If you're allergic to dogs, you might only be allergic to males, according to a new study

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America says three in 10 people with other allergies will also have pet allergies. Up to 20% of the population have pet allergies, which means that having a four-legged friend isn't always feasible. There are many health benefits to dog ownership, like such as higher survival rates in the instance of a heart attack, and as it turns out, you might not have to forgo the companionship and benefits of having a dog just because you're allergic. You might not be allergic to all dogs.


Dog breeds that don't shed or are hairless are believed to be "hypoallergenic," but that's not necessarily the case. Pet allergies aren't triggered by animal hair. Proteins in the, saliva, and dander of cats and dogs are what actually cause allergic reactions. "Up to 30% of people who are allergic to dogs are actually allergic to one specific protein that's made in the prostate of a dog," Dr. Lakiea Wright, an allergist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, explained to CNN.

RELATED: The creator of the labradoodle says he made a mistake

So far, six specific dog allergens have been identified, and yes, it's totally possible to be allergic to one dog protein and not the others. In other words, someone who has dog allergies might not have reactions to certain dog breeds – and even genders. So, it's totally possible to still get a dog. "If you're allergic to only that specific protein in the male dog, you may be able to tolerate a female or a neutered dog," Wright told CNN.

Male dogs produce a specific protein called Can f 5. The protein, which is made in the prostate, spreads to dog's hair and skin when they urinate. "These proteins are very lightweight, so they get dispersed in the air as the animal moves around," Wright told CNN. "They can also stay in the air for a long time and land on our furniture, mattress, even our clothes."

Allergists can test for allergies to Can f 5 through a blood test or skin prick. "When we suspect a dog allergy, we're testing for that whole allergen," Wright told CNN. "But then we're also looking at specific proteins, the parts that make up the whole, to refine that diagnoses."

RELATED: Man pulls off elaborate scheme involving body double to get his overweight cat on an airplane

Interestingly, dog ownership might actually prevent the development of future allergies. Studies have found that exposure to a dog before the age of one might protect against future allergies, and that being around dogs can lower children's risk of asthma.

Fortunately, not all dogs are boys and not all cats are girls, so it's totally possible to get a girl dog that doesn't make you cough and sneeze.

True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.