Are You Allergic To Your Pet
Are You Allergic to Your Pet? Breathe EasyYou Can Still Keep Your Animal Companion!
Although many people have discovered the beneficial effects of caring for a furry friend, the fact remains that roughly 15 to 20% of the population is allergic to animals. The result? Countless pet parents in unhappy, unhealthy situationsand their beloved pets are the cause! Allergen is the medical term for the actual substance that causes an allergic reaction. Touching or inhaling allergens leads to reactions in allergic individuals. Symptoms can include red, itchy, watery eyes and nose sneezing coughing scratchy or sore throat itchy skin, and most serious of all, difficulty breathing.
The most common pet allergens are proteins found in their dander , saliva, urine and sebaceous cells. Any animal can trigger an allergic response, but cats are the most common culprits. People can also become allergic to exotic pets such as ferrets, guinea pigs, birds, rabbits and rodents. There is no species or breed to which humans cannot develop allergies. Fur length and type will not affect or prevent allergies. Certain pets can be less irritating than others to those who suffer from allergies, but that is strictly on an individual basis and cannot be predicted.
Improving the Immediate Environment
Taking Care of Yourself
What Causes Allergies Later In Life
Just like childhood allergies, we do not completely understand why some people develop allergies and others dont. We do know there are complex genetic and environmental factors involved. Scientists have proposed theories about why allergies occur, including the hygiene hypothesis that attributes allergic disease in part to the use of antimicrobials and the high standard of cleanliness in modern societies.
Adults can also present with new-onset environmental allergies. In some cases, the patient may have had a tendency to develop allergies all along, but their environment changed, putting them in more contact with the triggering allergen .
What Causes You To Develop Allergies
Allergies can develop at any point in a persons life. Usually, allergies first appear early in life and become a lifelong issue. However, allergies can start unexpectedly as an adult. A family history of allergies puts you at a higher risk of developing allergies some time in your life.
Allergies develop when your body thinks a substance such as animal hair, pollen, or mold is harmful. That substance awakens your immune system to release a chemical called histamine, which leads to your allergy symptoms. As you age, your immune system may start to weaken, so your response to an allergen also weakens. Repeated exposure can also cause your immune system to overreact. If you develop allergies as an adult, you may have had slight symptoms throughout your life, but an event such as a move or a new pet triggered your immune system to respond.
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How Can An Adult Develop Shrimp Allergy
Q. Im 32 and just had my first anaphylaxis experience to shrimp. It was scary: I was wheezing and could hardly breathe. How can a grown woman suddenly develop a food allergy?
Dr. Scott Sicherer: You are not alone in developing shrimp allergy as an adult. In our U.S. prevalence studies and studies in Canada that tracked peanut, tree nut, fish, shellfish and sesame allergies, shellfish was the most common self-reported allergy.
We know food allergies are affected by the immune system, heredity, environmental factors, and the characteristics of the foods themselves. We know that many food allergies are outgrown, so there are clearly differences between children and adults. What we are missing are the exact details underlying each factor and how the factors interrelate. We only have theories to address your question.
The characteristics of food proteins likely play a role. Proteins responsible for persistent and severe allergies are more resistant to digestion and more likely to be recognized by the immune system. It may be that the childs immature gut or immune system is more prone to attack the proteins, but shrimp may be an example of a protein that is particularly capable of triggering an immune attack even for adults.
Another possibility is that some insult against the immune system, for example a viral illness, might trigger an imbalance, leading to a new attack on an innocent food protein.
Can You Get Cat And Dog Allergies Later In Life
Its important to note that most people will develop allergies as children or as young adults in their early 20s. It is rare for older adults to develop new allergies, however, its not impossible.
According to immunologist Kanao Otsu , most adult allergies will have existed in the individual as a child, however, the symptoms may have been minor.
After speaking with my allergist, I understood that I likely had pet allergies when I was young. At an early age, my body was resilient enough that I may not have noticed the symptoms. Over time the symptoms became stronger because the allergies werent addressed.
During my life, Ive moved a lot for work so Ive gone from dry arid environments to lush tropical environments. My body has worked to adjust to new areas and differing levels of allergens.
Ive also lived in stressful environments and taken high amounts of antibiotics due to the work Ive done. These may or may not have affected my allergies, however, stress, antibiotics, pregnancies, and major lifestyle changes will have a profound effect on your body, especially the immune system.
Things that may affect your immune system could include:
- Lifestyle changes
- Antibiotic use
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How To Manage An Allergy
In many cases, the most effective way of managing an allergy is to avoid the allergen that causes the reaction whenever possible.
For example, if you have a food allergy, you should check a food’s ingredients list for allergens before eating it.
There are also several medicines available to help control symptoms of allergic reactions, including:
- antihistamines these can be taken when you notice the symptoms of a reaction, or before being exposed to an allergen, to stop a reaction occurring
- tablets, capsules, nasal sprays or liquids that can be used as a short-term treatment for a blocked nose
- lotions and creams, such as moisturising creams these can reduce skin redness and itchiness
- steroid medicines sprays, drops, creams, inhalers and tablets that can help reduce redness and swelling caused by an allergic reaction
For some people with very severe allergies, a treatment called immunotherapy may be recommended.
This involves being exposed to the allergen in a controlled way over a number of years so your body gets used to it and does not react to it so severely.
The Difference Between Childhood And Adult
Allergies, of any kind, are abnormal immune system responses to things usually harmless to most people. When you develop an allergy, your immune system wrongly believes that the substance involved, called an allergen, is harming your body. In response, it produces antibodies which then release chemicals such as histamines that cause allergic symptoms to develop.
Somewhere around 50 million Americans, both kids and adults, have some type of allergy, with nasal allergies affecting more people every succeeding year, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. That makes allergies the sixth-leading cause of chronic illness in the US, according to the CDC, at a cost of more than $18 billion a year.
At Oasis Ear, Nose, and Throat in Surprise, Arizona, board-certified otolaryngologists Dr. James Osborne and Dr. Bryan Smedley see lots of patients both kids and adults come in with allergies to a wide range of substances, and reactions of varying degrees. What most people dont know, though, is that theres a difference between childhood and adult-onset allergies, so the team has put together this guide to get you in the know.
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Get Treatment To Help You Feel Better
If you suspect youre suffering from allergies for the first time, your key to relief is visiting an allergy specialist.
Adult-onset allergies can make you feel miserable, and you can spend a lot of money on over-the-counter products that may not provide sufficient relief.
Our head allergist brings more than 25 years of expertise and oversight in allergy testing and treatment. Our team at Southern ENT uses the most up-to-date research and tools to offer the latest in diagnosing and managing allergies.
We offer in-house radioallergosorbent and modified quantitative testing to get to the root of your symptoms.
Allergy Shots Or Drops
Allergy shots or drops are something Ive used for the past 5 years. The process is administered by a board-certified allergist and involves regular shots, or drops, of the things youre allergic to.
Over time, the allergen in the shots/drops is built up and your body realizes that the substances are harmless and stops reacting to them .
If youre highly allergic to your pets, but refuse to put them outside, or give them away, then allergy shots might be the best solution .
They require time and money, but over time, most people will spend less money on over-the-counter medicine like nasal sprays and antihistamine pills.
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Can Being Allergic To Pets Kill You
Anaphylaxis is a rare but life-threatening allergic reaction, usually caused by things such as insect stings or food items and even pets. It is a sudden and severe allergic reaction that occurs within minutes of exposure and requires immediate medical attention. Without treatment, anaphylaxis can get worse very quickly and lead to death within 15 minutes.
When someone comes into contact with an allergen capable of causing anaphylaxis, they might experience symptoms such as:
- Face swelling
Is It A Cold Or Allergies
If the spring and summer seasons leave you sneezing and wheezing, you might have allergies. Colds, on the other hand, are more likely to happen at any time .
Colds and allergies have similar symptoms, but colds usually last only a week or so. And although both may cause your nose and eyes to itch, colds and other viral infections can also cause a fever, aches and pains, and colored mucus. Cold symptoms often get worse as the days go on and then gradually improve, but allergies begin immediately after exposure to the offending allergen and last as long as that exposure continues.
If you’re not sure whether your symptoms are caused by allergies or a cold, talk with your doctor.
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Why Does This Happen
It isnt exactly clear why allergies might develop in adulthood.
Researchers believe that a severe allergic reaction during childhood, even a single episode of symptoms, can increase your likelihood of developing allergies as an adult when youre re-exposed to that allergen at higher levels.
In some cases, these links are easy to see and represent what is known as the atopic march. Children who have food allergies or skin conditions like eczema may develop symptoms of seasonal allergies, like sneezing, itching, and sore throats, as they get older.
Then, symptoms fade for a while. They may return in your 20s, 30s, and 40s when youre exposed to an allergy trigger. Possible adult allergy triggers can include:
- Allergen exposure when your immune system function is reduced. This happens when youre sick, pregnant, or have a condition that compromises your immune system.
- Having little exposure to an allergen as a child. You may not have been exposed to high enough levels to trigger a reaction until adulthood.
- Relocating to a new home or workplace with new allergens. This could include plants and trees that you werent exposed to before.
- Having a pet for the first time.Research suggests this can also happen after a long period of having no pets.
Why Do Allergies Develop In Adulthood
Doctors and scientists dont really know what triggers allergies, no matter when in life they develop
Allergies are caused when the body determines that a substance, whether its pollen or peanuts or dust mites, is harmful and attacks its presence. The allergen stimulates a response in the body that leads to the symptoms that come along with an allergic reaction, including sneezing, hives, and breathing problems.
While we dont really know what causes allergies, scientists have seen an increase in hay fever and other environmental allergies in recent years. There are two theories as to why this is happening:
Higher concentrations of allergens due to decreased ventilation in homes and offices and a sedentary lifestyle
Increased cleanliness and sanitation leading to decreased exposure to potential allergens
Which Allergies Are Most Common
While weve talked about allergies to things like dander and pollen, these are not the most frequent adult-onset allergies. Per the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology or ACAAI and data published in 2017 from their Annual Scientific Meeting, the most frequent adult-onset allergies are those to food. In fact, food comprised nearly 50 percent of these allergies!
Which foods triggered the most allergies? Peanuts, shellfish, and tree nuts. The study discovered that Caucasian people were less likely to have peanut and shellfish allergies compared to Hispanic, Asian, and black people of adult age .
While, back in 2008, the rate of tree nut allergies among adults was only 0.5 percent, its jumped by 260 percent. As of 2017, when the study was published, that rate was now 1.8 percent.
In addition, in 2004, only 2.5 percent of adults were allergic to shellfish. Today, that number has seen a 44-percent spike, as 3.6 percent are affected by this seafood allergy in the United States alone.
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology or AAAAI added that younger children aged one through three years old were also getting more food allergies. That said, they had fewer instances of shellfish allergies specifically.
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Is It Possible To Develop Allergies
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Is It Possible To Develop An Allergy During Pregnancy
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The human body has an immune system and an allergy is a reaction of this immune system to some allergen. The allergen might be either in the environment or food products. These allergens might be otherwise harmless to people in general. These may vary from being as general as dust, pollen, animal dander or some food products. This might be season specific and at times even location specific. This is largely due to the environmental conditions specific to a certain season or area. An exposure to these triggers off an allergic reaction which again manifests in various ways. Some of these manifestations are mere, sneezing, water from the eyes, sniffling, sore throat , to as serious as rashes and in extreme cases even anaphylactic shock. Anaphylactic shock can result only in case the allergy is left untreated and the exposure to the allergen which irritates your immune system continues undeterred. Therefore medical advice must be sought for allergies during pregnancy.
Medication can be taken once clinical advice has been sought, meanwhile symptomatic relief of rhinitis , that is watering nose, nasal decongestion and sneezing can be sought. One can use normal saline nasal drops. However it is best to avoid having an allergy problem in the first place. Any allergens that have been identified to be cause of your allergic reaction must be avoided.
Can I Develop Allergies As An Adult
After years of uninterrupted enjoyment of spring weather, or digging into that gorgeous green kiwi, youve noticed things arent quite so smooth sailing. Your eyes and throat itch, youre coughing and sneezing, and hives are popping up all over your arms.
It cant be allergies, you think. Youre a grown adult whos never had problems with allergic reactions before, so youre in the clear. Or are you?
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How Do Allergies Happen
An allergy happens when the immune system& overreacts to an allergen, treating it as an invader and trying to fight it off. This causes symptoms that can range from annoying to serious or even life-threatening.
In an attempt to protect the body, the immune system makes antibodies called immunoglobulin E . These antibodies then cause certain cells to release chemicals into the bloodstream to defend against the allergen “invader.”
It’s the release of these chemicals that causes allergic reactions. Reactions can affect the eyes, nose, throat, lungs, skin, and gastrointestinal tract. Future exposure to that same allergen will trigger this allergic response again.
Some allergies are seasonal and happen only at certain times of the year others can happen anytime someone comes in contact with an allergen. So, when a person with a food allergy eats that particular food or someone who’s allergic to dust mites is exposed to them, they will have an allergic reaction.
Can Pet Allergies Develop Later In Life
It sounds crazy, but imagine waking up one day in your 40s with allergy symptoms. You look around your house for the culprit. Maybe its the houseplants or maybe you left a window open.
Youve always kept your cat and dog in the house without a problem so you know the symptoms arent from your pets. Or are they?
If this sounds familiar, youre not alone. 10 percent of Americans are allergic to household pets and cats are 2x more likely to cause allergies than other indoor pets . Like other allergies, those caused by pets are on the rise!
Interestingly, pet allergies can develop later in life. In fact, they can develop at any time and allergies can even vanish on their own too.
In the sections below, Ill share my experience with pet allergies and the reactions I began getting at age 30. We will also discuss what can cause allergies later in life and what you can do to find relief.
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