Diseases & Conditions : Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
What is an animal allergen?
Allergens are otherwise harmless substances, usually proteins, that can cause some people's immune system to over react. The reaction is called an allergic reaction. Usually, it is pets with fur that cause allergic reactions. Pet allergens are proteins that come from the animal's skin (dander), saliva, or urine. Pet hair is not an allergen but it can carry allergens, and so can your clothes. You can breathe in animal allergens when you pet the animal or from dust in the air. When the allergen lands in your nose or lungs, it can cause symptoms such as sneezing, and runny or itchy nose. The allergen can cause itchy eyes if you touch your eyes after petting an animal. If an animal scratches or licks you and you are allergic, your skin can become red.
Household pets, such as cats and dogs, are the most common sources of animal allergens.