With some people, pet allergies are quite obvious. They immediately begin tearing up, get itchy, sneeze a lot, and/or break out in hives. However, there are some people that have a pet allergy and have almost no symptoms! So, how is it that they have a pet allergy and not even know it? Here is how.
They Have Built up a Tolerance
There is a good chance that they were exposed to pets early and often. This allowed their immune systems to build up a tolerance to pet dander and fur. As they go along in life, the allergy is still present, but most of the symptoms are not. In fact, only a trained otolaryngologist (ear, nose, throat doctor) might spot signs of an allergy when the patient does not present with any of the classic symptoms.
What an Otolaryngologist or ENT Specialist Would Spot
These medical professionals usually conduct breathing and swallowing tests on the patients that come into their offices. In the course of these tests, which involves inserting a lighted camera probe through your nose and down the back of your throat, the doctor/specialist would see nasal inflammation and swelling, and possibly an irritated throat. Barring obvious signs of a seasonal allergy, and asking if the patient has pets at home, the doctor/specialist would surmise that the patient has an allergy to pets which is tolerated by the patient's system. Further tests would confirm what the doctor specialist thinks.
Testing for Pet Allergies
From the ENT, you would go to an allergist for tests. If the allergist does confirm that you have pet allergies, congrats! You are one of the small few that can present with no outward symptoms of an allergy and very mild internal symptoms of ever having been near an animal. Additionally, you may only be allergic to certain breeds of dogs or cats, or you may only be allergic to long fur. Whatever the diagnosis, you have managed to build up a reasonable tolerance to your pet allergies, and you can keep pets around you all the time.
Can Tolerance as a Treatment Work for You?
As long as your allergic reaction to animals is not severe or life-threatening, you could try to build up an immune response to pet dander and fur. You would have to do it slowly and under the guidance of your doctor. Exposure treatment, as it is often called, requires short intervals of interaction with a pet, gradually increasing those intervals until your allergic reactions stop.
For more information, reach out to local professionals like Oak Brook Allergists.
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