Nearly half of U.S. households have a dog or cat. Pets provide companionship, security and a sense of comfort. Children often learn responsibility and lessons about life and death from pets. However, people with allergies should be cautious in deciding what type of pet they can safely bring into their home.
An estimated 10 percent of the population may be allergic to animals. A higher rate of 20 to 30 percent of individuals with asthma have pet allergy symptoms.
Additional treatments for allergies to pets are include immunotherapy (allergy shots), steroidal and antihistamine nose sprays and antihistamine pills.
A combination of approaches medical control of symptoms, good housecleaning methods, and immunotherapy is most likely to succeed in allowing an allergic person to live with pets.
It is important to find an allergist who understands your commitment to living with your pet. Find a doctor who is willing to understand and listen to you - fully. Make sure you are offered a series of choices. Do not choose a doctor who gives you an ultimatum to get rid of your companion.
"On a personal note - I adopted a pet who I later found out I was allergic to (by blood IgE and skin prick tests) and was able to accommodate her in my life while maintaining my own health. I like other pet owners share and enjoy the close relationship that humans have with their companions In certain unfortunate situations the pet may have to be removed from the home when a family member's health is jeopardized by the presence of a pet. However all medical and immunotherapy options ought to be exhausted before you have to give up your best friend." -Dr. Varghese