactic reactions to highly allergic individuals. These are not only opportunistic enough to build their nests next to flower pots, gazebo roofs and fruit plants, but also generally attack in swarms when they feel disturbed.
When sending your kids to outdoors sports or summer camps it is highly recommended you visit the allergist first; this will allow you to be equipped with a proper set of precautions given by your doctor, and avoid worrisome visits to the ER.