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All warm-blooded pets, such as cats, dogs, birds, and rodents, have dead skin cells (animal dander) and make urine or stool. These can all trigger asthma symptoms, such as wheezing or coughing, or another allergic reaction, such as the rash of atopic dermatitis or the stuffy nose of allergic rhinitis. Substances that trigger these reactions are called allergens.
Although there is no strong evidence that reducing animal dander in your home will reduce symptoms of asthma or allergy, the following steps may be helpful.
People who are allergic to small rodents, such as mice or gerbils, can sometimes be allergic to a substance in the animal's urine as well as its dander. If you are allergic, have other family members clean the litter box. Or keep your pets outside your home in a garage or shed.
Consider finding your pet a new home if your symptoms are severe. You will have to think about how important your pets are to you versus how bad your allergy symptoms are. You will also have to think about how happy or well-behaved a pet will be if it is kept outdoors and away from you.
Even after you remove a pet, it may take many months before the change has a noticeable effect. You may also need to remove items that the pet slept on or was often around.
Adults spend one-third of their time and children spend half of their time in their bedrooms, so it is important that you take steps to prevent allergens in this room.
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Other Works Consulted
Portnoy J, et al. (2012). Environmental assessment and exposure control: A practice parameter - furry animals. Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, 108(4): 223e1-223e15. DOI: 10.1016/j.anai.2012.02.015. Accessed March 26, 2014. [Erratum in Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, 109(3): 229. http://www.annallergy.org/article/S1081-1206(12)00473-5/abstract. Accessed May 5, 2014.]
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerRohit K. Katial, MD - Allergy and Immunology
Current as ofOctober 6, 2017
Current as of:
October 6, 2017
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
& Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Rohit K. Katial, MD - Allergy and Immunology
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