Can someone develop and allergy to something they're close to? Specifically, MY pet. Can allergies be that specific?- submitted by Tim B. in St. Louis
Allergy is a genetic disorder that involves reactivity to specific allergens such as dust mite, pollens, and animals to name a few. Unfortunately, allergies can turn on at any time for unknown reasons. It is very common to see a pet owner develop allergy to their pet over time. Relocation of their animal or treatment with medication and possible allergy shots is often necessary.
Is it possible to be allergic to dust but not dust mites? I am on immunotherapy for several different allergens, one was dust. Recently, the FDA has taken away the dust serum and is saying that dust mite serum is the same thing? I was retested for dust mites and didn't have an immediate reaction, but did within 24 hours, a red itchy bump the size of a dime that lasted for several days. The allergy nurse said it was irrelevant because I didn't react right away within 20 minutes. My problem is being symptomatic to dust again since it has been eliminated from my weekly shots. I've been on shots going on two years. Would appreciate any insight or suggestions!- submitted by J. Sullivan
Yes!!! You can be allergic to house dust and not dust mite. House dust is a mixture of many substances including shed human skin, mold, animal hair and dander, fibers, and dust mite and its excrement. The amount of each can vary from home to home. The significance of Late Phase skin test responses to an airborne allergen such as dust mite has long been controversial. Despite the lack of conclusive data, many allergists consider a delayed response to be significant. This is based on the known fact that the allergic response is made up of an early phase [immediate up to 30 minutes] followed by a more prolonged late phase reaction. The late phase typically occurs 4-8 hours after exposure but can occur even later in some circumstances. Based on this data it can be extrapolated that a delayed response up to 24 hours could be relevant.
Every allergist has their own style and protocol as to what they may remove from serum after a retest. Typically I do not remove an allergen that has shown significant reactivity on previous testing.
Finally, If you seem to be more clinically sensitive to dust.... it may be necessary for your allergist to review your allergy serum makeup and increase the individual components (such as dust mite, mold etc.) that you may have lost with the removal of house dust from your serum.
To see all of our Dr. Mardiney's Answered FAQ's or to view allergy questions answered by Dr. Frank.
Author: Kevin Gilmore
Pet Allergy Solutions
Dust Mite Solutions
Halle Berry is one of the seven million people who cannot enjoy shrimp cocktails or a romantic lobster dinner, or any mollusks because of her shellfish allergy. Luckily this doesn't include Swordfish! Shellfish allergy symptoms can include hives, itching, swelling of the lips, face, tongue throat, or any body part, trouble breathing, stomach pain, dizziness, and even anaphylaxis. Unfortunately, many do not know they are allergic until they are adults.
Quirky Zooey Deschanel can only have oatmeal with almond milk for breakfast. Well, that’s what I would serve her, due to her lactose intolerance, celiac disease and egg allergy. Lactose intolerance and egg allergies can be hard on the digestive tract while celiac disease leads to the inability to absorb sufficient amounts of calcium and iron often leading to osteoporosis and anemia.
Let’s be grateful that Kim Kardashian is not allergic to latex. That would cut her wardrobe in half! However, she is allergic to cats. Approximately 10 million people are allergic to cats, making this the most common pet allergy in the U.S. What makes Kimmie sneeze and sniff is not the cat hair itself but the protein in the dander of felines.
Bouncing over to the world of sports, Serena Williams does not go to peanuts as a source of protein. Peanut allergies can cause anaphylaxis, wheezing, nausea and itching and tingling in or around the mouth and throat. Almond butter is a great alternative with high amounts of magnesium, iron and calcium.
And last but not least, Miley Cyrus could possibly be allergic to pants. Sadly, she can’t go anywhere that’s not similar to LA weather.
Have a great weekend, and enjoy the weather before another snow storm drifts our way!
Author: Rachel P.
Like traditional allergy shots, the idea behind the treatment is to desensitize people who are allergic to cats. The big difference between this and traditional shots is two-fold. First, the shots are not subcutaneous, meaning they are more shallow and do not go beneath the skin. Second, the length of the proposed treatment would be significantly shorter, four to eight months as opposed to the more traditional three to five years worth of shots. This can not only make the process more convenient but hopefully less costly and invasive.
The current trial is accepting people who have had cat allergies for at least two years, have a cat living at home with them, and are between the ages of 12 and 65. As the largest clinical study of this treatment to date, the CATALYST (Cat Allergy Study) is accepting over 1100 volunteers from seven countries.
For people coping with cat allergies, this could be a dramatic step forward in treatment. Often times allergists recommend removing your cat from the household, and as one of the most common household pets, those with cat allergies often have allergic reactions outside of their own homes. Cat dander is one of the smallest of common household allergens, and to make matters worse, it's "sticky". This means that in places where cats have been, it's often extremely difficult to remove cat dander since it adheres to walls, furnishings, and flooring, nearly everything in a room. Nearly one in three households have cats. In addition to allergies, there is also a link to asthma reactions and cats, with one study showing over a quarter of asthma attacks being triggered by cat allergen. So, the potential that a shorter, less invasive and successful treatment holds a great deal of hope for the millions with allergies or asthma.
The basis of the treatment is the proprietary ToleroMune technology. Molecules called SPIRES (Synthetic Peptide Immuno-Regulatory Epitopes) generate regulatory T cells. These T cells control the allergic response and stimulate tolerance of specific allergens.
Circassia is also working on a similar treatment for dust mite allergies, and back in September of 2013 they announced results of their phase-two trials. In this study, patients who had received four doses of the treatment over 12 weeks showed significant improvement one year after the start of the trial. This smaller phase-two study will likely in the steps of the cat allergy trials. With success, they will move on to larger, clinical, phase-three trials. In addition dust mites, Circassia has also finished phase-two trials of the same treatment for ragweed and grass allergies.
While we continue to patiently wait and hope, avoidance and more traditional measures, like the use of a high quality HEPA air purifier or antihistamines remain some of the best way to reduce allergic reactions to cat.
For more information on these phase-three clinical trials, contact your local certified allergist or visit the clinicaltrials.gov website
Author: K. Gilmore
For those with pet dander allergies, the relationship with dogs and cats can be bittersweet. Despite the benefits pets can offer, their dander can trigger sneezing, congestion, watery eyes, skin reactions and even asthma attacks. But to better understand this, let’s get microscopic and explore what triggers these allergic reactions. The American Lung Association explains pet dander as a composition of "tiny, even microscopic, flecks of skin shed by cats, dogs, rodents, birds and other animals with fur or feathers." Proteins found in saliva and excretions from cats, dogs and other pets can also cause allergic reactions.
Unfortunately, cats are the largest culprit for protein allergy reactions due to a Fel d I protein they carry. Not only is cat dander some of the smallest, but it's also "sticky," meaning it's difficult to remove. Curiously, female cats produce more Fel d I protein than males, but it's not quite clear why this is. Research from the University of Cambridge has found similarities in Fel d I protein and Der p 2, the dust mite allergen, both of which can promote airway hypersensitivity reactions for asthmatics.
So you've been diagnosed with allergies to dander or you have asthma, now what? Most people aren't willing to give up their pets, and given the strong bonds that people can and do form with their furry friends, this is understandable. There are a few things that you can do to try to limit your exposure to dander and hopefully keep your allergies or asthma in check.
- Limit where they can roam. Keep your pet out of the bedroom and off of the furniture. Bedrooms can be the single worst place for your pet to be if you're dealing with pet allergies or asthma.
- Clean as much as you can. This means not only surfaces, but also the air in your home and even your pet itself.
- Keep up with any medication. Don't skip things like your preventative asthma medication or a doctor prescribed treatment.
Bathing your pet regularly with an anti-allergen pet shampoo is a good first step, but too many baths can dry your pet's skin and cause itching and scratching. So between baths Allerpet is a handy solution to pet dander. Allerpet/C gently cleanses your cat's hair of saliva and dander, and can make all the difference for those with allergies.
Cats and dogs all have hair, and pet hair can be the primary vehicle of spreading dander throughout your home. The FURminator deshedding tool is a specially designed shed-less tool for cat and dog owners. FURminator's unique blade is designed to remove loose hair like no other. Dog groomers love this pet brush because it removes undercoat and loose hair from dogs and cats, while leaving the shiny top coat intact and healthy.
Most pets spend at least some time outdoors, and just as their hair can carry dander, it can also pick up outdoor allergens and bring these unwanted guests into your home. This is where Pet Wipes can help. These wipes make it easy to remove dander, pollen, dirt and saliva off your pets. There are couple sizes available, but each pet wipe is stronger and thicker than most others sold today, and one wipe can generally clean your entire dog or cat.
So you tackled the source of the allergens, what about your home? For floors, surfaces and even furniture, a quality vacuum cleaner can make a big difference. With an Active Clean filter, 12 stage filtration, and an array of cleaning attachments, the Miele Cat & Dog vac provides all the tools needed to keep your home clean and free of dander no matter what four-legged friend you have indoors. As with the Cat & Dog upright, the included STB 101 turbobrush comes included in the box and works well on carpeted and upholstered surfaces. With an encased motor and silence insulation, these vacuums are nearly quiet enough let your sleeping dog lie.
Dander is light enough to easily become airborne, so how can you remove allergens from the air in your home? Designed specifically for pet owners, the Austin Air Pet Machine air purifier traps the allergens produced by pets, specifically pet dander. The Austin Air Pet Machine has a filter that traps these microscopic particles as well as a special blend of carbon that reduces the unpleasant pet odors that linger in the air. With 4 stage filtration, five color options, and an effective coverage area of 750 sq. ft., the Pet Machine fits well into nearly any size of room.
Best of luck with your beloved pets! If your allergies are excruciating, even after trying all methods of taming pet dander, you might unfortunately have to consider removing them from your humble abode. If it comes to that, please find them a home where they will be just as loved or even more.
Author: Rachel P.
Nearly two years ago, more than 200 cat allergy sufferers took part in the second phase trials which involved four doses of the vaccine, ToleroMune®, over the course of 12 weeks. In the fall of 2012, the company responsible for the study, Circassia, released initial results of the patients who returned to be exposed to the cat allergen and reassessed. Then in February of 2013, they announced full results of this double-blind, randomized study.
The results of this stage of human trials continued to show the same promise that began about a decade ago - the development of a vaccine against cat allergies. Those who received the actual vaccine (and not the placebo) continued to show sustained improvement when reassessed two years after the trial began. With this major milestone, Phase III trials have already started.
During this last stage of the trials, 1200 participants are involved in what will ultimately be another two year study that is broader and more in-depth. Upon completion in 2015. The vaccine could potentially be available shortly after the completion of this final phase in 2015. For the tens of millions of cat allergy sufferers, this novel approach represents a more longterm solution particle allergies, and ultimately, this type of development could lead to greater understanding of allergies and bring us one step closer to a cure.
In addition to their work on a cat allergy vaccine, Circassia has also started testing on similar treatments for grass and dust mite allergies.
Author: Kevin G.
Pet Hair - Nothing screams "I have dogs" like pet hair on every article of clothing you own. Pets shed, and whether you have a pet that only sheds a little or one that could win a Hair Club for Dogs award, keeping pet hair at a minimum can be a real challenge. To help with this, the Cat & Dog has several features, starting with the carpet attachment. The included SEB 228 is powered by an independently driven motor and works well in removing entangled pet hair from any style or thickness of carpet. In addition to this, the S8380 comes standard with the STB 101. This handheld turbobrush is great for removing pet hair from upholstered furniture, carpeted steps or any other area where your pet's hair is finding its way onto and into fabric.
Pet Dander - Just because you have a pet doesn't mean you never want friends or family, who are allergic to said pet, to never visit. The Miele Cat and Dog uses a sealed system and multiple stages of filtration to not only pick up and remove pet hair and dirt but also microscopic particles of dander. While the filter traps 99.95% of particle 0.5 microns or smaller, the reason why you give up a little bit, compared to traditional HEPA filtration, is explained next.
Pet Odors - I'm one of those pet owners who doesn't like pet hair or pet odors. Truthfully, I was the guy who said, "I'm NEVER have a dog in my house," and like most of the time when someone proclaims 'never' this or 'never' that, it didn't stick. With regular cleaning, you can avoid having visitors come to your house and be smacked in the face with dog funk as soon as they open your front door. The Miele Cat and Dog does its part by removing the pet hair and dander but by also adsorbing odors. The Active AirClean filter uses more activated charcoal than the standard Miele HEPA filter. This helps to remove pet odors as you clean.
The Miele Cat & Dog is Good Housekeeping approved and comes with the same standard features that other Miele S8's offer like, one-touch cord rewind, suction control foot buttons, a raised bumper strip, 3 integrated mini accessories, and one of the longest warranties available today. You can pre-order or for more information about the Miele Cat and Dog canister vacuum. Stay tuned for our video and new photo galleries.
Author: Kevin Gilmore
For the respiratory symptoms, the first step is to get away from the allergen. Once you remove yourself from the situation, to help to relief coughing, sneezing, congestion, watery eyes, etc., an over the counter antihistamine generally provides quick relief. For those who may suffer an asthma attack because of pet allergies, rescue inhalers can open airways and provide relief.
Hives caused by pet dander can create a slightly different set of circumstances. Hives are the byproduct of histamine which causes small amounts of the blood's plasma to leak into the skin. This is why you often see raised, red bumps or many that merge together to form patches or "plaques". Hives itch and burn, and can last anywhere from a few minutes to days.
Hives can be treated with several types of products, and as with other allergic reactions, remove the trigger first. Before you buy something from your local pharmacy, try cooling the area first with a cool compress or even ice. Avoid tight-fitting clothing and the use of hot water or harsh soaps on the affected area. In terms of over the counter medications, antihistamines will help some, but have the greatest benefit when used very shortly after or prior to exposure (to help prevent hives). Other types of anti-itch lotions can prevent scratching and topical analgesics or steroid creams can reduce the swelling, pain, and itching from hives. In severe instances, a shot of epinephrine can be administered.
Related to hives is angioedema. Angioedema is similar to hives with the biggest difference being that the swelling occurs beneath the skin instead of as raised welts and that the swelling is often localized around the eyes, mouth, hands or feet. Angioedema is most often associated with food allergies, but can be brought about by many types of allergens. Treatment of angioedema is the same as hives - remove the allergen, treat the symptom and if severe, visit the doctor.
For reactions caused by pets or pet dander, avoidance is key. If finding a new home for your favorite pet isn't an option, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce the dander that you come in contact with. For removing dander from the air use a sealed, HEPA air purifier, and vacuum with a quality HEPA vacuum cleaner. Both can remove dander that can be in the air, on the furniture and throughout your home. Limit areas of the home where the pet can roam. Ideally, this means you keep your pet out of your bedroom and off of your bed.
In terms of caring for your pet, regular and frequent brushing can remove excess hair that often holds dander, and by using an anti-allergen pet shampoo with more frequent baths, you can remove dander from your pet's coat.
For me personally, I have no reaction to my dog unless he snuggles up against me. I bathe him with the pet shampoo by Ecology works and frequently dust and sweep (hard flooring only in my home). I also limit the areas of the house available to him by keeping my bedroom door closed. Occasionally I do let him sleep on my leather couch with me, though I throw an Allergy Armor mattress cover over the couch and my blanket to create a barrier between his hair and dander. So while there are many options, even a few simple steps such as these can reduce pet dander and limit both respiratory reactions and skin conditions like hives.
Author: K. Gilmore
The active ingredient in most modern tick and flea shampoos is commonly a pyrethroid, a class of organic compounds related to natural pyrethrins found in some flowers. Most household insecticides stem from this class of chemicals. The problem with many of these is that, quiet bluntly, they are toxic. Most have labels that state as much, particularly with regard to animals and aquatic life. Pyrethroids are considered safe for vertebrates since they have the enzymes and biology in place to break down these chemicals in fairly short order.
Except for cats... Ostensibly, dogs and humans can break down these insecticides in the liver in kidneys without long term effects. Because cats cannot breakdown a common pyrethroid used in flea and tick treatments, phenothrin was pulled by most manufacturers in 2006. Adverse reactions ranging from tremors and hair loss to salivation and death were reported when used with cats.
Cats notwithstanding, most pets and humans are fairly safe when using products that contain pyrethrins. Be even if these products are relatively safe for use around humans and dogs, there are still other compounds found in these can produce adverse reactions in people and pets alike.
D-Limonene (smells like oranges and sound innocuous enough, right?) is assumed to be the culprit in a case where a Pomeranian in Washington recently suffered a severe allergic reaction. The family pet developed edema throughout her body but ultimately recovered. Limonene is also used as a solvent in cleaners, air fresheners, and even glues. While D-Limonene is used commonly used in cosmetics and as an insecticide, the FDA recommends against using this hydrocarbon on cats or dogs, and some with sensitivities may develop contact dermatitis or a general sensitivity to the compound.
In another instance where chemicals in flea and tick repellents more directly impacted a person, a pet shampoo distributed by Sogeval Laboratories, Inc., with an ingredient, phytosphingosine, was associated with the death of one woman who was bathing her dog with the product. An acute asthma attack was the cause of death, and just a few days later, another asthmatic family member suffered a mild asthma attack while bathing the pet with the same product. The belief is that the particular substances used in that formulation of pet shampoo triggered the two asthma attacks in the individuals involved.
This is not to say that all pet shampoos are going to cause problem for you or your pets, but what it does highlight is two things. First, read labels. If there's something you're unfamiliar with, look for a known alternative. When you do come across an unknown compound, check online for the MSDS sheet or visit the manufacturer's website to get as much information as you can. You can then search for these compounds to find out more about them and potential hazards. This may seem like a lot, but it literally takes 10-20 minutes of searching online. Second, some ingredients in flea and tick treatments, as well as cosmetics, cleaners, and other household products, can react differently with different people (particularly those who have an existing allergic or asthmatic condition and those who have shown a sensitivity to chemicals that don't affect most others).
As a side note, for fleas and ticks, I use the Ecology Works pet shampoo. Personally, I like the smell, it lathers well, and I've yet to find a flea or tick on my dog (despite my roommates dog having fleas a couple times since we have lived together.
Author: Kevin G.
I notice my dog, Cotton, licks his paws from time to time, but then I've also noticed that he's very particular about his feet. Specifically, he doesn't care much for you touching them or getting them wet. I really don't pay that much attention to my own, but since he is much shorter and has four of them, I assume that he likely takes many more steps throughout the course of the day. Thus, I reason he's "on his feet" more than I(not to mention barefoot). Regardless, what can cause your dog to lick his/her paws can sometimes be allergies.
There are three main types of allergies that can be the culprit, flea, food and environmental. Flea allergies seem fairly obvious. When your dog comes in contact with fleas or flea saliva, they will dig and itch at the point of contact. Vets will always recommend sometime of monthly flea control, and while I've never been a fan of applying topical insecticides or pesticides directly to Cotton's skin, I do use the pet shampoo by Ecology Works, and that keeps him flea-free throughout the year. So whether you go with a shampoo or medication, keeps tick and flea repellents in mind.
The next two causes may be somewhat less obvious. Of the two, environmental allergies are a bit easier to spot since this culprit will likely be seasonal in nature - noticeable during the warmer months with the licking and biting tapering off during the winter. Since most dogs are 99% hair factories, the paws are places where allergens can most directly affect exposed skin. I can imagine that if I never wore shoes, from time to time, my feet would likely come in contact with a few unsavory things that would make me want to scratch them too!
The last culprit is food allergies. This may be the case if your dog is licking and biting his paws all year round. While the ingredient list is most dog foods is as long as a monthly grocery list, it can be difficult to pin down what's causing it, but in working with your vet, you can try a few different types of protein bases to begin eliminating what ingredients may be causing the reaction. As the article suggests, you may try a dog food with a protein base of venison or rabbit. Test a few different types and see if you begin to notice a difference. In more severe cases your vet can run your dog through a variety of allergy tests to help you narrow down the list of culprits.
In the case of seasonal allergies your vet can prescribe antihistamines and you can also try avoidance. Though, the latter can be difficult if your dog typically spends a fair amount of time outdoors.
I'm not sure if Cotton has allergies. I tend to think he is a bit like a feline since he usually starts the licking and cleaning right after bath time or if he has had the unfortunate luck of going outside when it was raining. I had never given thought to an allergic reaction being the cause for this, but if nothing else, it gives me something to keep an eye on and directly discuss with the vet on his next visit.
Author: Kevin Gilmore
When allergic guests come to my house, however, I become all too aware of how pervasive pet dander can be, and how hard it is to actually get rid of.
Last night, some dear friends from California arrived for a visit, and we had them over for dinner. The husband of the family is quite allergic to cats. I dusted and cleaned the floors one last time at the last minute before they came, and we gave him some homeopathic drops that are supposed help forestall an allergy attack. And of course we locked the cats in a room while he was here.
He seemed to be okay, at least for a while. But by the end of the evening, though it took our asking for him to tell us, he was definitely feeling the effects of his cat allergy. As a hostess, it's an awful feeling to know that your guests are uncomfortable in your home – though of course, the person we should feel sorriest for is the allergic one!
We always keep allergy medicine (as well as those homeopathic drops) on hand for when pet allergic guests come to our house. But sometimes it's not enough. What do you do in addition to your regular environmental control to help allergy sufferers feel at home in your home?