Pet Allergies: Symptoms Causes And What To Do
You love your pet like a member of the family, but what happens when your pet triggers your allergy symptoms? You want to keep living with your pet, but not if that means an itchy, runny nose, congestion, coughing and sneezing all the time. What do you do?
The good news is that its possible to get some relief from your pet allergy without giving up your beloved dog or cat. Its important to understand the causes and symptoms of pet allergies so you can work with an experienced allergist to develop a customized treatment plan.
If you believe you have a pet allergy, this is the article for you. In it, well go over the causes of pet allergies, as well as whether these can just appear one day out of the blue. Well also talk about symptoms and ways you can manage your pet allergies with the help of an allergist.
Bathing Your Cat Reduces Allergens
Bathing your cat regularly can help reduce allergens from your cats fur dander.
Cat allergens are found mainly in the saliva of cats, which is transferred to the fur by licking.
Washing your cat twice a week, then rinsing, may not be feasible, and your cat may not like the idea.
Instead, consider giving your cat a milk bath, which is more acceptable to cats.
Regular baths will reduce the amount of allergens on your cat by 60 to 80 percent.
To make bathing your cat more convenient, consider using cat wipes, which are alcohol and fragrance-free and can be used with distilled water.
Avoid using baby wipes as they are toxic to cats. Also, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling your cat.
You should also make sure to keep your cat off of your furniture and bedroom, as these can trap allergens.
If possible, try to keep your cat off of the carpet, rugs, and furniture.
In addition, avoid using rugs and fabrics to clean your cat. If you cant avoid these materials, try to use hard floors.
The best way to determine if your cat is suffering from allergies is to check his skin for redness, itchiness, or bald spots.
If he has any of these symptoms, a bath can help soothe him.
If your cat is licking his skin frequently, it could mean that he has an allergy.
Bathing your cat regularly can reduce these allergens and provide relief from the discomfort caused by allergic reactions.
How Often Should Cleaning Be Done To Prevent The Spread Of Allergens
It is a must to clean the house regularly, especially where the pet usually stays. A vacuum cleaner is the most efficient way of gathering allergens as it takes little effort to do so.
Additionally, wiping surfaces with a damp rag helps dander gather and stick easily, preventing them from spreading to other surfaces.
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Combating Cat Allergies: How To Tame Reactions To Furry Friends
A company in Switzerland recently published research citing positive outcomes for a new vaccine that would protect against cat allergies. Administered to the cat rather than the patient, it would provide long-term relief for allergy sufferers. However, its too early to say if and when this vaccine will be available. In the meantime, understanding the basics of cat allergies can help patients alleviate their symptoms and hold on to their beloved pets.
People are not born with cat allergies. Instead, patients have a genetic predisposition and a set of risk factors that heighten their chances of becoming sensitized to a particular allergen, according to Sumona Kabir, DO, a board-certified allergist at Allergy Associates of La Crosse.
If an individual is high-risk for a cat allergy, the more exposure he or she has to cats, the more likely an allergic response will develop, says Dr. Kabir. This can be unfortunate because some owners will develop an allergy after adopting a pet.
People with cat allergies react to the proteins in the cats saliva, urine, and dried flakes of skin or dandernot the fur itself as many believe.
Because cat dander is finer and lighter than a dogs, it tends to impact a greater number of people.
What are the symptoms?
It can be difficult to determine if the allergy is the result of cat dander because sometimes cats are carriers of pollen, mold or other allergensand not the direct culprit, Dr. Kabir says.
How to manage cat allergies
Picking The Right Breed
To have the greatest success it’s important to choose the right breed of cat to own. Several breeds of cat have far fewer allergy inducing dander and skin than other breeds. Cats that are safer for owners include Cornish Rexes, LaPerm, Oriental Shorthairs, and Devon Rex. These breeds are safer to own than other breeds when you are allergic to dander, because their fur has fewer layers. This means that there is less dander and less fur to fly around, so people with dander allergies are able to tolerate them much better.
The Sphinx cat, which is nearly hairless is one of the most popular breeds for people with dander allergies, while the Siberian is less likely to cause allergies for people allergic to the glycoprotein found in the saliva and skin, because their saliva has very low levels of Fel D1. There are nohypoallergenic cats cats that have been bred to show distinctive hypoallergenic traits, such as a lack of the allergy causing protein or different fur. Be wary of breeders or pet shops who make this claim.
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How Does A Doctor Diagnose An Animal/pet Allergy
When you have moderate-to-severe allergies, it is best to see a board-certified allergist. Your doctor will diagnose a pet or animal allergy based on your medical history, symptoms, a physical exam, and allergy test results. Allergy testing is the best way find out if you allergic to a specific animal type. Your doctor can use either a blood test or skin test to help get a diagnosis.
You can develop allergies at any time. And allergies can change over time. It is possible you were not allergic to your dog in the past, but you are now.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America advocates for equal rights for people with asthma and allergies on planes. Our advocacy helped put new rules into place on U.S. airlines that limit emotional support animals on planes. But there is still more work to do to make flying a safer environment for people with pet allergies. Join our community to receive AAFA Advocacy Action Alerts. You will receive updates on this issue, as well as other legislation that affects people with asthma and allergies!
Think Before Getting A Cat
If you have cat allergies, please think twice before committing to getting and caring for a cat. Your allergies might affect them too.
If you need to limit contact with them or keep them quarantined in small areas of the house just to keep yours, or someone elses, allergies at bay, then you might not be able to give them the loving environment or attention they need and deserve.
Not everyone has this luxury, as allergies can develop long after a cat has been welcomed into your family. This can mean making the heart-wrenching decision to rehome your cat due to a cat dander allergy. Hopefully, these tips can help to prevent this.
Are you allergic to your cat but determined to make it work anyway? Share your tips and tricks on how to get rid of cat dander in the comments.
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Can You Get Used To Cat Allergies
Many patients ask, Can’t I just live with my cat? Won’t my immune system become tolerant because Im being exposed? Unfortunately, thats not the case. Because the amount of cat dander youre exposed to when a cat is in your environment varies. Oftentimes, the levels of allergens are high enough to cause your immune system to react. And if its responding to the allergen, its not becoming tolerant.
With immunotherapy, you start with a trace amount, and the body doesnt react. Gradually, your dose increases, building up your immune system until the body becomes desensitized.
What Are The Symptoms Of Cat Allergies
Cat allergy symptoms are similar to those caused by other environmental allergens. Some of the most common include:
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Hives or skin rash
Cat allergies can also cause difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. And for those with asthma and cat allergies, being around a feline increases the risk of triggering an asthma attack.
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Am I Allergic To Cat Hair
To help you understand how these new treatments would work, let me quickly break down cat allergies.
If you are amongst the 1 in 5 people worldwide who suffer a range of allergic symptoms when youre near a cator even near someone who has a catyour allergies are actually NOT caused by the animals fur.
This is why a short-haired cat likely invokes the same allergic response as a long-haired Persian cat.
The culprit behind your sneezing and wheezing and puffy eyes is a protein in a cats saliva and sebaceous glands . That glycoprotein is called Fel d1.
When cats groom themselves, some hairs break loose and become airborne. The offending protein in the salivathat Fel d1 allergenis carried on the hairs, so they become distribution vehicles for the potent allergen thats causing your inflammatory response.
What Gets Rid Of Allergies Fast
One potential method of reducing allergies is to use an elimination diet. This means that the person eliminates all of the allergens from their diet for a period of time, usually around two weeks.
After the elimination period, the person can reintroduce one allergen at a time and see how they react. This method can help identify which allergens are causing the allergies and allow for a more targeted approach to managing them.
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Do Cat Allergies Get Worse Over Time
If youre allergic to cats, its possible for your allergies to get worse with time. When you see your allergist, you should discuss your symptoms, including when they began and when they seemed to get worse. If you have a cat allergy, its important to keep in mind that cats are not the only animals that can cause an allergic reaction. Other animals, such as dogs, can also cause allergic reactions.
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Clean Your Home Thoroughly And Frequently
Once youve confirmed youre allergic to cats, you can start taking action to reduce cat allergens in your home. Because the allergens cats produce can become airborne and easily stick to surfaces around your home, regular and thorough cleanings are essential to managing your allergy symptoms. Here are just a few cleaning items you can do to reduce the number of cat allergens in your home.
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Where Can I Receive Pet Allergy Treatment
Portland Urgent Care provides a variety of allergy treatments to improve your life. We can help with symptoms like asthma, sinus pressure, headaches or migraines, sore throat, fatigue, cough, sneezing, congestion, runny nose, nasal congestion, rash, and much more. First, we will test for allergens and work with you to reduce or eliminate symptoms with a plan tailored to your allergies.
Treatment Of Skin Allergy In Cats
Now that we are clear about different cat allergies lets talk about how to get rid of cat allergies naturally. So, what treatments are possible? You must first find the exact cause of the allergy. If you can get the allergy type, it is pretty easy to treat them. You can use medicines or other possible solutions. Lets pick up the procedures.
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How Do You Treat Pet Allergies
The most effective treatment for pet allergies is to avoid animals completely. However, if you cannot or will not avoid animals, you have a few treatment methods available.
First, you can use nasal sprays, antihistamines, and bronchodilators to relieve symptoms, but this will not fix the problem long-term. You may need to try a variety of options to find out which one works best for you. Also, consider combining medications such as nasal sprays and antihistamines. Speak to your doctor if you are taking other medicines.
Second, you can get allergy shots to slowly reduce symptoms with time. Taking allergy shots includes weekly injections of allergens over a period of three to ten years. Another option is to create a pet-free zone in your home. Use HEPA purifiers to reduce airborne allergens. If you can, keep animals outside and out of the house completely.
Homeopathy remedies can offer some relief too. Local honey can help in some cases, as can essential oils. Vitamin C can improve the immune system and may offer mild support for pet allergies. Always talk to your doctor before trying new treatments.
Always Consult A Doctor First
Before trying any of the suggestions listed above, consult your doctor. And if you plan to adjust your cats diet or lifestyle, talk to your vet.
Some people with more serious issues, such as asthmatic reactions to cats, shouldnt try exposure therapy because they might have a very severe response. So make sure you talk to your doctor and get an allergy test first.
Have you or anyone you know been able to overcome an allergy to cats? What helped you reduce symptoms? Let us know in the comments below!
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What Is Cat Dander
Dander is highly mobile in an enclosed environment, like a house. Even in a separate room, dander could still provoke a reaction. But what is pet dander?
Dander is tiny skin particles that fluff off of your cat. They end up on surfaces like furniture, carpet, and clothing. They also float in the air that you breathe in, which is one of the reasons that cat dander usually causes an immediate reaction from people with a cat dander allergy.
Shedding dead skin is a natural part of the skin cell cycle in healthy cats, but dander will worsen in cats with poor skin and coat health, those that reside in unhealthy environments, and those eating a poor quality diet.
Are Any Cats Hypoallergenic
Despite popular belief, hypoallergenic cats dont exist. All cats produce allergens, no matter their breed, age or sex. Even hairless cats produce Fel d 1, the major cat allergen. The allergen that is produced in the cats saliva is spread onto skin and hair during grooming, and even hairless cats will shed dander with allergen on it.
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Use A Hepa Air Purifier
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How Can I Prevent Allergies From Cats
There are common strategies to help you reduce allergens from cats, such as the following tips:
- Dont let cats in your bedroom. Its better to keep this space as dander-free as possible.
- Wash your hands after touching cats to make sure you dont transfer allergens onto yourself.
- Remove carpets and clean walls frequently. It is easier to keep wooden or tile flooring dander-free. Regular cleaning of walls will help reduce allergens.
- Cover heating and air vents with a filtering material, such as cheesecloth, so that cat hair doesnt get into the vents.
- Install a whole-house air filter, preferably a high-efficiency particulate absorbing filter.
- Change filters on air conditioning units and furnaces frequently.
- Keep the humidity level in your home at about 40 percent. This makes it difficult for allergens to travel in the air.
- Vacuum weekly with a HEPA filter vacuum.
- Use a face mask while dusting or cleaning to prevent allergens from traveling to your lungs.
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What Causes An Allergy To Cats
While it is commonly thought that cat hair causes allergy symptoms, the truth is more complex its whats on the hair that is the issue. In fact cat allergies is caused by a protein produced in a cats saliva and sebaceous glands, which is then spread onto the cats hair and skin during grooming. Whenever a cat sheds their fur, hair and dander , the sticky protein attached is transferred into the environment. This often leads to the allergy symptoms you experience be it coughing, sneezing or watering eyes!
However, cat hair can also act as a carrier of other airborne allergens: pollen, dust mites and mould, which can also cause allergic symptoms in individuals with hay fever, asthma or eczema
Pet Allergy: Are You Allergic To Dogs Cats Or Other Animals
About 7 out of 10 of households in the United States have a pet.1 But many people have animal allergies, especially people who have other allergies or asthma. Allergies to cats and dogs affect 10 to 20% of the worlds population.2
Allergies to pets with fur, such as cats and dogs, are common. Even rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, ferrets, and horses can cause allergy symptoms. People can also be allergic to animals with feathers .
When you have a pet allergy, you are not allergic to the pets hair, fur, or feathers. You are allergic to the protein that is found in the pets dander saliva, and urine. The hair, fur, or feathers collect the dander. It can also carry other allergens like dust mites, mold, and pollen. When those proteins get into your airways, eyes, nose, mouth, or on your skin, it triggers allergy symptoms.
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