Pet Related Allergies | Everything You Need To Know
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The word allergy comes from the German word allergie, invented by Austrian pediatrician Clemens von Pirquet in 1906. He combined the Greek words allos, meaning “other, different, or strange” and ergon, meaning “activity.” He coined this new term in an effort to explain the antibody-antigen interaction that we know it today.
According to some statistics, more than 200 million people are suffering from allergies related to asthma throughout the entire world.
Estimated food allergy among US adults is 9.2% or more than 26 million people! On the other hand, 11.6% of US children suffer from skin allergies, 10% from respiratory allergies, 8.4% from hay fever, and 5.4% from food allergies. Also, 10% of the entire human population is allergic to pets and 5% to an insect bite.
Types of Pet Related Allergies
There are several types of allergic reactions – type I, type II, type III, and type IV hypersensitivity. Type I reactions are usually anaphylactic or immediate. They include allergies caused by pollen, food, and drugs.
Type II reactions involve antibodies called Immunoglobulin G and Immunoglobulin M, which bind and destroy the cells. We can observe them after the body starts to reject a new organ transplant.
Type III allergies are immune complex-mediated reactions. One example of this is systematic Lupus Erythematosus.
Last but not least, T-cell lymphocytes cause type IV allergies. For this hypersensitivity, it takes hours or days to show the first signs of a reaction.
Most Common Symptoms
Allergy symptoms may vary from person to person, but there are several clear signs that can be visible in almost every human. You have to pay attention to your eyes, ears, nose, sinuses, skin, and airways to be able to determine whether your body is reacting to something.
For example, an allergic reaction can be manifested as redness and itching of the conjunctiva, feeling fullness, and sometimes even pain in your ears. There is almost always swelling of the nasal mucosa, accompanied by sinus pain.
Some allergies may appear on the skin through rashes like hives and eczema. In more severe cases, allergies may even cause asthma or other breathing difficulties.
Most Common Allergies
As we already mentioned, more than 26 million people are suffering from food allergies, among which shellfish (7.2 million), milk (4.7 million), peanuts (4.5 million), tree nuts (3 million), and finfish (2.2 million) are the most common food allergens.
Another common type of allergy is a drug allergy. Penicillin, aspirin, and sulfonamides are the reason for more than 80% of allergic drug reactions. One in ten people has an allergic reaction to penicillin, making it the biggest allergen in medicine.
Next, we have an insect allergy, which is believed that it affects somewhere between 1-7% of the general population. The percentage might look low, but the evidence shows that insect sting anaphylaxis is the cause of 40 to 50 deaths per year in the US.
Even our pets can give us an allergic reaction. According to studies, one in seven children between six and 19 is allergic to cats. However, this allergy is not caused by the cat’s fur. Instead, people usually react to a protein found on cat skin called Fel d 1.
Believe it or not, your pets can also suffer from allergies. For them, this can be incredibly dangerous because they can’t tell you about their symptoms. If left untreated, it might lead to a severe allergic reaction, the same as with every human. That’s why it’s crucial to know how to recognize the symptoms.
The most common signs of an allergic reaction in animals, especially in cats and dogs, are clearly visible on their skin. The symptoms may vary but they usually include red, dry, itchy, oily, flaky or damaged skin. Other symptoms that might be a sign of allergies are breathing problems and gastrointestinal issues.
It’s crucial to know what’s ‘normal’ for your pet because that’s the only way to be able to spot an allergic reaction straight away. If your dog is always itchy, then that’s normal for them, but if they suddenly and out of nowhere can’t stop scratching, this might be a cause of concern.
Allergies have become a big part of our lives, and it looks like it’s only going to get worse. Our modern, fast-paced way of living is taking its toll on our health. Our immune system is not always working as it should be.
That said, no one is protected from an allergic reaction. They can appear at any point in life, and disappear just as quick. That’s why it’s good to be informed and ready to recognize any potential symptoms that might lead to an allergic reaction.