Cat Allergy Relief
Long hair, short hair, no hair, it just doesn’t matter.
It’s a common myth that the pet’s hair is the cause of allergies. Rather, pet allergies are caused by the dander or dead skin cells that the pet sheds, as well proteins in the saliva. Cat dander is a highly potent allergen. It is very light and can stay aloft in the air for five to six hours at a time. This is why if you’re allergic and you visit a house where the cat has been banished to the basement, you might develop itching, sneezing and even asthma symptoms anyway. Studies show that cat dander can still be measured in a home several months after removing the cat. Cat dander can cling to walls, clothing, carpets, and furniture.
Some people believe that some breeds of cats are less allergenic than others. Some people believe that dark colored cats cause more allergic reactions than lighter colored cats. The truth is, all cats have the allergen Feld 1 or 2 in their saliva and urine. It is ubiquitous for all cats and it gets into their dander when they lick themselves.
How you can help reduce dander
Because of the über potency of cat dander, I always advise my patients to avoid exposure when possible, but when it comes to pets, who can be like family members, this is not always possible. Short of getting rid of the cat, you can try these steps:
- Keep pets out of your bedroom and off your bed. When you sleep your body doesn’t clear your secretions as well, and this can provide severe respiratory symptoms.
- Use HEPA filter in air conditioners and vacuums, which have been shown to reduce airborne cat allergen, reduce symptoms and improve your breathing.
- Another step, albeit unpleasant, is to wash your cat on a weekly basis. This can temporarily lower cat dander levels. It you can’t get kitty in the tub, wipe her down with a damp washcloth or pet allergy wipes to keep the dander from fluffing up and getting into the air.
For patients who choose to live with their cats, I test them to see how allergic they are to cat dander, and if it is positive, I prescribe their unique formula for sublingual immunotherapy (allergy drops) to build up there immunity to the cat. Over time, this can dramatically reduce their symptoms and need for medications.
It’s you or the cat, honey!
One of my patients, a 43-year-old pharmacist named Jeff appeared depressed and swollen from steroids. Jeff explained that he had a severe asthma attack that put him in the hospital for five days. It was his first ever asthma attack. A few weeks earlier, he had chest congestion and shortness of breath, which he attributed to a lingering cold. But one morning he woke up and could barely catch his breath. His doctor gave him a breathing treatment to open his lungs, an inhaler and steroid pills. But Jeff didn’t improve and admitted himself into the hospital for oxygen and intravenous steroids.
Though he improved, he went home with a sac of meds and had to rely on inhalers to keep his lungs open. When I saw him, I took a thorough history, including asking him if there were any pets at home. Sure enough, is wife had brought home a cat about three months ago. She adored the cat, who was allowed to sleep in their bed. I tested Jeff for allergies and found that he was highly allergic to cat dander. When his wife heard the news, she came in with Jeff and demanded a treatment for him. I explained that allergy immunotherapy could decrease his sensitivity to cats, but that they should go home and discuss it. One week later, Jeff was back in my office. He said, “let’s begin the allergy immunotherapy. My wife made it clear—It’s me or the cat”.
If you love your cat, but need relief, contact us today.