- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Dealing with Cat Allergies
Pet allergies are very common. 10% of Americans have pet allergies and of those allergies cat allergies are the most common form. Cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies.
Causes of Cat Allergies
There is a very common misconception that if people are allergic to cats it is the fur they are allergic to. People are actually allergic to the proteins that the cats carry in their saliva, urine and dancer (dried flakes of skin on the cat). Even if you don't have an actual cat allergy your cat, if it ever goes outside, can bring in mold, pollen and other allergy triggers that can make it seem you have a true cat allergy.
How Do You Know If You Have A True Cat Allergy
The only way to know if you have a true cat allergy is to see a doctor who may even refer you to a specialist called an Allergist. You don't want to make a rash decision and get rid of a beloved family pet if you aren't 100% sure the allergy is to the cat. Doctors can perform a skin test or blood test to see if you are allergic. They will probably suggest you live cat free for a few months to confirm the diagnosis. Even allergy tests aren't always 100% accurate.
Symptoms of Cat Allergies
Cat allergy symptoms can come in a variety of forms such as wheezing, watery eyes, coughing, sneezing, or even hives or a rash. So called hypo allergenic cats have been said to keep the allergies and their symptoms at bay. There is the thought that hypoallergenic cats can alleviate cat symptoms. Although cats such as the sphinx (hairless cat) can lesson symptoms of the allergies any cat for someone with true allergies is a bad idea.
Treatment for Cat Allergies
The good news is if you are truly to allergic cats there is treatment. Your doctor should decide the most appropriate treatment course for you. There are over the counter treatments to help the symptoms such as decongestants like Sudafed or Antihistamines. Decongestants are usually in pill form. Antihistamines come in oral pills or nasal sprays. Antihistamines are available over the counter such as Benadryl or by prescription for more severe symptoms such as Allegra. There are also allergy shots as an option for people with more frequent and more severe symptoms. A doctor must order and administer allergy shots.
How To Redude Contact With Cats
Let's face it.......it's not a cat free world. Cats seem to be everywhere. There are steps you can take to lesson your exposure and protect yourself by avoiding cats and their dander. Be aware of guests in your home that have cats. Yes they aren't bringing their cats but they bring their cat dander. After your guest has left it is probably a good idea to vacuum the area or chair they sat in. If you are planning on being a house guest where a cat is a resident ask that the door to the room you will be staying in be kept shut to keep out the cat and it's dander a few weeks before you are due to arrive. If you are staying somewhere there is a cat start taking your allergy medicine before you go. Allergy medicine can help ward off an attack but once an attack starts it is very hard to cease. You are pretty much stick with "riding it out." Bringing a portable air filter is also an option. It can circulate the air and remove dander from the air in the room you are occupying.
Allergies to cats are common and can somewhat difficult to deal with. Once you find out you do have a cat allergy there are steps you can carry out to reduce your exposure to cats and their dander and there are medicines to help treat the symptoms of the allergies if they do occur.