Best ways to deal with your pet allergies

Pets can be a common gift around the holiday season, but is a new cat or dog the culprit behind your sneezing?

Allergist Dr. Sandra Hong, with Cleveland Clinic, explained some of the symptoms that could mean you’re allergic to your four-legged friend.

“When people get a pet, they can have a lot of acute symptoms right away if they’re allergic,” Hong said. “Your eyes and nose could itch. You could also experience sneezing and a stuffy nose.”

Hong said people with pet allergies are reacting to proteins found in the animal’s fur, skin, urine and saliva.

Any pet can produce allergens, and there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic cat or dog.

With this in mind, there are some options to alleviate the symptoms of pet allergies.

Hong recommends keeping pets out of the bedroom and off furniture, especially if it has upholstery.

It’s also a good idea to put an air filter in rooms where your cat or dog spends a lot of time.

As far as cleaning, make sure to vacuum regularly and wipe down hard surfaces with a damp cloth.

Hong said the allergens that cats produce can linger a lot longer when compared to a dog.

“When it comes to cats, the protein we’re allergic to lasts and lingers for a long time, so that protein doesn’t break down for up to four months,” Hong said. “If a family decided to remove a cat from their home environment, or if you visited a family with cats, the protein lingers for four months.”

Although you can’t get rid of pet allergies, Hong said there are different treatment options for symptoms, including medications and allergy shots.