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The dander shed by furry friends can cause symptoms in susceptible people. But for reasons not completely understood, some allergic people are OK around certain breeds. While there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog, some breeds, such as poodles and Portuguese water dogs (the breed President Obama's family chose because of daughter Malia's allergies), produce less dander. To test how you or your child fare around a particular breed, visit a friend or family member who has a pet to see how you feel, suggests Martha White, an AAAAI fellow and research director at the Institute for Asthma & Allergy, a private practice in Maryland with offices in Wheaton and Chevy Chase. Spend 30 minutes or more around the pet, then watch for allergy symptoms for the next day or so. Some allergic people can't be around any pets without getting sick.
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