Almost a third of Americans are allergic to cats and dogs, with the majority being allergic to cats. It can be difficult to determine your allergic triggers when you have pets living with you. That’s because your home also contains other allergens that could be causing your suffering. Some of these other allergens are dust, dust mites, and indoor molds and fungus. And, it can be hard to admit that your beloved cat is causing you allergies. Especially if you have suddenly developed an allergy to cats when you never noticed you were sensitive to them in the past. This is why we’ve created a list of signs for you to determine if you have a cat allergy or sensitivity.
Read on to read all about cat allergies and how to prevent them.
Causes of cat allergies
Cat allergies are often genetic, meaning if you have family members who are allergic, you might also experience those allergies. Your immune system makes antibodies to fight off substances that might hurt your body, like bacteria and viruses. However, with allergies, the immune system mistakes a harmless allergen for something harmful and creates antibodies to fight it. You then experience that antibody battle as allergy symptoms such as itching, runny nose, rashes and asthma.
I got rid of my cat so why do I still get just as sick at my house?
With cat allergies, the allergens tend to be your cat’s dander (dead skin), their fur, saliva and even their urine. Coming into contact with these pet allergenic particles will trigger the allergic symptoms. These particles can even be carried on clothes, circulate in the air and settle in furniture. Therefore, even people who no longer own (or never owned) cats, but are allergic to them, can have reactions when they go into a house that once had a cat. Even if the cat has been gone for a time, there is still residual dander and hair in the home. In fact, saliva substances on minute particles of dander and hair are left embedded in the walls, carpeting, upholstery and other household fabrics and substances. Cat dander is so small and light, it can stay in a house for months or even years after the cat is gone.
As stated before, you don’t have to own a cat to be exposed to their dander. It can travel in people’s clothes and can simply be in the air of someone’s home. Symptoms may not even appear until a few days later after being exposed to the allergen if the sensitivity if low. For those with high sensitivity, the symptoms can be experienced immediately after contact with the allergen. The most common cat allergens people are sensitive to are cat hair and saliva.
Common symptoms of cat allergies are swelling, itching of the eyes and nose, eye inflammation and a stuffy nose. Some people who are more sensitive to the allergen may present with a rash on their face, neck or upper chest. Fatigue is also very common, especially if the allergy goes untreated, as well as an ongoing cough due to postnasal drip
If you are allergic to cats and the cat allergen gets into your lungs, you may present more severe symptoms, like difficulty breathing, coughing and wheezing. Cat allergens can also cause asthma attacks in some and can be a trigger for people with chronic asthma. Since people with this type of asthma can have a severe attack if they encounter a cat, it’s best to let new friends and acquaintances know you own one before they come to your house the first time.
Most allergists believe that avoidance is the best way to treat an allergy. That doesn’t help much if you develop an allergy to your existing pet. Very few people want to get rid of their pet. When avoidance isn’t possible, most people try over-the-counter antihistamines, nasal sprays and decongestant sprays to reduce their symptoms. However, if those medications work for you, they need to be taken every day of your life for as long as you either own the cat or stay in the house where a cat has lived.
Immunotherapy, or allergy shots, is the other medical option available. However, immunotherapy could take years before noticing improvement and doesn’t work for many people.
Holistic allergy treatments, such as Advanced Allergy Therapeutics, are painless and do not require shots, nor pills, nor avoidance. They are non-invasive, painless, safe, effective, and gentle enough for infants or seniors
If you prefer to go the home remedy route, you can try a Neti pot or other nasal lavage. They consist of using saline to rinse out your nasal passages, reduce congestion, postnasal drip and sneezing. You can buy saline solution over the counter or make it at home, by combining ⅛ teaspoon of salt with 8 ounces of warm water.
It is also prudent to use air purifiers to reduce the cat allergen floating in the air. High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are the best option. HEPA filters reduce allergens that are in the air by forcing room air through a filter that traps dander, pollen, dust mites and other allergens. This should be part of any solution for living happily with your cat when combined with other treatments.
Reducing allergy symptoms
There are other strategies to help you reduce your cat’s allergens. Here are a few tips:
- Don’t let cats in your bedroom. It’s better to keep this space as dander-free as possible
- Wash your hands after touching the cat to make sure you don’t transfer the allergen onto yourself
- Remove carpeting and clean walls frequently. Wood or tile flooring is easier to keep dander free and regularly cleaning walls will help reduce allergens.
- Cover heating and air vents with filtering material like cheesecloth, so cat hair doesn’t get into the vents
- De-clutter your house to reduce the surfaces cat allergens can attach to
- Install a whole house air filter
- Change filters on AC units and furnaces frequently
- Keep the humidity level in your home at around 40%. This makes it difficult for allergens to travel in the air.
- Vacuum weekly with a HEPA filter vacuum
- Use a face mask while dusting or cleaning to prevent the allergen from traveling to your lungs
If you have been unsuccessful with allergy treatments for cat allergies or you are looking for something different, St. Louis Allergy Relief Center treats allergies holistically without the use of pain or pills. We are an allergy wellness center, specializing only on natural treatments. We specialize in holistic, natural allergy treatments using Advanced Allergy Therapeutics (AAT). AAT treatments are painless and non-invasive, involving no shots or needles, no drugs or herbal supplements, and no avoidance. We provide you with a detailed treatment plan after completing a comprehensive assessment to determine environmental stressors that may be triggering allergies or allergy-like symptoms.
We also deliver community workshops as well as a free monthly informational workshop on the first Thursday of every month at 5:45 pm in our Chesterfield office. Our free monthly workshop provides the public with information on our unique approach to allergy treatments and includes an opportunity to meet with our patients for a question and answer session. If you are interested in attending one of our free monthly workshops, please call our office at 314-384-9304 to reserve your space.
So there you have it. The causes, symptoms and treatments for cat allergies. There are many ways to relieve these symptoms, but if you think you have a cat allergy make sure to talk to your doctor. You should always be diagnosed by a trained professional to get accurate treatment. Make sure to come to St. Louis Allergy Relief Center if you are suffering from allergies. We are the best natural allergy clinic to help you live your life without suffering from allergies and sensitivities. Visit our website https://stlouisallergyrelief.com/ to learn more or call us at 314-384-9304.