MNN Galleries

10 common allergy myths

By: Katherine Butler on June 2, 2011, 7:54 a.m.
close-up of sleeping cats

Photo: mizuo_fiat/Flickr

7 of 12

Pet fur triggers allergies

A pet allergy, by definition, “is an allergic reaction to proteins found in an animal's skin cells, saliva or urine.” People are most commonly affected by the dead skin cells, or dander, that an animal sheds. While animals with fur can incite reactions, sufferers are not actually reacting to their fur. According to the Mayo Clinic, an allergic reaction to a pet usually resembles hay fever with symptoms of sneezing, running nose and asthma. Pet allergies are also common among people who suffer from other allergies. As the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America reports, “from 15 percent to 30 percent of people with allergies have allergic reactions to cats and dogs.”