Top 10 Ways to Lessen Cat Allergies
Allergies are a growing menace in everybodys life today. In the United States of America, more than half the population (54.6%) suffer from allergies. It is sixth in the list of chronic diseases in America as far as spending on the disease is concerned. It is very rare that one is cured of allergies. It is at best managed and prevented.
If you have a furry four-legged friend at home and you are suffering from allergies, chances are that he is the cause of your misery. 10-15% of the population suffers from pet allergy with
being twice as common.
There are five known allergens obtained from cats. The triggers are mostly derived from their saliva and sebaceous glands. The allergens are basically glycoproteins. The two major allergens are Fel d 1, a secretoglobin and Fel d 4, a lipocalin. The other minor allergens are Fel d 2, an albumin, Fel d 3, a cystatin and antibodies known as IgA. These allergens are also deposited in the cat dander and can be found in urine, saliva, skin and anal sebaceous glands.
Mechanism behind the allergy caused by cats
Allergies are basically an auto immune response of the body to certain proteins, in this case, the glycoproteins mentioned above. Some individuals have a hypersensitive immune system and react to proteins as if they were some bacteria or virus meant to cause harm. The immune system has certain regulatory T cells. The function of the T cells is to suppress the immune system and prevent it from reacting to these harmless antigens or proteins. The reaction of the immune system to these proteins causes an imbalance in the regulatory T cells. These T cells fail to prevent the overactive immune system from manifesting adverse reactions.
Besides this, in response to the proteins the immune system produces a force of antibodies to fight the allergen. These antibodies are called the Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. They react and bind with the proteins and causes the mast cells to release histamine. Histamine is the chemical which causes the adverse physical reactions like itching, inflammation, breathlessness etc. It dilates the blood vessels and causes the walls of the blood vessels to become permeable and causing leakage of fluids. This results in irritating the nerve endings and causes superficial skin reactions.
Symptoms of Cat Allergies
The symptoms from the said allergy are as follows:
- Red, itchy and watery eyes.
- Nasal congestion.
- Runny nose and constant irritation of the nasal passage.
- Uncontrolled sneezing.
- Nasal drip at the back of the throat.
- Itchy throat and coughing.
- Shortness of breath or wheezing.
- Angioedema or swelling in body parts.
- Red, itchy and inflamed skin as in hives or urticaria.
- In rare situations, anaphylaxis can occur. A sudden congestion, drop in blood pressure, wheezing, confusion and loss of consciousness can happen.
- Symptoms worsen on being directly exposed to the animal.
Why is allergy caused by cats the most prevalent among all pet allergies?
The release of the said allergens by cats is hormonal in nature. These allergens are discharged in large amounts by male cats who are not neutered. The dander or flakes of dried skin are constantly airborne and enters the body as it is inhaled. They are sticky and can be present from any previous exposure to cats long after the actual cats are gone. They are extremely small sized particles and can easily enter deep into the lungs through the airways. Cat dander is one of the foremost allergens as far as asthma is concerned.
Here are top ten ways to manage your cat allergy:
Do not let your cat sleep on your bed.
It will be best if you do not invite your cat to your bedroom. Keep the bedroom doors closed throughout the day. In this way your bedroom will be free from cat allergens.
Wash your bedding twice a month in 140 degree hot water to get rid of cat allergens and also dust mites.
Use a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) purifier to cleanse air from cat allergens. This is very necessary as cat allergens are also air borne.
Vacuum your house walls, carpets, flooring, chairs, and furniture as frequently as possible or at least twice a week.
Usage of a Vapor steam cleaner to clean your home will be of great help to kill cat dander in the air. It is also a chemical-free way of cleaning and killing dust mite, bacteria and other allergens.
Make sure to wash your hands immediately after petting your cat. Do not touch your eyes before washing the hand. Use a strong anti-bacterial soap for washing your hand.
There is no point making your cat go through the frequent washes to lessen their allergens. Researchers have proved that washing your cat does not reduce allergens. Therefore, it is better to consult your catâ€™s veterinarian about any liquids that would give a medicated coating to the cat to lessen the dander which becomes an allergen.
Confine your cat to one area at home. In this way you will find it easy to concentrate your sanitising and cleaning efforts limited to that area.
Be extremely observant about the allergy symptoms that you get, and seek medical help from your allergist as soon as they emerge.