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Managing Pet Allergies in Kids

child pet allergies

How Your Pregnancy Affects Your Child's Risk of Developing Allergies

Nearly everything you do can affect your unborn child while you are pregnant, so it's no surprise that your pregnancy can also have an effect on your baby's allergy risk.

Fish Oil Can Reduce Inflammation and Allergies

Pregnant women who took fish oil supplements in a Western Australia study had babies who were less likely to develop severe eczema or egg sensitivity. Fish oil supplements reduce inflammation which may trigger allergies.

Probiotics May Be Helpful

Another study examined whether the babies of women who took probiotics during pregnancy had a lower allergy and asthma risk. Although taking probiotics did not affect the asthma rate, it did lower the allergy rate. Researchers think that the effect is due to protective effect probiotics have on microbes in your gastrointestinal tract.

Early Exposure Is Also Important

Exposure to pets during a child's early days can also affect his or her allergy risk. Living with a cat during the first year of life reduced the risk of a cat allergy by 48 percent, according to a study published in Clinical & Experimental Allergy. Male teens who lived with dogs had a 50 percent lower allergy risk.

Are you concerned that your child's allergies may mean that you will have to give up your pet? Although rehoming a pet may be necessary if allergies are severe, most children can live with pets if you are willing to make a few changes.

The Problem

About three in 10 people who have allergies are allergic to cats and dogs, according to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America. The Foundation notes that cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies. Many people assume all pet allergies are caused by exposure to dander, a combination of pet hair and skin cells, but dander is not the only allergen that triggers symptoms. Your child may also be allergic to your pet's urine or saliva.

How You Can Reduce Pet Allergens

Decreasing your child's symptoms starts with reducing allergens in your home by:

  • Bathing Your Pet. A weekly bath can lower allergens, although dogs may be more willing to endure the experience than cats. Bathing not only reduces the amount of pet allergens but also removes allergens that collect in your pet's fur, such as grasses and mold.
  • Getting Rid of Carpeting. Dander and hair tend to collect on carpeting. Although frequent vacuuming is helpful, you may not be able to completely remove allergens. It's much easier to keep hardwood, laminate and tile floors allergen-free.
  • Keeping Pets Out of the Bedrooms. Your children may complain, but the sneezing and wheezing will decrease if you make your child's bedroom a pet-free zone.
  • Washing Pet Bedding and Other Items. Washing any item in your home that can be washed will also reduce allergens. Pet bedding, slipcovers, throw pillows, curtains and other furnishings all collect dander and saliva.
  • Buying a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA)Cleaner. These cleaners are very effective at filtering out allergens and purifying the air in your home. Use one unit in your living area and another in your child's bedroom. Add HEPA filters to your heating and air-conditioning systems too.
  • Grooming Your Pet Outdoors. Brushing your pet indoors stirs up allergens. Do not let your allergic child brush your dog or cat, either indoors or outdoors.
  • Considering Non-Furry Pets. Fish and snakes may not be soft and cuddly but they also do not cause allergy symptoms. They may be a good compromise if your child has severe allergies.
  • Limiting Contact with Other Homes with Pets. Your child may have milder symptoms if she or he has lived with your pet from a young age. Although exposure to your pet's dander, saliva and urine may not trigger a strong reaction, things may be different when your child visits a friend's home, particularly if that family does not follow a strict cleaning protocol.
  • Trying Immunotherapy. Allergy shots can help reduce your child's symptoms, but he or she may not be enthusiastic about the idea. The shots work by exposing your child to a tiny amount of an allergen, then gradually increasing the amount over the course of months or years. Eventually, exposure to the allergen may no longer trigger a reaction or may only cause a mild reaction.

Do you have a question about the best type of pet shampoo to use to reduce allergens or concerns about your pet's health? Give us a call and let us know how we can help you.


Sources:

Annals of Allergy Asthma and Immunology: The Effects of Maternal Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation on Infant Allergy, 3/14

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3961846/

American Academy of Pediatrics: When Pets Are the Problem, 11/21/15

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/allergies-asthma/Pages/When-Pets-Are-the-Problem.aspx

American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology: Pet Allergy Overview

http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/allergies/pet-allergy

Humane Society of the United States: How to Live with Allergies and Pets

http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/allergies_pets.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/

Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America: Pet Allergy: Are You Allergic to Dogs or Cats?, 10/15

http://www.aafa.org/page/pet-dog-cat-allergies.aspx

American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology: Prevention of Allergies and Asthma in Children

https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/at-a-glance/prevention-of-allergies-and-asthma-in-children

Reuters: Probiotics Linked to Lower Risk of Allergies for Kids, 8/22/13

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-probiotics-linked-to-lower-risk-of-al-idUSBRE97L0UK20130822

Fit Pregnancy and Baby: Pets, Pregnancy and Your Baby’s Allergy Risk

http://www.fitpregnancy.com/pregnancy/pregnancy-news/pets-enhance-pregnancy

Clinical & Experimental Allergy: Lifetime Dog and Cat Exposure and Dog- and Cat-Specific Sensitization at Age 18 Years

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21668818

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Return of the Rattlesnake Vaccination!

South Valley Animal Clinic is excited to announce the return of the Red Rock Biologics Rattlesnake Vaccination!  This vaccination is great for dog's planning on hiking, camping or just exploring the bosque.  Please call our office for scheduling or more information (505) 873-2590. 

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South Valley Animal Clinic Joins PACA's New Public Spay/Neuter Program

We are excited to announce our support of the 'Fix the 505' program.  Fix the 505 is a small scale FREE spay/neuter program for low income pet owners.  PACA (People's Anti-Cruelty Association) selected a few local veterinarian clinic's, including South Valley Animal Clinic to participate in this necessary program.  Please watch the short video above or visit http://paca-aar.org/index.php/donate/sponsor-a-spay for more information!

06/01/2015 UPDATE

This program has been restricted to South Valley residents struggling to spay or neuter their pets.  In order to get your pets scheduled, please request a PACA Voucher from The Animal Humane Society or from a Bernalillo County Animal Control officer .  Please call (505) 255-5523 for more information!

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Dr. Heite and the rest of SVAC staff, Thank You! From the bottom of our hearts for your AMAZING care for our dogs. You're an awesome team, and we trust you above anyone else to provide immediate, compassionate, and reliable solutions. We cannot begin to thank you for going above and beyond to help Sissy. We know she has an amazing medical team. 

With heartfelt appreciation, Sanchez Family
Albuquerque, NM

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