Pet Allergy Tolerance: Does It Exist, And Can It Work For You?

There are thousands of people out there with pet allergies. They have these allergies, but they also have an unyielding desire to have a pet, too. If you fall into this category of people, there may be some hope. Some people who are completely unaware of the fact that they have a pet allergy seem to do perfectly well with a pet in the house! Here is how that came about.

Building up a Tolerance 

Some people can spend years living with an animal in the house and never realize that they have a pet allergy at all. The key is early exposure to said pet. As an infant and as a toddler, you have limited physical contact with the pet as the pet tends to stay away from you.

However, the pet leaves behind dander and fur. You are exposed to small quantities of dander and fur, and you gradually build up a tolerance. That does not mean you are cured of the allergy; it simply means that you do not have a lot of the symptoms associated with an allergy and the allergen does not bother you quite so much.

Building a Tolerance as an Adult

If you did not build up a tolerance as a child, it is a little more difficult as an adult. That is not to say that it cannot be done. It is only to serve as a reminder that you should not expect the exact same results since an adult's immune system has already fully matured and adapted. To build a tolerance as an adult, the exposure to a pet has to be very slow and steady.

The pet cannot be allowed to wander the house for the first several months. Gradual increases in time spent petting the animal or just getting close to it is how you want to do this. In the meantime, you may have to continue taking your allergy medication if your symptoms make it impossible for you to breathe.

Some Success or No Success

The success rate of gradual exposure to an allergen varies from one person to the next. Pet allergies can be controlled in a variety of ways, including keeping the pet in a crate or pen when you are not going through exposure sessions. Eventually, you want to be able to tolerate the pet and still be able to breathe. If you never get that far, even with medication as a backup method, you can consider exposure therapy for pet allergies a bust.