By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /

This episode of Scishow is brought to you
by Blinkist If you’re allergic to cats or dogs, life
can be tough. Sometimes, all you wanna do is snuggle with
a puppy, but instead you’re sneezing and wheezing. An allergic reaction comes from your immune
system overreacting to things like pet dander, the microscopic flakes of dead skin and hair
they shed, or their saliva. But pets can get allergies, too. And while it’s rare, dogs and cats can even
be allergic to each other, or to us — more specifically, to human dander. No matter who’s sneezing at whom, the basic
science behind allergies in pets is the same as in people. Basically, the immune system confuses a harmless
allergen, like cat dander, for a dangerous invader and attacks. It releases antibodies, which are proteins
that detect and bind to the allergen, then sends a signal to other immune cells to release
inflammatory molecules like histamine. Inflammation irritates the sensitive tissues
that line the insides of your nose, respiratory system, eyes, and skin. And that makes you all sneezy and itchy and
eye-watery. Just like us, our pets can be allergic to
a variety of things, like pollen, grasses, mold, and food. One study from 2014 looked at about a hundred
dogs that were having an allergic reaction to something, and found that about half of
them were sensitive to house dust and dust mites, little critters that eat dead skin. But that’s not because dust is mostly made
of human skin. If you’ve heard that before, it’s a common
misconception. House dust is mostly made of dirt that comes
in through open doors or windows, or on the bottom of your shoes. But you do shed some dead skin, and some experts
think there are rare instances of pets that are specifically allergic to human dander. When a dog is allergic to something, whether
it’s you or dust mites, they often develop a condition called atopic dermatitis, or itchy,
red, swollen skin. Cats can also get itchy skin or can lose patches
of fur. Their allergies are also likely to cause inflammation
in their respiratory tracts, which makes them sneeze and cough. It’s common enough that feline asthma affects
about 1% of the cat population. Luckily, vets are great at diagnosing and
treating allergies, so there’s no need to say goodbye to your furry friend. To test for allergies, vets can do blood tests
that measure the amount of antibodies in the blood, or a skin test, which is more sensitive
and has quicker results. For a skin test, the vet scrapes or injects
a small amount of allergen on or in the skin to see if it causes a reaction. If it does, they can treat the allergy with
shots or oral medication. Just like in humans, these treatments expose
animals to small amounts of allergen, slowly increasing the concentration over time so
their immune systems can build up a tolerance and stop freaking out. So if you notice your pet breaking out in
a rash or sneezing after you cuddle them, they may be allergic to you… but it’s
most likely some other allergen, like pollen or dust. Because even for our furry friends, allergies
can be a little… ruff. If you have allergies that prevent you from
cuddling up to a cute dog or cat, you might distract yourself instead by cuddling up to
a good book. But what if you’re short on time, or want
to know if a book is really up your alley before you dive in? Blinkist is a new app that lets you cram the
world’s bestselling nonfiction books into your brain in 15 minutes. It basically gives you a superpower by framing
a book’s key concepts so that you get the gist of all those books you just don’t have
time to read. Blinkist titles, or Blinks, are presented
in both audio and text format, so you can listen on your walk to work, or read them
on the ride home, using apps for iOS and Android devices, or their website. Over 2,200 books are already on Blinkist,
and 40 new titles are added each month. I’ve been thinking about reading The Immortal
Life of Henrietta Lacks, and checking it out on Blinkist first was a great way to vet the
story. Blinkist is offering an exclusive deal for
SciShow viewers, so to support this channel and receive 20% off a new subscription, click
the link in the description. Anyone can try out Blinkist for free, but
we think you’ll find the full subscription totally worth it.

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