Pet allergies and asthma are big problems in this country. Pet allergy in the home, notably sensitization to cats and dogs, is a strong predictor of the development of childhood asthma. More cases of asthma could be attributed to cat allergen than any other sensitization. Other investigations have shown that there is a protective effect of pets in early on developing allergy and asthma.
It is known that sensitized individuals with asthma are exposed to allergens their asthma can become more severe and difficult to manage. In the United States, sensitization to dog is 11.8% and cat 12.1%. Pet ownership is even more common, 36.5% of US households have a dog and 30.4% have a cat.
Individuals with asthma who are allergic to their pets have more than 1.7 million asthma attacks yearly and nearly 700,000 excess emergency care visits, according to a study published in the January/February 2018 issue of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
Several investigations have demonstrated that exposure to pet allergens, especially for cat in schools and day care centers is prevalent and elevated exposure levels can be more common than those found in homes.
A recent practice parameter advises allergic individuals to not get a pet or remove pets from the environment or take measures to reduce exposure to the allergen. With more than half of the US population owning pets and 1 out of 10 children having asthma, efforts to reduce allergen exposure could have a major impact on asthma morbidity and health care utilization.
This study shows that dog and cat ownership and sensitization are common in the United States. Exposure to elevated levels of dog or cat allergen in the bedrooms of sensitized patients with asthma increases the number of asthma attacks dramatically. It is important to implement environmental allergen control in homes of patients with asthma who are allergic to cats or dogs.
If you are allergic to your pet, speak to your allergy doctor about the different options available for you.
Pet allergies and asthma are a common problem that allergy doctors see. To read more, click below.