It’s easy to dismiss other people’s phobias and foibles. When a veterinary dentist in one of my exercise classes freaked out at the sight of a bug, I thought it was nuts that someone who works with animals on a regular basis should be comfortable with one species but not with others. Of course, a travel writer who has no sense of direction — that would be me — is completely normal.
But that got me thinking about pet allergies and how they manifest. In a recent post, I — and several of my commenters — dismissed pet allergies as akin to perfume and grass allergies and not sufficient reason to keep pets out off public transportation. Certainly, pet owners commonly travel with dog and cat hair on their clothing. Is an actual dog or cat in a crate more allergy-causing than a dander-bearing pet owner? More uncomfortable to the pet allergic than perfume is to the scent-sensitive? If so, how can many airlines justify allowing pets in a cabin — even on overseas trips?
My question: How do pet allergies work (for lack of a better way of phrasing it)? I’d love to hear from both allergy sufferers and professionals who know something about the topic.