Is your kid allergic to the family pet? Austin doctor has advice

Simple Health

AUSTIN (KXAN) — There was a rise in pet adoptions during the past year of the pandemic, but there’s been a decline in recent months.

Dr. Alison Humphrey says many times families don’t know if their children are allergic to pets before they adopt.

“I think the main thing for people who are concerned about a pet allergy is to seek out an allergist to get tested before they, no-pun intended, bark up the wrong tree,” said Humphrey.

Dr. Humphrey specializes in allergy immunology at Texas Children’s Specialty Care Austin.

“I think it’s a great idea for anyone considering getting an animal especially if you have an allergic history yourself or if your baby has eczema. It’s better to know a head of time than to incorporate the pet into your family and find out you’re allergic,” said Humphrey.

Dr. Humphrey says skin tests can pinpoint an allergy.

“We just tend to do more limited, focused testing in kids than adults. Our devices are little more gentle,” said Humphrey.

Allergists can then treat the symptoms with medication or help build up a child’s immunity. 

She also debunks some common pet allergy myths.

“The true allergens in animals are their dander or dead skin cells. there are also proteins in their saliva and urine,” said Dr. Humphrey.  “A large misconception is their fur is the allergen.”

Dr. Humphrey suggests talking to you kid’s pediatrician before scheduling an allergy skin test. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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