Cat Allergies: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments and Reducing Exposure
More than half of all American homes harbor unhealthy levels of pet “bio-residuals” (invisibly small bits of animal fur, dander, urine and saliva). Even if you don’t have pets, be aware that these airborne particles invade every indoor space. And if you’re allergic to even one of the contaminants, you’re likely to get bad pet allergy headaches. In fact, pet allergies give you 14 times the risk of developing migraines!You probably suffer from pet allergy headaches if you notice that the pain starts soon after exposure to a cat, dog, or other household animal. These headaches are almost always the result of swollen, congested sinuses. They probably bring painful pressure in your forehead, cheeks and behind your eyes. You can also feel tooth pain, and your nasal mucus can be noticeably yellow or green.
On the other hand, according to a study just out involving 6000 adults, getting your first cat in adulthood significantly ups the risk of developing a new allergy. The study, just published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, found that people without preexisting pet allergies who got cats as adults increased their risk of developing a cat allergy by 85 percent.5 People who already had allergies to things other than pets had a three- to fourfold increased chance of developing cat allergies. But the risk plummeted to just about none if the cat didn't have access to the bedroom where the subject slept.
A couple of years ago I was getting really stuffed up so I went to an allergist and I'm now also allergic to trees and grass but my cat allergy has lessened. My allergist said it's very common to develop new allergies later in life. She also said that yes, you can build up an immunity to your own cats. I'm fine with my cats but my friends cat gives me the worst reactions I've ever had. The cat also hates me and is the only cat who's ever reacted that way towards me. I just think he's evil.Some people can develop an immunity to a specific cat or cats. Allergies occur because your body mistakenly sees the allergen as a foreign invader. Over time, some pet owners’ bodies may grow accustomed to the allergens of a specific cat and their reactions will diminish, . In fact, certain food allergies are treated based on a similar principle of low-level exposure over time.An allergic reaction occurs when your immune system mistakenly believes substances that are harmless to most people to be harmful to your body and responds by producing immunoglobin E (IgE) antibodies to destroy what your body has perceived as foreign invaders (allergens). These IgE antibodies trigger the release of histamines, leukotrienes, and other chemicals to cause allergy symptoms. You do develop allergies from repeated exposure to the allergen. Therefore, anyone can develop or grow out of allergy symptoms at any time. Your age also has something to do with developing allergies. Since repeated exposure to certain allergens can trigger an allergic reaction, it is possible to develop allergies when you're older, as you've had more time to be in contact with the allergens. It is possible that you suddenly develop an allergy to cats. You may be allergic to certain chemicals in pet dander to trigger histamines in your bodies. That said, you should take notice if you are allergic to other cats as well. If you notice that only your roommate's cat gives you the allergic symptoms, perhaps you are allergic to something else. Perhaps you are allergic to the ragweed that is bloomed in the area and the cat is carrying the spores from that ragweed into the house on its fur. The best way to truly know is to see an allergy specialist or primary care doctor to have it checked out so you can be treated accordingly.You might wonder if your little one is allergic to the cat or suffering from a common cold. Cat allergy symptoms can include frequent sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, congestion and a runny or stuffed nose. Colds typically last for three days to around one week, although some symptoms can linger for a couple more weeks, according to WebMD. If your infant's symptoms begin to lesson after that time, she most likely just had a cold. Allergy symptoms will persist for as long as your infant is living with the cat. Because cat dander can easily travel throughout your home, your infant can develop symptoms even if the cat is confined to another room. Cat dander can circulate through heating and ventilation systems, and remain airborne for long periods of time. It also collects in curtains, carpeting, toys, stuffed animals, furniture and clothing.