Which Pet is More Allergic?
If you are considering getting a pet, but your family is sensitive to allergens, research shows cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies. The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology reports that an estimated 10 percent of the population is allergic to pets, with one in seven children between ages 6 and 19 allergic to cats.
How much dander a pet creates is not the primary cause, which was the previous hypothesis regarding allergies. Many people believe a reaction to pet fur is the cause of the allergic reaction, but the allergy is caused by a protein found on cat skin called Fel D 1. While no pet can be completely allergy free, this protein from cats is more likely to cause allergic reactions in humans. Fel D 1 is highly likely to be airborne and readily attach to clothes. This allows the protein to travel and be introduced to places where there are no cats. Because dog allergens don’t stay airborne the way cat allergens do, people are less likely to breathe them in and have a reaction.
The best way to reduce any type of pet allergen is to have HEPA filters in the home. These filters trap the animal proteins in the filter and remove them from the air. HEPA filters are now more commonly available for home heating and air conditioning systems, as well as in free standing units. Carpet is also likely to trap allergens, so a home with wood or tile floors will provide a more allergy-free environment. If neither of these methods provide enough protection to stop reactions, allergy shots are also an option.
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