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Photo: Yuliya Evstratenko (Shutterstock) Discovering that anyone in the home—but particularly one of the kids—is allergic to the family pet can be upsetting. Our pets are members of our family, so discovering that their mere presence is negatively impacting the health or physical comfort of your child creates a stressful situation. But if it happens, and provided the allergy isn’t severe, there are steps you can take to ease your child’s symptoms without resorting to rehoming the animal. If you have young kids and you’re still deciding whether to bring a new pet home—and you have a strong history of allergies in your family—you may want to wait until they’re old enough to confirm whether they have a pet allergy themselves. If an animal allergy is suspected, it’s a good idea to expose the child to the pet a few times to watch for symptoms before committing to an adoption. Keep in mind, though, that it can take months of exposure before allergy symptoms appear. If you already have a pet that is causing your child to sneeze and wheeze, there are some things you can do to help manage the situation. Make sure the animal really is the problem Pet allergy symptoms are caused by proteins found in the animal’s skin cells (dander), saliva, or urine. They can include sneezing; coughing; a runny nose; itchy, red, or watery eyes; nasal congestion; itchy nose, roof of mouth, or throat; postnasal drip; facial pressure and pain; and swollen, blue-colored skin […]