The term “hypoallergenic” was first used in a cosmetics campaign in 1953. Since then, it has been used to describe anything from pillows to pet breeds. However, what does hypoallergenic really mean?

Hypoallergenic is commonly used to mean “void of allergens”, however the prefix “hypo” means under, beneath, or less than normal. Hypoallergenic implies a less likely allergic reaction, but it should not be taken to mean “void of any allergic reactions”. It should also be noted that there is no standard from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) here in the United States to prove a product is hypoallergenic. If you are worried about a product containing an allergen you will react to, the safest thing is to read the label in search of the allergen, do not simply trust the “hypoallergenic” label.

But I Have A Hypoallergenic Pet!

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic pet. Certain breeds are labelled as such because they do not shed. The idea is that if a pet does not shed or has no hair, they will not cause any allergic reactions. Unfortunately, you can find allergens not only on the hair of pets, but also in their saliva and urine. A pet that sheds less may help alleviate allergies, but there is no guarantee that no allergic reactions will occur. Allergies do not necessarily have to stop you from keeping or getting a pet. There are ways to minimize allergic reactions so that having a pet will not impede on your health.

The word hypoallergenic can cause confusion and can be misleading. However, there are products and tricks you can use to lower your risk of allergic reactions. An allergist can assist you in treating your allergies and keeping your furry friends. National Allergy & ENT has 4 providers who specialize in treating allergies and an ENT who can aid you with your sinus issues. To schedule an appointment please call (843) 797-8162 or schedule online.