Recently we were on a flight and not one, but two dogs were on it. Now I don’t have a problem with pets on planes, but I am not allergic to them, and unless up close and personal, no one in my family does. However, just as there is currently a lot of controversy over allergy provoking foods on planes, there is some debate about whether pets should be allowed on planes.
In Canada, allergy specialists are arguing that cats should not be allowed on commercial airlines due to the high number of people allergic to cats. Approximately 10 percent of people are allergic to cats, and even having them nearby can bring on the allergy symptoms.
According to a recent news article,
“for now, cats still are allowed on Canadian aircraft. In the U.S., all major carriers allow them. In Europe, a recent Swiss study found cat dander present on 100 percent of airline seats tested, even if no cat was aboard.”
Dog hair and dander can be just as rampant, though dogs are not allowed on the flight over a certain amount of pounds; they are transported in another area of the plane. However, I think this is a dangerous topic to get into as there are so many debatable points. For instance, what about service animals. These have to be allowed, and I think their precedence overrides those with animal allergies. Yes, they are allowed many places where other animals aren’t, but they do still have hair and dander.
Perhaps airlines could instill “animal free zones” similar to the peanut zones many are implementing. Certain sections will be deemed able to have small dogs and cats ride there while others will be for those who don’t want to be around animals. What happens, though, when someone who has a cat or dog sits next to someone with an allergy? I know I usually some sort of dog hair on me as I have a golden retriever. But that is not controllable. All the limits can be set and then someone with cat hair all over his coat sits down next to someone allergic and the sneezing begins. There is nothing to do.
It’s all part of the dangers, the annoyances and the uncontrollability of allergies. We never know who may have just eaten a peanut butter sandwich of a handful of cashew nuts, who has been hugging their dog goodbye or rubbing their cat behind his ears.
We just have to be aware, on guard and know what is around us and dangerous and what to do. Keep those antihistamines on hand!