Can you be allergic to cats? Cat Allergies: Symptoms & Treatment
Keeping cats indoors with the windows shut and using an air conditioner and/or air filter during problematic times can reduce your cat’s exposure to pollen. Regular bathing or at least wiping your cat with a damp cloth helps remove pollen that becomes trapped in the fur. Veterinarians can prescribe fatty acid supplements, anti-histamines, hyposensitization therapy, immunosuppressive drugs and other treatments to keep cats with pollen allergies comfortable.
Up to 30 percent of people have some kind of allergic reaction to cats and dogs, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Allergies to cats are twice as common as reactions to dogs, experts say. While the best treatment for pet allergies is to remove the animal from the home, most allergists resist telling patients it’s time for Fluffy to go, at least until they’ve tried all other options.
But it’s not all bad news - if you enjoy spending time around cats, talk with your doctor. Treatment can help relieve allergy symptoms and might help you enjoy Fluffy’s company for years to come. (1) Keep your cat out of your bedroom.
(2) Try to avoid hugging and kissing your cat – not easy I know, but can be very helpful.
(3) Vacuum carpets often or, better yet, replace your carpet with tile, linoleum, or hardwood floors.
(4) Cover upholstered furniture with couch covers or towels and sheets that can be washed regularly.
(5) Avoid cloth curtains and blinds.
(6) Vacuum and mop frequently and thoroughly. Use a double or micro-filter vacuum cleaner bag to decrease the amount of cat allergen present in carpeting that leaks back into the room air.
(7) Frequently wash anything that is washable such as pillow covers, couch covers, curtains, pet beds, etc.
(8) Use a HEPA air purifier/filter which is very helpful in trapping undesirable dander particles from the air.
(9) If you are allergic to cats and think that all of your cat allergy symptoms are caused by your cat, be aware that you may very well be allergic to other things. Your treatment for cat allergy includes concentrating on treating all the causes of your allergies, not just your allergy to cats.
(10) Over-the-counter allergy medications such as antihistamines can be useful for acute flare-ups of your cat allergy symptoms. Of course, check with your doctor.
(11) An effective long-term treatment is immunotherapy (allergy shots for cat allergies). Be sure and find an allergist who is sympathetic to your desire to continue to live with your cat. Cat allergy shots can be very helpful, but you will do even better if you also follow the environmental changes we describe in this article. Having witnessed these allergic cat owners, as well as some of my own employees, friends and relatives, continue to live with their cats, I have come to know that there are cat allergies treatment measures an allergic cat owner can take to live happily and comfortably with their cat. This assumes, obviously, that your cat allergy symptoms are not life-threatening.This kind of allergy is the most likely cause of a cat allergic reaction. Fleas inject saliva in the cat when it bites and there are many substances present that can trigger a reaction. Like humans, it is possible to trigger a reaction with a very small amount of irritant. Sometimes only one flea bite is all it takes. The usual symptoms include scabs, thin unthrifty fur in the area and bumps. The cat will want to scratch and bite the irritated area making the reaction worse. It may also lick or groom excessively. Areas most affected is usually at the base of the tail and the area around the lower back. The head and around the ears can also be affected. Sometimes the sores get infected.Flea Allergy Dermatitis (or FAD) is the name of the condition. The sores and scabs are sometimes referred to as Miliary dermatitis. This is a descriptive term used in veterinary medicine to describe a multifocal distribution of skin lesions, with no identifiable pattern. The term miliary means millet-like, as the feel of running one's hands through the coat of an affected cat is comparable to the feeling if a cat's coat contains millet seeds. (from Wikipedia) Although fleas are the most common cause, mosquito bites, ticks, and other insects can cause reactions.The irritation is fairly characteristics and recognizable. Diagnosis is often confirmed by treating the animal for fleas and seeing if there is an improvement. Along with flea treatment of the cat its living area must also be rid of fleas.If flea treatment is ineffective then biopsy or scraping of the affected area might be performed. Further investigation might include subdermal injection of selected irritants and observation of reactions. This is similar to human diagnostic techniques.If the cause is mosquito or other biting fly, removal from exposure will be a good indication of the cause. pageBesides treating the cat and its living quarters to get rid of fleas any side conditions will be treated. If infection has developed in the affected area, then antibiotics might be prescribed.Antihistamines or steroids might be used to deal with irritation and reduce itching. Hyposensitisation therapy might be used. As in human "allergy desensitization--allergy shots" a cat might be injected with gradually increasing doses of flea antigens. This treatment gradually desensitises the immune system and reduces the allergic reaction.Food allergy in cats is not uncommon. This might be triggered by grains in particular wheat, dairy products, eggs, or animal proteins such as fish and beef.