Human Allergies and Dogs Part 3: Treatment Options
We love our pets and there isn’t anything that most of us would not do for our little Yappers. Owners of small breed dogs especially, know that you spend a lot of time with them. Many small breeds are indoor pets which means that they always under foot-on your furniture, in your face, on your bed… However, as responsible pet parents, we also have to take our own health and well-being into consideration so that we can remain healthy and happy for them.
I had to recently seek the medical treatment of an allergist. After interviewing me about my history with allergies, she did what is known as a skin prick test; also called a puncture or scratch test. This test checks for immediate allergic reactions to as many as 40 different substances at once. This test is usually done to identify allergies to pollen, mold, pet dander, dust mites, etc. If you are allergic to one of the substances tested, you’ll develop a raised, red, itchy bump that may look like a mosquito bite. As you will see from the photo below, My prick test identified that I was allergic to several substances.
- Control your exposure. The first thing to do is to avoid your allergy triggers. Stay indoors when pollen counts are highest, usually in mid-morning and early evening. Close the windows and run the air conditioner (window fans can draw in pollen and mold spores). When you go out, wear eyeglasses or big sunglasses to block pollen from your eyes. Driving? Keep the windows closed and run the air conditioner.
- OTC Medicines. There are many over the counter medicines, called antihistamines that are great for treating allergy symptoms. OTC drugs like Claritin or Benadryl often stop allergy symptoms in their tracks! Beware though, one of the major side-effects of some of these drugs are drowsiness but there are many non-drowsy formulas as well. Your doctor may also prescribe prescription strength drugs like Chlorpheniramine or nasal sprays like Nasonex.
- Allergy Shots: Allergy shots help your body get used to allergens, the things that trigger an allergic reaction. They aren’t a cure, but in time, your symptoms will get better and you may not have symptoms as often.You may want to consider allergy shots — also called ” immunotherapy” — if you have symptoms more than 3 months a year and medicines don’t give you enough relief. These are administered by your allergist.
In the next and final part of this series of posts. We discuss things that you can do in your home to reduce your exposure to allergens.