Life with an allergy to cats raises many questions. Can you have a hypoallergenic cat and enjoy the pet without suffering the symptoms? Here are some answers that will help you learn more about allergies to cats, causes and treatment.
I’m allergic to cats: Causes
Approximately 10% of the US population suffers from pet allergies, the most common allergy to cats. It is twice as common as an allergy to dogs. But the reason is not the wool, as you may think, but the proteins that contain saliva, urine and dead cells.
How can a small protein cause such a violent reaction? The fact is that people with allergies have a very sensitive immune system. Their body recognizes harmful substances, for example, wool, like bacteria or viruses. Symptoms of an allergy are an adverse reaction of an organism which arises at struggle against allergens.
Do not forget that even if you do not have allergies to cats, your cat can call it. He can bring pollen, mold and other allergens from the street.
But what about so called “hypoallergenic” cats? Although it is believed that some breeds of cats, for example the sphinx, are less likely to cause symptoms, any cat can potentially cause an allergy. It does not depend on the breed, the length of the coat and how intensely the cat is shedding. Therefore, if you or your family members are allergic to cats, purchasing a cat is a bad idea, regardless of breed.
Symptoms of cat allergies
Symptoms may include:
- Coughing and wheezing
- Hives or rash on the chest and face
- Redness and irritation of the eyes
- Redness of the skin in place of a scratch, bite or saliva of the cat
- Runny nose and stuffy nose
Symptoms can appear in a few minutes, and after a few hours. Approximately 20-30% of people with allergic asthma experience an exacerbation of symptoms after contact with the cat.
How to identify allergies to cats
Although the symptoms of allergy to cats are obvious, but not always the cause of them is the cat. It is necessary to get a doctor’s confirmation. As a result, you will not unfairly blame a mustached friend.
The doctor may suggest a skin test or a blood test to determine the allergy. But nevertheless, analyzes can not always give a reliable result. The doctor can offer to live without a cat for several months and watch your symptoms.
Treatment of allergies to cats
Standard medications that are used in the treatment of allergies can be used in the treatment of allergies to cats. The doctor can offer:
Antihistamines that block the action of chemicals that cause symptoms. They can be dispensed without a prescription. Some antihistamines are available as a spray.
Decongestants that reduce edema and prevent mucus congestion, which is dispensed without a prescription, and prescription-dispensed.
Other medications that cope with allergy or asthma symptoms in different ways. Steroids that are prescribed by prescription are traditionally used in the treatment of allergies.
One option may be a course of allergic injections. They are not always effective and treatment can last for years. This method is not safe for children under five years of age. But sometimes these injections significantly improve the condition. Discuss with the doctor the possibility of using this method.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to prevent the development of an allergy. Some studies have shown that contact with allergens at an early age can reduce the risk of developing allergies in adulthood. On the other hand, the condition of a child prone to allergies may worsen after contact with allergens.
Contact with allergens
Most allergists believe that although drugs can be effective, the best way to control allergy to cats is to avoid contact with them. Here are some tips:
- Do not touch or kiss the cat.
This is obvious, but some believe that minor contact is allowed, and this is not so.
- Be careful with visitors who have a cat.
Even if guests leave their cats at home, they can bring their own wool, and this can be a big problem for you.
- Plan it.
If you have to stay in a house where there is a cat, ask the owners not to let the animal into the room where you will spend the night, even for a few weeks before your arrival. Start taking the medication a few weeks before. In this way, you can prevent an allergic reaction before it starts.
But what if you already have a cat?
Here is the most unpleasant advice: if your family members have an allergy, there should not be a cat in the house.
Of course, it’s very difficult to take such tough measures. What if your children already loved the kitten? What if your soul mate does not want to be separated from your cat? If the cat still needs to stay, there are some methods that you can use.
- Observe the distance. Limit contact with the cat. Of course, someone other than you should look after the cat and take out the trash.
- Limit some areas of your house from the cat. Do not let the cat roam the minds freely. Never let an animal into the bedroom.
- Keep the cat on the street. That’s how some people cope with an allergy.
- Do a thorough cleaning. Wool cat can be everywhere, you should regularly sweep the floors and wipe the dust, as well as vacuuming. If possible, buy a vacuum cleaner with a highly efficient dry air filter, as conventional filters do not catch allergens. Get rid of the carpet and curtains that can accumulate allergens.
- Clean the air. In this case, the air purifier and the air filter of the ventilation system can be useful.
- Regularly bathe the cat. Experts do not know if the frequency of bathing can affect the number of allergens. You can try bathing a cat more often, it will not affect it negatively, and observe the symptoms.
These methods can be effective, but not sufficient. However cruelly it might sound, if the cat’s content threatens your health or the health of your relatives, you need to get rid of it.
Whatever action you take, do not think that you can wait, and the allergy will pass by itself. Over time, it can worsen. Uncontrolled allergies can adversely affect life and increase the risk of developing asthma, which is a serious disease.
Do not ignore the symptoms of an allergy, but visit a doctor. Together, you can find the most appropriate way to deal with the problem.