Cat allergy symptoms

November 12, 2012

Cat allergy symptoms

One of the most common allergies after hay fever is an allergy to cat hair – it can cause many problems for your health, especially when visiting friends who own these furry creatures.

Studies indicate that as much as 16% of the population may be affected by cat allergy symptoms – regardless of whether or not they own a cat. For some people the reaction to a cat is so severe it affects their quality of life – they may be unable to visit cat-owning friends for example, or may react to someone who owns a cat simply by standing next to them on the bus or train.

Symptoms

Cat allergy symptoms often resemble a cold or hay fever and may include any or all of the following:-

  • Sneezing

  • Runny, itchy nose and eyes

  • Oedema of the eyes – this may be so severe that the eyes close

  • Sore, raspy throat

  • Burning sensation in and around the eyes

  • Itchiness

  • Skin rash – welts or hives may also be seen on the skin

These symptoms may be worse on some occasions than others and may also come and go.

Causes

The causes of cat allergy symptoms relate to a type of protein found in cat dander, skin and saliva. This protein is extremely small, difficult to remove and will be spread around the home as the cat cleans itself.

Diagnosis

Due to itsÂ’ similarity to other conditions a cat allergy maybe difficult to diagnose, there may also be a delay in the appearance of cat allergy symptoms which contributes to difficulties in diagnosis. People who are experiencing a long lasting cold may, in fact, be experiencing cat allergy symptoms – conversely those who believe they have a cat allergy may be suffering from bronchitis. Anyone who is around cats for any length of time and experiences some or all of the symptoms – even very mildly – should consider the possibility of a cat allergy being the cause.

Achieving a definite diagnosis of any allergy is problematic since the blood tests or skin prick tests used are often unreliable and may produce inaccurate results.

The most reliable method of discovering if your condition is caused by cat allergy symptoms is simply to avoid cats for a reasonable length of time. If the cats live with you then this may mean going away on vacation for a couple of weeks and noting your symptoms whilst away. If it is difficult to completely avoid cats then excluding them from your bedroom and then performing a thorough deep clean of the carpets, curtains, furniture and bedding may also confirm your suspicions. When vacuuming be sure to use an allergen filter on the vacuum and when dusting, use a damp cloth rather than a spray that may move the allergens around rather than remove them.

Treatment

The best, and most obvious, treatment for dealing with cat allergy symptoms is to avoid cats – something that is not always possible or practical, if you own a cat then your medical practitioner is likely to tell you to get rid of the cat in order to resolve your condition.

Any skin rash may be treated with topical creams, which usually have a small steroid content. Antihistamines will be prescribed to deal with other symptoms including hives and oedema. Some patients report finding relief when bathing the affected area with cool water or even by taking a cool shower or bath.

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