National Pet Month: Is Your Pet’s Dander Hurting Your Eyes?

YSM pet monthMay is National Pet month celebrating the joy our pets bring to our lives. While many would have no problem listing all of the wonderful attributes that animals can bring to a person’s life; others, who suffer from allergies to pet dander, might have other things to say through watery, red eyes.

It is estimated 62 percent of American households have at least one pet and animal lovers understand that pets are a part of the family. Regardless of whether you are a dog or cat person, cuddly friends make their way into our hearts as well as our homes. However, if you find that fluffy or oreo are causing your eyes to be irritated, pay close attention to the following as there are steps that can be taken to help alleviate your symptoms.

The problem starts with dander as it is one of the most stubborn and common allergens. Cats, dogs and other furry or feathered pets produce dander, which consists of microscopic, dandruff-like flakes of skin and proteins from saliva and urine that can trigger allergies and aggravate asthma. Pet dander is generally worse in older animals than in younger animals, as older animals slough off more skin cells than younger animals. Dander can be transported through the air and enter the mucous members of the eyes and lungs.

Individuals who are allergic to pet dander may suffer from red, itchy eyes. Eye allergies sometimes cause significant discomfort, often interrupting daily activities with annoying symptoms. A person develops eye allergies when the immune system overreacts to an allergen.

Allergens may be found indoors and outdoors and include things such as pollen, dust, dust and pet dander. When exposed to these allergens, cells in the eyes release histamines and other chemicals in an effort to protect the eyes. This chemical reaction that causes blood vessels inside the eyes to swell and the eyes become itchy, red and watery. Allergies can also trigger other problems, such as conjunctivitis also known as pink eye.