Reducing Exposure To Cats
While medical treatment can help control cat allergies, the best approach is simple: avoid cats and their dander. Here are some tips.
- Don’t touch, hug, or kiss cats. It should be obvious, but some people think a little cat contact is OK. It isn’t.
- Beware of visitors who own cats. Even if your house guests leave their cats at home, they can bring the dander with them on their clothing and luggage. This indirect exposure can cause serious cat allergy symptoms in some people.
- Plan. If you have to stay in a house with cats, ask that the cat be kept out of the room in which you will sleep for a few weeks before you arrive. Also, start taking allergy medication a few weeks beforehand. Once an allergic reaction gets started, it can be tough to control. But taking medicine can prevent it from happening in the first place.
But what if you already own a cat? Here’s the most sensible advice: if you or a family member has cat allergies, you shouldn’t have a cat in the home.
Of course, such harsh advice may not be easy to follow. What if your kids have already fallen in love with a kitten? What if you intended to never, ever part with your cat? If the cat has to stay, there are other things you can try.
While these techniques might help, they may not be enough. As hard as it might be, if keeping your cat is putting your health — or a family member’s health — at risk, you have to consider giving it up.
How To Diagnose And Treat Flea Allergies In Cats
This article was co-authored by Deanne Pawlisch, CVT, MA. Deanne Pawlisch is a Certified Veterinary Technician, who does corporate training for veterinary practices and has taught at the NAVTA-approved Veterinary Assistant Program at the Harper College in Illinois and in 2011 was elected to the board of the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Foundation. Deanne has been a Board Member of the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Foundation in San Antonio, Texas since 2011. She holds a BS in Anthropology from Loyola University and an MA in Anthropology from Northern Illinois University. This article has been viewed 12,185 times.
If your cat has flea allergies, it is important to take your cat to a veterinarian who can diagnose and treat the problem as soon as possible. The common symptoms of flea allergies also appear in cats affected by other skin conditions, so diagnosis can be difficult unless it is performed by a veterinarian. Once you know youre dealing with flea allergies, you can take steps to rid your home and your pet of fleas. Ask your vet for prescription medications that will relieve your cats itchiness.
What Is Rast Testing
A RAST test, or radioallergosorbent test, is a blood test that can be used to determine whether a cat is allergic to certain antigens. This test is often performed as part of the workup for atopy in cats.
Allergy testing allows you and your veterinarian to determine which allergens may be triggering your cats atopy, allowing you to formulate a plan to address these allergies.
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Pet Allergy
Cat and dog allergens can land on the membranes that line the eyes and nose. Reactions include swelling and itching of the membranes, stuffy nose and inflamed eyes. A pet scratch or lick can cause the skin area to become red. It is common to get itchy eyes after petting an animal then touching your eyes.
If allergen levels are low or sensitivity is minor, symptoms may not appear until after several days of contact with the pet.
Many airborne particles are small enough to get into the lungs. For some, this exposure can cause severe breathing problems. Highly sensitive people can begin coughing, wheezing and have shortness of breath within 15 to 30 minutes of inhaling allergens. Sometimes highly sensitive people also get an intense rash on the face, neck and upper chest.
Contact with a cat can trigger a severe asthma episode in up to three in ten people with asthma. Cat allergies also can lead to chronic asthma.
When Allergy Testing Is Appropriate
Allergy testing is usually performed on people with suspected allergic rhinitis , asthma or reactions to insects or foods. In people with allergic rhinitis or asthma, allergy testing usually includes house dust mite, cat and dog dander , mould spores, pollen from relevant grasses, weeds or trees and in some cases, occupational allergens. Testing can also be used to confirm suspected allergies to foods, stinging insects and some medicines.
It is important to note that:
- Allergy test results cannot be used on their own and must be considered together with your clinical history.
- Medicare rebates are available for skin prick tests or blood tests for allergen specific IgE in Australia.
- In some cases, you may be referred to a clinical immunology/allergy specialist for further detailed assessment.
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Strands Pet Intolerance Test
View On AmazonIf you want to know which food ingredients make your pup scratch, bite his paws, rub his face or have general discomforts, the 5Strands Pet Intolerance Test Kit is the best choice.
This test is designed to help you on an elimination diet. It tests for 255 food ingredients and preservatives and 100 environmental items. It uses a hair sample collection method and Bioresonance technology to identify temporary imbalances that cause stomach upset, headache, bloating, itching, and other common allergy symptoms.
Other Skin Testing Methods
Intradermal testing should not be used to test for allergy to inhalants or foods. Instradermal testing was used in the past, however it is less reliable than skin prick testing, and causes much greater discomfort. Intradermal skin testing may be used to test for allergies to antibiotic drugs or stinging insect venom, when greater sensitivity is needed.
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What Is Pet Allergy
About 1 in 5 people have a pet allergy. Most are allergic to cats or dogs, but you can also be allergic to other domestic animals, such as guinea pigs, mice, rats, horses and birds. Allergies are particularly common in people who handle pets as part of their job. Some people are allergic to more than one animal.
People with a pet allergy are also likely to have other allergies for example, to pollen and dust mites. Pet allergies can develop at any time during childhood or adulthood, but some people will grow out of them.
How To Decrease Cat Allergies
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Should I Keep My Cat If I’m Allergic To It
There is not a single correct answer to this question. But before you decide whether to keep your cat, you must make sure that it is your cat causing the allergic reaction. You don’t want to go through the stress and upset of rehoming a much loved pet if your allergic reaction is caused by dust mites.
You have to decide whether the severity of your allergic reaction means you need to re-home your cat.
In some cases, the symptom-easing tips included above are enough to make living with a cat sustainable, but other people find that their allergic reaction makes living with a cat unbearable.
What To Expect From Your Pet Allergy Test
There are two types of tests that are useful at confirming a pet allergy. The first is a skin prick test where a small amount of the relevant allergen is put onto the forearm and a gentle scratch made with a lancet. In the next few minutes, a little red bump will develop due to histamine release. The larger this is, the more likely it is that you have an allergy to that pet. An alternative test is a blood test which looks for the level of allergic antibody to a specific animal in the bloodstream. Again, the higher the level, the more likely it is that there is an allergy. It is important to remember that these tests do have to be interpreted carefully in the context of symptoms that develop. If you do not get symptoms when you go near the pet even if the level on the test is high, it is unlikely to represent a genuine allergy. The tests essentially help confirm what the clinical history already strongly suggests.
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Everything You Need To Know About Airborne Pet Dander Test Kits Air Quality Monitors And The Benefits Of Testing The Air In Your Home Along With Tips To Control And Reduce Airborne Pet Dander
Anyone with a pet at home has pet dander. In fact, even humans produce dander, which is just dead skin cells. Pets often get blamed for dander, but people also shed dander, both of which accumulate to high levels in a home contributing to allergies, says Caroline Blazovsky, the president of My Healthy Home. Pet dander often gets blamed for the allergies, but its really the proteins produced by the animal in their saliva and urine that is the real culprit.
How Do YouTest for It?Ernie Penachio, the executive director of manufacturing operations and facilities at Acorda Therapeutics, is an expert in airborne particulates tiny things such as dust and dander floating in the air. He says you can monitor for airborne particulates, such as pet dander, via air samplers.
There are two types of air samplers that can be used to monitor the quality of air. One measures air particulates bits of stuff. It is typically placed in the location that needs to be monitored and draws air through the device. The other measures mold spores and bacteria. It functions like the air sampler but then uses a petri dish instead. Air is drawn through the apparatus and contacts the petri dish. The dish is then placed in an incubator for growth promotion of biological contaminants germs and mold, basically.
Both suggest the following:
Removing The Allergen From Your Environment
Your healthcare provider should be able to assist you with methods for eliminating or reducing the amount of exposure to the allergen that triggers your symptoms. There are many options. You can also buy several types of commercially available products to test your home for common allergens and molds. By taking samples of the dust around your home, you can receive a detailed report telling what allergens are in your home. The kit in conjunction with blood testing can tell you what allergens need to be removed from your home.
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Oral Allergen Challenge Testing
Oral allergen challenge testing may sometimes be required to confirm diagnosis when the cause of a severe allergic reaction has not been confirmed. This will normally only be performed using foods or medications under the supervision of a clinical immunology/allergy specialist with appropriate resuscitation facilities immediately available.
Test My Allergy Combined Allergy & Intolerance Test
This product by Test My Allergy requires a blood sample that people can take with a finger prick. The kit provides everything a person needs to take this sample at home.
Individuals need to send their samples to the companys testing laboratory in the United Kingdom. The pack includes a return envelope. The company then sends the test results back via email.
The company sends all tests to an ISO-9001 certified laboratory for analysis. This means that it must adhere to specific quality standards.
This particular test analyzes the presence of immunoglobin E and Ig4 against 70 of the most common allergy and intolerance items.
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How Is A Pet Allergy Diagnosed
The best way to know if you have a pet allergy is to have a skin-prick allergy test performed by an allergist or immunologist.5 The test consists of placing a small amount of cat or dog allergen on your skin and pricking the skin to allow a small amount of allergen to get under the skin. An allergy is signaled if there is swelling or redness at the site after 15-20 minutes.3 Several allergens may be tested at the same time to rule out other environmental factors. The allergist will develop a plan specific to your individual needs to manage symptoms.
How To Know If You Have Pet Allergies
If you do not have a pet yourself but find that you develop the symptoms detailed above every time you go into the home of somebody who has a pet or go near a pet, particularly if a cat or dog licks you , then the diagnosis is relatively clear. However, if you have an animal living in your own home, it can be less obvious as the symptoms can be more chronic. Typically, they will involve nasal symptoms particularly nasal congestion. You might notice that when you spend time away from home, for example on holiday when your pets are not with you, that your symptoms improve. If you do suspect a pet allergy, then it is helpful to get an allergy test to confirm this.
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Can Pet Allergies Be Prevented
It is common to be asked whether it is safe for a child with other allergies such as food allergies to get a cat or a dog, and if testing at the time to the animal is negative, it is unlikely that the child is already allergic. However, it is important to bear in mind that patients with an allergic tendency will typically develop allergies after a period of regular exposure, so if such a patient brings a cat or a dog into their home, there is a very high chance that they will eventually become allergic to it and that will then start to cause symptoms which could be problematic. It is therefore worth discussing this before going down the route of purchasing a pet.
What Are The Symptoms Of Pet Allergies
Pet allergy symptoms include a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, watery, itchy eyes, and rashes.3 Most pet allergies occur during or shortly after coming into contact with a cat or dog while petting or playing with them. Even if a pet is not present, allergens may collect on furniture, walls, clothing, or remain in the air for several months. A scratch or lick by a pet may cause a skin rash. Some people who are highly sensitive to pet allergies can have wheezing, shortness of breath, or a severe asthma attack within 15-30 minutes.1
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How Reliable Are At
A doctor or immunologist may diagnose an allergy after conducting a skin test. This often involves pricking the skin with a needle or plastic prong that has a common allergen on it.
Many at-home allergy tests work by obtaining a blood sample using a finger prick. However, this method may not a reliable way to determine whether or not a person has allergies.
At-home tests that look for immunoglobulin G in the blood are unlikely to provide accurate results, as this antibody is present in people who do and who do not have allergies to substances.
Scientists do not recommend Ig4 testing. There is currently no evidence to suggest that the presence of Ig4 in the blood is due to an allergy or sensitivity.
An individual who uses an at-home allergy test will likely find it beneficial to follow up on their test results with a doctor or immunologist.
Some allergy tests may return a false-positive or false-negative result. It is important to see a healthcare professional for additional tests, especially if an individual is testing for food allergies.
Can You Test For A Cat Allergy At Home
I suspect my 6 year old son may be allergic to our cats. Is there a way to do a do-it-yourself test to see? Ive had the regular tests done before and they scratch your arm and put a liquid of different allergens on the scratch. Then they measure the reaction. Is there any way to do this without going to a allergist?
According to WebMD:
Your doctor can do a skin or blood test to see if youre allergic. However, allergy tests arent always correct. So the doctor may also want you to try living without a cat for a few months to see how it affects your allergy symptoms.
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