You must overcome a lot of troubles to adapt and live in harmony with pets. One of the super significant difficulties is an allergy. Nevertheless, how do you know if you are allergic to cats?

There are many people allergic to cats and dogs now. Among them, the number of people allergic to cats is nearly double to the number of people allergic to dogs. If you find that your eyes are watery, you sneeze or have trouble breathing when touching cats; you are surely allergic to cats! There are many other symptoms of being allergic to cats. 

The more cats you nourish, the higher the level of allergens is. Nevertheless, other elements like gender, fur length, and place for feeding cats do not affect the number of allergens in cats’ bodies. 

How To Know If You are Allergic To Cats
How do you know if you are allergic to cats?

Cat lovers tend to live with their allergies

When people know that the reason causing their allergies is from cats they love, undoubtedly they will be challenging to accept this truth. Therefore, instead of giving up taking care of their cats, they will choose to suffer symptoms.

Determining reason causing allergy to cats in the family may be quite difficult as other allergens like dust will cause similar symptoms. So, to determine the reason causing allergy, the essential thing is seeing a doctor.

Reason causing allergy

Allergy experts said that protein in cats’ furs, saliva, or dead skins is the reason causing the allergy. In other words, the problem causing allergy is not cats’ furs. Our immune system creates antibodies to fight against substances hurting bodies like bacteria and viruses. To people catching allergy, their immune system mistakes some allergens with something harmful and produces antibodies to fight. This is the reason causing allergy symptoms such as the runny nose, being itchy, asthma, rash, or sneezing.

According to researchers, in allergy development, being genetic plays a quite important role. It is the element increasing the risk of cat allergy. This means that if there are any members catching allergy in your family, you are more likely to be allergic. 

In the case of cat allergy, allergens can come from saliva, fur, or even urine of cats. Touching with allergens or breathing in cats’ hairs can cause an allergic reaction. Allergens can stick to air, clothing, bed, and furniture as well as stay in an environment like dust.  

Cats’ bodies often produce allergens (kinds of protein having the ability to cause allergy). These allergens appear on cats’ skins, furs, and saliva. Also, all researches prove that all allergens from cats can cause allergy to humans’ bodies. Meanwhile, all kinds of cats produce allergens.

Symptoms when being allergic to cats

When being allergic to cats, patients may experience the following typical allergy symptoms: 

  • Stuffy nose, runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Chest tightness, cough, wheeze and having trouble in breathing
  • Swelling in the face (stuffy nose causes this)
  • Urticaria hives or skin rash
  • Watery, red and itchy eyes
  • Pain and pressure increase on the face
  • Being itchy at palate and throat
  • Swollen eye skin zone 
  • Waking up regularly

In the circumstance of cat allergy, which causes asthma, patients’ bodies can appear symptoms such as:

  • Wheezing or severe to breathe
  • Tightness or pain at chest
  • Difficulty sleeping

Some widespread signs at skins such as:

  • Skin rash and arising red skin
  • Being itchy
  • Indigo

Allergens which more than 90% of people react with are cats’ skins and saliva. They are more in male cats. As soon as you touch cats’ urine or saliva, usual allergy signs often appear.  Allergens can cause itching and swell around your nose as well as eyes. This often leads to an eye inflammation and a stuffy nose. In the response process with allergens, several people may have a rash on their necks, faces, and chests. 

How to deal with cat allergy

If your allergy or sensitivity level is low, allergy may not appear in a few days. Allergens can spread or stick to you from others’ clothing when you contact them. So, your cat allergy may not occur because of nourishing cats. 

Cat allergy can be a factor causing chronic asthma. If allergens enter your lung and you are allergic, they can combine with antibodies and cause symptoms such as wheezing and having trouble breathing. About 30% of people catching asthma can experience severe asthma when touching cats. You should understand this truth to make a plan with the doctor to know how to treat symptoms in case of feeling uncomfortable.

About 30% of people catching asthma can experience severe asthma when touching cats

In the circumstance of untreated allergy, you will feel tired regularly. For instance, after eating, you may cough out continuously. Nevertheless, you should consider symptoms like being chill, fever, nausea, or vomiting as the ones relating to diseases, not allergy.

Diagnosis of cat allergy

Blood tests and skin tests are the two ways to test all of the allergies, including cat allergy. Besides clinical symptoms, to diagnose cat allergy, doctors usually ask patients to implement these two subclinical tests. There are two types of skin tests. They are tests in skin and skin allergy tests. They not only give a result more quickly but also have a lower cost than the blood test. To know which test is the best for you, you should talk to the doctor.

  • Blood test: Doctors will ask patients to have a blood test if the skin allergy test does not bring any diagnostic results. The blood test can help to determine the sensitivity level of patients’ bodies with allergens. Moreover, this kind of test brings blood screening.
  • Skin test: This test helps to determine the reason causing allergy exactly. Doctors will use a small amount of pure allergic substances extracted from animal protein and inject it into the skin surface, usually on back or arm. After about 15 minutes, the medical staff will observe whether there are any signs of allergy reactions on the skin or not. They will see itchy and red swelling bumps on patients’ skins in case of cat allergy. 

How to protect yourself from being allergic to cats?

To avoid contacting much with allergens on cats, you should remember using the vacuum cleaner. You should install an air purifier working continuously in the living room or bedroom, too. 

You must wash your hands with soap after touching cats. The best way is not hugging and kissing them. You should isolate them with places where you drink, eat, relax, and sleep. 

You must take action fast when catching the symptoms above. If not, the allergy will become worse. Doctors can find out appropriate allergy treatment for you if you meet them early. For instance, physiological eye drops can treat symptoms like itchy and red eyes; or decongestant spray can treat it for stuffy nose.

You should give cats baths at least once per week. One of the effective methods of helping you to increase your body’s resistance through time is allergy immunization. It will help you to resist allergens from cats.

When do you need to see a doctor?

Common symptoms of cat allergy are similar to a common cold such as sneezing, runny nose, or watery eyes. Therefore, it will be difficult to distinguish whether you catch a cold or are allergic to cats. You may be easy to misdiagnose and treat incorrectly if you do not have any examinations. This can make your disease more serious. So, you need to go to the hospital for doctors to diagnose and give appropriate treatment method if you find that symptoms above last more than a week.

If you feel difficult to breathe, even when doing everything gently, you should use emergency medical care services. When symptoms become more and more severe, for example, trouble in breathing, severe stuffy nose, or wheeze, you need to go to the hospital for a health check.  

Complications when being allergic to cats

One of the reactions of the immune system when it is fighting with allergens is atopic dermatitis. Some people allergic to cats may catch symptoms appearing on their skins. Contacting with allergens directly can cause severe symptoms and signs such as:

  • Eczema
  • Rash
  • Itching

Remedies at home

Several research types indicated that butterbur (a kind of herbs) could improve the symptoms of seasonal allergies. However, its functions are unclear, and studies about it are still limited in cat allergy treatment.  

One of the methods at home for cat allergy symptoms is the nasal wash. To reduce runny nose, stuffy nose or sneezing and nasal wash as well, people often use saline. You can make physiological saline at home or buy it at pharmacies.

Cat allergy treatment

Cat allergy is an allergic reaction of the body with proteins in cats’ skin cells or saliva. Symptoms appearing when you are allergic to cats such as being itchy, runny nose or rash, etc., often make you feel uncomfortable although cat allergy is not life-threatening. So, you need an early examination and treatment to surmount and control these manifestations. 

The best solution is avoiding allergens. Nevertheless, if this is impossible, some of the following treatment solutions can help you:

  • Corticosteroid nasal sprays
  • Antihistamines: Patients can use several kinds of antihistamines in nasal sprays like azelastine (Astelin). Additionally, there are several types of over-the-counter medicines such as cetirizine (Zyrtec), diphenhydramine (Benadryl), loratadine (Claritin) and fexofenadine (Allegra).
  • Leukotriene inhibitors
  • Natri Cromolyn – preventing substance emancipation from the immune system, then helping to reduce allergy symptoms.
  • Allergy injections – considered as immunotherapy.
  • Nasal sprays containing steroid: Some popular ones are Budesonide (Rhinocort), Triamcinolone (Nasacort Allergy 24HR), or Flnomasone (Flonase). Functions of this type of medicine are improving allergy symptoms because of hay fever and reducing inflammation. 

Conclusion

Surely none of us can refrain the cuteness of adorable cats. However, don’t forget to remind yourself that your health is the top priority. So, just protect yourself! Hopefully, patients will find that the information above is helpful and have more knowledge about cat allergy disease. Moreover, they will be more active in disease prevention and treatment.

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