Have you ever found yourself with swollen eyes after petting a dog? You know, the kind of puffiness that no amount of cucumber masks or mascara can hide?
If so, you’re not alone! Almost a fifth of the American population is allergic to pets, and swollen eyes are an unfortunate and common symptom of pet allergies.
However, there are things you can do to avoid getting puffy allergy eyes, and ways to take care of an allergic reaction once it begins. Ready to rid yourself of swollen, watery allergy eyes? Read on!
What causes dog allergies?
Before we can talk about taking care of dog allergies, it’s a good idea to discuss why allergies exist. After all, you can’t control something you don’t understand!
Allergies aren’t really the fault of your dog or its dander… they’re caused by your body. That’s why some people have dog allergies and others don’t. It depends on how your body responds to the proteins found in your dog’s skin, saliva, and urine.
Although dander is actually harmless to the human body, some people’s immune systems don’t seem to be aware of this fact. Allergy symptoms are due to the immune system launching into full attack mode.
When your immune system encounters dog dander, it sees it as a threat and treats it like it would a real pathogen, such as the flu virus. That’s why you feel like you’re sick when you have an allergic reaction—your body is giving essentially the same response.
Why do your eyes get puffy when you have an allergic reaction?
One of the most annoying allergy symptoms is swollen eyes. Not only do they itch and make wearing contacts uncomfortable, but they make people wonder if you’re sick or have been crying.
Explaining your allergies all the time can get old! Why does this have to happen when you come in contact with a dog?
Swollen eyes actually have two causes. The first has to do with your tears. Pet dander is light, and it floats in the air. Not only does this make you breathe it in, but it also causes pet dander to land right in your eyes and dissolve in your tears.
When this happens, your sensitive eyelids are in constant contact with the allergen and become inflamed.
Secondly, swollen, watery eyes are a result of your immune system releasing histamine, which is what makes your nose run and your eyes water.
How can you fix “allergy eyes?”
The most obvious way to fix your swollen eyes is to get rid of the allergen. If you’re allergic to dogs, but don’t own a dog, then you shouldn’t have a hard time avoiding dog dander. Sure, it’s hard to resist snuggling every dog you see, but keeping your hands off these furry creatures will help you avoid puffy allergy eyes!
If you do have a dog in your home, then you will have to take measures to keep your home as dander-free as possible. You’ll never get all the dander out of your home, since it’s pretty much impossible to remove it completely, but you can cut down on the amount floating in the air or coating your sofa.
First, be sure to keep your house clean. While vacuuming can kick up a lot of dust and dander into the air, you should vacuum fairly regularly, and always while wearing a mask. After particles have had a chance to settle, dust your furniture.
Keeping clutter and decorations to a minimum will help you in this process. Also, wash your upholstery and bedding. Any fabric in your house harbors dander, and washing it regularly can keep too much from embedding in your sheets or couch covers.
Secondly, purify the air. Since dander floats through the air, you can trap and remove a lot of it before it ever settles onto the furniture or the floor. A high-quality air filter can remove a lot of dander and give your poor eyes some relief.
Third, tackle dander before it leaves your pet. Washing your dog has minimal benefit in the long-run, but it still helps to send allergens down the drain before they flake off and head for your sinuses.
Using a moisturizing shampoo not only keeps your dog happy and healthy, but also reduces shedding of both hair and dander. A hair-trapping brush, used outside, can also cut down on the dander in your home.
If it’s too late for your eyes and your allergic reaction has already begun, then it’s time to take action for the sake of your comfort!
Begin by washing your face to get allergens off your skin and out of your eyes. Once you’ve rinsed your face and your eyes, use some eye drops for relief and place a cold compress over your eyes to reduce the swelling.
Medications can also work wonders to reduce allergy eyes. Using an antihistamine can dramatically reduce the swelling around your eyes, since it fights one of the symptoms causing puffiness.
It’s also highly recommended to make an appointment with your allergist or primary care physician in order to get an allergy medicine prescription.
Your doctor can test you to see what you’re sensitive to, and prescribe the right medication for you. If you follow his or her instructions, your swollen eyes will look and feel much better.
Allergies are no fun, and swollen eyes are one of the most irritating symptoms! Give yourself a break from the itching, and an extra boost of confidence, by tackling the problem. Whether you solution is avoidance of animals or medication, there are many ways to treat your swollen allergy eyes.