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According to published studies, between 10-15% of the general population are allergic to cats and dogs. The major cat allergen is called Fel d 1, and is formed in the sebaceous glands of the skin and is present in saliva.
Unfortunately, there are no known breeds of either cats or dogs that do not produce allergenic dander. Even if you have never had an indoor pet, it is likely that you have detectable pet allergen in your home, and maybe even enough to be causing chronic respiratory symptoms. An important fact to remember is that many school classrooms have dog and cat allergens in high enough concentration to cause allergic reactions.  It has also been reported that in some school classrooms, there is as much cat and dog allergen as in homes where cats and dogs reside! Fel d 1 is deposited on the fur from sebaceous gland secretions and through saliva when cats lick themselves clean. Symptoms might include the acute onset of itchy, watery eyes, itchy nose and throat, sneezing, runny nose, and nasal congestion.
Because of constant exposure, they may react, over time, by having daily, chronic symptoms such as persistent nasal congestion, runny nose, itchy eyes, nose, and palate, as well as coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath.

It must be remembered that allergies can also be produced by exposure to proteins in pet hair, saliva, and urine. Since dander is very small, light, and sticky, it can attach itself to your or your child’s clothes and be deposited in your house unknowingly.
Most doctors know that family pets often win out and remain in the home, so the doctor can only suggest the best ways to live with the pet.If the pet does remain in the house, it is not unreasonable for the allergist to insist that the animal never come in the bedroom of the allergic sufferer.
All hard surfaces in the bedroom should be wiped with a moist cloth to remove the small and sticky animal dander which has likely adhered floors, carpets, walls, furniture, ceiling fans, lamp shades, and even ceilings.
Enter your email below to sign up for our informative Asthma and Allergy Information newsletter. If you are looking for asthma or allergy information or if you'd like to ask The Online Allergist a question on Twitter or Facebook, you can do so by clicking the logos below. When the hair or fur dries, the microscopic particles flake off, become airborne, and become readily accessible to the airway of the allergic individual. Even asthma symptoms, including coughing, wheezing, tightness of the chest, and difficulty breathing can be induced almost immediately upon exposure.

And if one has outdoor animals, their allergens will inevitably be carried into the home by those who have direct contact with the animal, especially children.
And, to make matters worse for the allergic individual, many homes where there are no indoor pets will still contain enough allergenic pet proteins to cause allergic reactions. These particles are deposited wherever the pet goes - on the bed, the couch, and in the carpet. Dander allergens are extremely small and easily become airborne, eventually depositing themselves and clinging to furniture, draperies, wall coverings, and even the walls themselves. The allergen is so small and light that it remains airborne for long periods of time, making it readily available to be breathed in and begin causing a problem. Bottom line: If you are allergic to dogs or cats, it is not advisable to own one, even if it is from a species that reportedly produces less allergen.

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