Cats and dogs are the most loved domestic pets in United States and in many parts of world. It’s heartbreaking to tell someone having a cat that the symptoms he or she has are due to cat allergy. But statistics reveal that there are many people allergic to their feline pet.
If you have an allergy it is difficult to pin point cat to be a source of allergy as there are many other articles and substances present in your house that may be allergen. This may be dust mites, pollen, mold etc.Most often the allergic substance found is cat’s dander (dead skin), urine and the saliva.
The commonest symptoms of cat allergy in humans are itching and burning in eyes, sneezing, itching and red rash on skin, breathlessness, tickling in throat etc. Avoidance of the allergen is the best treatment mode for any type of allergy. Antihistamines, air purifiers, use of facial mask, are some of the treatment and precautionary measures.
Causes Of Cat Allergies In Humans
Pet allergy can occur in anyone, adults as well as children both can suffer from pet allergy. Males and females are equally afflicted.Majority of people who are allergic to cat may also have mild allergy to pollen and molds. It has been found that cat allergy has genetic correlation. This means if anyone in your family is having history of allergy than you are more susceptible to develop it.
Allergy occurs when your immune system mistakenly reacts to substances that in a normal person may not cause any harm. It produces antibodies to fight an allergen. When body comes in contact with the allergen some other time, it produces allergic reaction. This may be manifested as various symptoms.
Cat allergy is mainly caused by cat dander (dead skin cells), saliva and cat urine. Dander is extremely tiny and it can become airborne. Skin allergy is caused when it comes in contact with skin. Airborne dander can be inhaled leading to respiratory symptoms.
Signs And Symptoms Of Cat Allergy
Cat allergy can occur when you come in contact with cat dander, urine or saliva. Following are some of the symptoms of cat allergy:
- Itching and burning in eyes.
- Itching and skin eruption.
- Running and watery nose.
- Cough with or without sputum.
- Breathing difficulty and asthma.
Often people may not realize that these are symptoms of cat allergy if they have cat in their house. If the person avoids the animal or stays away from the source the symptoms may subside without any medication. However, they can reoccur again when the person comes in contact with it.
Treatment For Cat Allergies In Humans
The treatment remains same as with any other allergy. However, the more important need is to establish the cause, and that is cat allergy. Cat allergy can be diagnosed with two methods. The first is skin prick test and the other is blood test for allergy. Both are equally useful but skin prick test is more sensitive.
One of the best treatments is to avoid the source of infection. It means you have to stay away from cat.
Itching, sneezing, and other respiratory symptoms are treated with antihistamine medicines. Sometimes corticosteroids may also be used.
Air purifiers are essential to reduce further occurrence of cat allergy. It reduces the amount of airborne dead skin cells of cat and traps them in filters. Use face mask when you clean your rooms and mattresses.