8 Myths People Say When Your Baby’s Allergic to Dogs
We’ve met Fictitious Felicia (FF) at least once in our existence. They tell us, “Do this; not that” when they learn something about our lives, such as our baby being allergic to dogs.
But don’t get them wrong. Fictitious Felicias don’t mean any harm. They are just unaware. Most probably, they got their information from their ancestors who passed their beliefs from generation to generation.
This is why I decided to collate these myths I have heard regarding babies who are allergic to dogs.
Myth #1: If your baby is allergic to dogs, you should give up your dog.
This is probably one of the most common pieces of advice I hear when FF meets a baby with dog allergies. “Oh, you should call the nearest shelter to get your dog.” Or “You should give up your dog for adoption. Its presence will aggravate your little one’s condition.”
To that, I say, “Oh, please.”
You don’t have to get rid of your pet. In fact, a recent study in South Korea recommends keeping your furry friend to “develop sensitization” that will prevent the development of asthma.
However, I understand that your baby has allergic reactions, so what you can do, instead, is to keep these reactions at bay.
Here are some ways you can do that:
Minimize the areas your dog can visit.
Keep your baby’s room pet-free.
Use High-Efficiency Particulate Air purifier.
Vacuum your house regularly.
If your dog sleeps in a cage, clean it frequently as well.
Avoid using materials that collect furs such as carpet and fabric.
Bathe your dog regularly.
Let your baby use mask (if she’s old enough)
Wash your hands after touching your pet and before holding your baby.
Myth #2: Allergies appear only when your baby is in close contact with your dog.
The allergen coming from dogs through its dander stays in the indoor environment for a long period, even if your pet is away from home.
No one knows exactly how long allergens stay in a place after the pet is gone and the area cleaned.
Allergist James L. Sublett of American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI) says dog allergy symptoms can take days to manifest. This is particularly true when the exposure is chronic.
Myth #3: If you and your partner are not allergic to dogs, your baby won’t be as well.
There’s this thing we call genetic predisposition. It’s when you or your partner (or both) has allergies, then there’s a 70% chance that your baby will be allergic as well.However, even if none of you are allergic, your baby may still develop allergies, says Animal Planet.
Myth #4: There’s a surefire way to protect your baby from dog allergy.
There’s no proven way to keep your baby from getting a dog allergy. However, there is a way to decrease its chances of developing:
Early exposure is the key to lessening the risk of developing a dog allergy. A study shared by Amanda Gardner via Time magazine concludes, “the teen boys who lived with a dog had a 50 percent lower risk of allergy.”
The South Korean study supports this. According to the researchers:
“Indoor pet exposure during infancy can be critical for developing sensitization to cats or dogs and asthma in childhood. Avoidance of pet exposure in early life may reduce sensitization to cats or dogs and development of asthma.”
Another study notes that exposure to the allergens before your baby turns one or even while she’s still in your womb is more effective than exposure after the first birthday.
Others recommend immunization, but some disagree. To be sure, ask an allergist about it.
Researchers headed by Sally Bloomfield suggested another method to strengthen one’s immune system.
In their study published in 2016, they mentioned using a combination of different strategies such as “social exposure through sport, other outdoor activities, less time spent indoors, diet and appropriate antibiotic use, may help restore the microbiome and perhaps reduce risks of allergic disease.”
Myth #5: Dog allergy symptoms are easy to distinguish.
Dog allergy symptoms are similar to any allergy caused by other allergens such as pollen, dust, or molds. Also, it’s challenging to rule out other possible causes because, as mentioned above, even when your pet is not around, it may still cause allergies.
The best way to know is to have your baby tested by an allergist who may order a skin or blood test.
Myth #6: Dog’s fur causes allergies.
The dog protein that causes allergies (allergen) is found in its saliva, urine, and dander. What its fur does is to merely collect the allergens, including dust, mold, and others.
Myth #7: There are hypoallergenic dogs.
“A truly non-allergic dog or cat does not exist” maintains the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. What some believe to be hypoallergenic is true only for certain people.
AAFA states that some people are more sensitive to some breeds than the others; hence, these people assumed that other breeds do not cause allergies.
But to make it clear, all dogs carry allergens. We just react differently to each one.
Myth #8: Your baby can develop asthma if she has dog allergies.
AAFA says cat allergies may lead to chronic asthma, but it does not mention if dogs have the same effect.
Also, 90% of people with asthma develop allergies, but those with allergies (without asthma at the outset) do not always develop asthma.
If your baby is allergic to dogs, the best way to handle it is to ask an expert about it. Yes, you can do your own research by reading or listening to your Know-All Neighbor, but nothing beats getting medical advice.
Remember that what may be true for me may not always be true for you.