For some children, tiny molecules in their pet's skin, saliva and urine can lead to an allergic reaction. The symptoms of allergies are produced when the immune system becomes active and releases high amounts of chemicals, particularly histamine, which causes blood vessels to swell.
The most common symptoms of an allergy are:
If you suspect that your child has a pet allergy, write down all the symptoms your child has, and also note what your child is doing when the reaction occurs. You can then take this list to your GP for a diagnoses, which may be confirmed with a skin test or blood samples.
Dr Rob Hicks, a GP, recommends using a three-point attack to cope with the symptoms of pet allergies.
"Avoid triggers, use your allergy treatments as advised and reduce the allergens in your home," he says. "Reducing the allergens in your home will help keep your allergy under control."
To reduce pet allergens in the home, the NHS suggests taking the following steps:
In the most persistent cases, the only solution may be to rehome your child's pet. As this is upsetting for everyone involved, it is important for you to know that you have exhausted all other alternatives first.
If your child if showing allergic symptoms, it may not be down to your dog. Dust mites and mold are two of the most common sources of allergens and thrive in many of the places where your dog spends much of his time. A recent study has suggested that replacing dog beds that are over a year old could help to reduce allergic symptoms.
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