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There’s no doubt that you love cats. Your feline friend is perhaps the best companion you can have. It’s docile, sleek and friendly like no one else. But it can also get you sneezing, sniffing and itching at times. If you experience these symptoms when your feline cat is around you, then there may be some bad news- you may be suffering from a cat dander allergy.
What is cat dander allergy?
Cat dander allergy is an allergic reaction caused when cats’ dander combines with it’s urine and saliva. There is a misconception that allergic reactions are caused by your cat’s fur. But in reality, it is their dander that is causing you to sneeze and itch. The underlying cause of cat dander allergies is explained by Dr. Rachel Barrack, DVM of Animal Acupuncture, who attributes the condition to Fel D1, a protein found in the saliva of cats. When this protein combines with the dander from anal and sebaceous glands in cats, you are likely to counter cat dander allergy.
Cat dander allergies are twice as common as dog allergies, and it effects more than 10% of the US population. Cats, especially male cats that are not neutered, produce Fel D1 in large quantities. The question is how these tiny protein substances cause such weakening allergic reactions in the body? Actually, people with allergies have a hypersensitive immune system, which causes their bodies to mistake harmless cat dander with hazardous viruses and bacteria. This triggers allergic reactions as a counterattack on the allergen.
Symptoms of cat dander allergies
If you see the following systems when your cat is around you, then you may be suffering from a cat dander allergy:
- Wheezing and coughing
- Rashes and hives on the face and chest
- Itchy and red eyes
- Runny nose
- Excessive sneezing
- Unusual redness in the area of the skin that came in contact with the cat.
How to treat cat allergies?
The aforementioned symptoms not always imply that your cat has allergies. However, if you are experiencing them, you need to see a professional. Doctors usually recommend the following drugs to treat cat allergies:
- Antihistamines, which are easily available in chemists in the form of a nasal spray.
- Decongestants to reduce nasal congestion.
- Nasal steroid sprays, which treat asthma or allergy symptoms in many ways.
- Allergy shots
Preventing cat allergies
Unfortunately, allergies cannot be prevented if you are allergic to cats. However, you can follow a few steps to reduce the chances of incidence of cat allergies:
- Limit your exposure to the cat
- Restrict the cat to only certain areas of the house
- Keep the cat outdoors
- Clean your cat regularly
- Clean your house rigorously to prevent cat dander from spreading everywhere