The presence at home of an pet is certainly a stimulus to the emotional growth and psychological well-being of children. It is the children who enjoy the greatest benefits from the interaction with a pet. Thanks to this interaction, the child learns to relate with a living being different than himself and to feel affection toward the new friend.

Although this experience is important, it hides the pitfalls from the point of view of allergies. There allergies to pets are frequent in fact, i.e. to the proteins found in cells of the skin, saliva or urine of pets.
The most insidious allergen is the Fel d1, found in the saliva of the cat, although allergens found in dogs, horses and rodents (dandruff, saliva and hair) should not be underestimated.
During its particular 'cleaning operation' the animal, licking its hair, spreads its saliva on the hair itself, which then volatilises in the environment. It is believed that all cats do produce allergenic substances, although females produce less.

PREVENTION

As for all allergic diseases, to avoid the allergen is certainly the most effective solution.
However many people find out they are allergic only after taking home a pet and the idea of letting the new friend go is often not even thinkable.
It is possible to reduce symptoms with the following preventive measures:

  • Frequent baths for the pet (every two weeks) and regular cleaning of the hair with a damp cloth could considerably reduce  reactions.
  • It is essential to eliminate all external parasites of the animal, in order to avoid that its scratching spread a larger quantity of allergens.
  • If possible, keep the pet outside the house.
  • Ban the pet out from the bedrooms.
  • Wash your hands after any contact with the pet.
  • Clean clothes with adhesive rolls (do not brush).
  • Delegate to others the cleaning of the spots in which the pet spends time in particular.
  • Use washable coatings on upholstered furniture and chairs.
  • Remove carpets and other items that can fill with dust.
  • Clean floors daily.

Despite these precautions, the allergens remain. The pet's hair spreads throughout the house, clinging to clothes and other textiles.