allergic reaction to cats rash - Cats & Kittens
Oriental shorthairs come in more colors and patterns (over 300) than any other cat breed. But no matter the style of "ornamental shorthair" you choose, it will have a very short, fine coat that sheds infrequently. That's why many people with cat allergies report mild or absent reactions with Oriental shorthairs. It's still recommended that this breed be given regular grooming sessions to keep dander to a minimum. ()
One of the most common conditions affecting cats is allergy. An allergy occurs when the cat's immune system "overreacts" to foreign substances called allergens or antigens. Allergens and antigens are simply foreign proteins that the body's immune system tries to remove. These overreactions are manifested in one of three ways:
Allergies in dogs and cats occur when the immune system overreacts to something that isn't really a threat. For example, reacting to peanuts, air-borne pollen, or laundry detergent—none of which should cause harm. The material that causes an allergic reaction is called an antigen. Antigens are usually proteins. The term "allergen" is often used rather than the term antigen, but these two terms are slightly different. Antigen refers to any substance causing allergies, and allergen refers to ingested or air-borne substances causing allergies.Cat exposure can also cause a number of other allergic symptoms. If you suffer from allergic rhinitis, you may experience nasal congestion, runny nose and sneezing. Some people have red, itchy and watery eyes, a condition known as allergic conjunctivitis. Other symptoms of allergies include have facial pain, cough and a bluish discoloration under your eyes. Cats can also cause a reaction of the subcutaneous tissue, known as angioedema. Symptoms include puffiness of the lips and face. Angioedema can also cause swelling of the larynx, causing difficult breathing. If you have allergies, they may be worsened by cat dander, leading to breathlessness, wheezing, difficulty breathing and chest tightness.The immune system defends your body against foreign infections. All allergies are due to an abnormal immune response to a normally harmless substance, known as an allergen. In cat allergies, the reaction is usually against a protein known as Fel d 1, which is produced by all cats. The protein is light enough to become airborne, and it can stay so for long periods of time. The amount of allergen produced is unrelated to the length of cat hair. Male cats may produce more of this protein. There is no breed of cat that does not produce the allergen.Cats shed skin flakes and deposit them in their fur when they groom. This is dander. Allergy-causing proteins in the dander can provoke reactions including hives, rhinitis and asthma. Thorough removal of dander in the home will significantly reduce symptoms associated with a cat allergy. Unfortunately, sometimes either the cat or the person who's allergic must be removed.Many of the allergic reactions to cats can be symptomatically treated with antihistamines. Newer antihistamines such as fexofenadine and loratidine cause minimal sedation and are often effective. Stronger, older antihistamines such as diphenhydramine may be more effective, but are more likely to cause sedation. Many of these medications are available over the counter. Other symptomatic treatments include decongestants, leukotriene modifiers and cromolyn sodium. Immunotherapy, while expensive and time-consuming, offers long-term, and possibly permanent, allergy relief.
Even if you have a cat allergy, you don't necessarily have to give up your cat. Whether you have to or not depends on the severity of your allergies and if you can treat them easily. However, if you suffer from severe, uncontrollable allergies, this last-resort option may be necessary.The allergy-causing substance is in the dander, not the fur. Dander is made of airborne saliva and urine-derived proteins. Licking transfers the dander, along with saliva and urine, to the cat's fur. But dander can remain suspended in house dust for a long time, hence an allergic reaction can occur even if the cat has been removed. Cat dander also sticks walls, furnishings, carpets, bedding and clothes. Completely eliminating cat dander may take two to five years.