All hope isn’t lost if you have a pet or want to adopt one, but you’ve recently discovered that your child has a pet allergy. There are some steps you can take and treatment options you can try that may reduce your child’s symptoms.
It’s smart to consult with an allergy specialist if your child is diagnosed with pet allergies. The same is true if you suspect that your child may have pet allergies.
The team at Riviera Allergy Medical Center in Redondo Beach, California, is poised to assist children and their families in managing pet allergy symptoms.
Allergy and immunology specialist Ulrike Ziegner, MD, cares for patients who deal with any of a full range of allergic conditions, including children with pet allergies. Roughly 70% of families have a pet, while up to 20% of people have pet allergies.
Dr. Ziegner can discuss options for managing your child’s pet allergies during your consultation, and determine if allergy shots are an appropriate option.
Pet allergies in children
Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t pet hair that causes a child to sneeze and wheeze; it's the proteins found in their urine, saliva, or pet dander. The proteins can stick to surfaces such as walls, furniture, and clothing.
Obviously, you want to limit your child’s exposure to what they’re allergic to. However, this is a challenge when the allergen is your family pet. If your child has severe pet allergies, it’s best to find a new home for your pet. For children with mild pet allergies, there are some things you can do.
At-home measures to reduce pet allergens
For some children, taking simple measures to reduce pet allergens at home can help greatly. These tips include:
- Washing pets weekly
- Having pets sleep in a different room from your child
- Vacuuming regularly using a vacuum with a HEPA filter
- Cutting the pet’s hair short
Each pet and situation is different. For personalized at-home tips, talk to Dr. Ziegner.
Allergy shots for pet allergies
Allergy shots are like a vaccine. Your child develops a tolerance to the allergen in response to receiving small but gradually increasing doses.
There are buildup and maintenance phases. Patients receive injections once or twice a week during the buildup phase, with the amount of the allergen injected gradually increasing.
When your child reaches the effective dose, the maintenance phase begins. The time between treatments is longer in this phase, ranging from 2-4 weeks.
Many patients experience long-term relief from allergy symptoms, but it takes time for the body to build up a tolerance. It can take up to 12 months on maintenance therapy to notice an improvement.
While this may not be good news for those who already have a pet, it can especially help those who plan to adopt a pet later. If the allergy shots work, the treatment usually continues for 2-3 years.
Expert care for pet allergies
It can be challenging when children experience pet allergies. However, our team can create an individualized treatment plan to ease your child’s symptoms.
For a thorough pet allergy evaluation for your child, call our Redondo Beach, California, office to schedule a visit with Dr. Ziegner today. Pet allergy relief for your child is in sight!