An antihistamine can be an effective way of temporarily treating an allergic reaction to a dog, cat, or other animal in a household. With 15-30% of people in the country displaying an allergic reaction around animals, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, it is essential that proper care be taken to minimize the symptoms of an animal allergic reaction. While an antihistamine is a viable way to combat these symptoms, it is important to understand both what causes animal allergies and how an antihistamine can help to mitigate their effects.
First, it is worth noting that most allergies to animals are inherited and genetic. An allergy reaction begins when allergens (proteins) in the form of dander, saliva or urine from an animal are present in a home. These allergens are inhaled, causing a reaction in the respiratory tract and resulting in discomfort when the immune system produces an antibody which is known as immunoglobulin E (IgE). This antibody activates the release of histamine, which dilates blood vessels. As a result of this histamine in a person's blood, they will often begin to feel stuffed up and itchy and may cough, sneeze or have trouble breathing, and these symptoms can be fought using an antihistamine.
How the Antihistamine Works
An antihistamine is a substance found in many common medications such as Benadryl and Dimetapp as well as Allegra and Claritin. Antihistamine functions by suppressing the effects of histamine in the blood stream and temporarily relieving symptoms. A first generation antihistamine such as Benadryl may result in a tired or groggy feeling and newer options such as the antihistamine Claritin may cause a feeling of dry mouth when used.
Animal allergies can range from minor to severe and in some cases may be triggered simply by the presence of allergens on a person nearby the unlucky allergy sufferer. While the most common types of allergic reactions displayed by those with pet allergies will fall into the category of respiratory distress or itchy and watery eyes, these reactions can also cause an acute asthma attack in those who have a pre-existing asthma condition, making the successful treatment of pet allergies and management of symptoms with antihistamines essential – though it is important to note that the effectiveness of antihistamines will vary from person to person.
How to Combat an Animal Allergy
In addition to the use of antihistamine, there are a number of other ways to help limit the effect of an allergy attack including decongestants that are both applied topically and taken orally. As well, for those sufferers who have antihistamine-resistant allergies, a vaccine therapy may be an option.
Why take an Antihistamine
An antihistamine will never be able to completely cure an allergy or prevent it from occurring again, but antihistamine options are a great way for allergy sufferers to manage their symptoms in the short term or in situations where they cannot control the environment around them. And the right antihistamine can allow those with allergies to function for a period of hours virtually symptom free.