More than half of U.S. households include a member of the dog or cat family. Yet, millions of people suffer from pet allergies. Take this quiz to test your knowledge about popular myths as well as coping strategies related to pet allergies.
None of the above: While some breeds are labeled “hypoallergenic”, no dog is 100% free from the allergens that can cause pet allergy. However, some people with pet allergy do better with a dog that has short hair or sheds less.
False: Pet allergies are caused by an allergen found on the pet’s skin (dander), saliva or urine.
True: Pet allergy symptoms can include sneezing, coughing, runny nose, scratchy throat or mouth, or itchy, red or watering eyes. For some people with allergic asthma, being around a pet can trigger wheezing or difficulty breathing.
False: That is rare. Pet allergies are most common among dogs, cats, rodents and other animals with fur.
True: Pet allergens can collect on upholstered furniture, carpet, linens and clothing. For those with mild pet allergy, regular cleaning can help reduce symptoms. Other tips include replacing carpeting with hardwood floors, keeping pets out of bedrooms, and use of HEPA air purifiers and filtering products.
True: Allergic rhinitis is the medical term for a group of allergies that typically cause symptoms in the nose, throat, eyes, ears, skin and roof of the mouth. There are two types of allergic rhinitis. Seasonal allergic rhinitis, often referred to as hay fever, is typically caused by outdoor allergens such as pollen from trees, grasses and weeds. Perennial allergic rhinitis occurs year-round. It is usually triggered by allergens such as pet dander or dust mites.
Keep your pets outdoors: While keeping animals outside may make a slight improvement, pet dander will eventually find its way indoors on clothing or shoes.
False: Allergy shots therapy (immunotherapy) has a proven track record as an effective form of long term treatment. Talk to your allergist / immunologist about whether this treatment approach is right for you.