I'm Allergic to Cats but I Love them - What to Do
Around 10% of the World's population is said to have allergy, or at least sensitivity, to cats. Thus, it's not that uncommon to have cat allergy. These allergies can develop at any time in your life, though it usually develops during early adulthood.
Though there are different types of allergens that cats carry, the allergen known as Fel D1 is the most common. If you are thinking of getting rid of your beloved cat or are scared you won't be able to have any more pets, fear, not in this article we give you some advice and tips so you know exactly the procedure and the steps you should take if you're allergic to cats but love them.
Have you been diagnosed with a Cat allergy?
Sneezing every day and getting red eyes does not necessarily mean you have a cat allergy if you have one in your house. Before you reach any conclusions, you should know that it could also be dust, mold or other substances that are present in your house that may be causing this allergy. Therefore, you should go to an allergist so he or she can carry out specific tests.
As we already mentioned, the most common allergen found in people who are allergic to cats is Fel d1, which is contained in the cat's saliva and skin, producing what is known as cat dander. The dander is spread with the cat's hairs.
The allergy doctor will determine the severeness of your allergy, whether it's sniffling, swelling or if it moves to your lungs and gives you asthma. Once you know how bad the allergy is, you can take the appropriate measures, always supervised by your doctor.
Cat allergy treatment
If you have a severe allergy to cats, do not despair, you should know that there are several ways of diminishing the effects of your allergy. The most common is Immunotherapy, which provides your body with small doses of the allergen's protein so you eventually become practically immune. The treatment involves taking antihistamine shots every week. After a few months you will only have to go every two weeks, and the frequency of the shots will slowly go down.
If you have mild allergies, you can take several over the counter antihistamine tablets such as Diphrnhydramine or Laratadine, though you should only take them when you have a reaction, as these have many side effects such as drowsiness, dry mouth or constipation. Consult your pharmacist or doctor before you take them, to make sure you know all of these drug's contraindications.
Cat allergies at home
Apart from medical treatment, there are also several things you can do at home to improve your condition and make sure the allergy effects are reduced to a minimum.
It's recommended to get rid of any carpets and rugs at home, as this kind of fabric accumulates a lot of cat hair, which carries the allergen.
Thorough house cleaning
Make sure you clean your home more frequently than usual, do some thorough cleaning once a week, paying special attention to surface dusting to prevent any particles from floating around the house. It's also useful to vacuum with a vaccuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter, which will capture the allergen particles much better. You can also purchase a HEPA air purifier too.
In the bedroom
It is best if you avoid your cat entering your room so you make sure you sleep properly and have a cat-free zone. It's also important to avoid them sitting on your clothes. You can also purchase a hypoallergenic pillow as they will prevent any allergens from staying there.
Another vital recommendation is to wash your hands after petting your cat, as it's very common to touch your face or rub your eyes, thus triggering a possible reaction, especially if you haven't washed your hands previously.
Special care for your cat
If you have a cat allergy, there are also several tips you can use on your cat so their production of dander is lower.
For example, you can use a glove brush and rinse it with distilled water, brush it over your cat twice a week.
Though there are several anti-allergy shampoos that are specifically designed for this purpose it's not recommended to bathe it too often as this will only make the cat's skin dry and will promote the secretion of more allergens. You can also try commercial anti-allergy sprays, especially if your cat is reluctant to showers.
It's very important to brush your cat once or twice a week to make sure it doesn't shed too much hair.
If you are thinking of having a cat but have an allergy
Apart from the considerations mentioned above, some studies have shown that there are certain cat breeds that affect allergic people less, as they will shed less hair. It is also said that white cats have less allergens than cats. These breeds are Siberian, Russian Blue, Siamese and Cornish Rex.
However, there are several detractors to these theories. So, before adopting, make sure you spend plenty of time with the specific cat you want to adopt so you are sure you do not have an allergy to it.
If you want to read similar articles to I'm Allergic to Cats but I Love them - What to Do, we recommend you visit our Pets category.