An individual with cat allergy might experience symptoms upon exposure to cats. Most find it hard to admit that their pet cat is responsible for causing health issues. Luckily, there are measures that can help minimize the symptoms of an allergic reaction.
What are the causes?
It is important to note that a cat allergy is usually genetic. It simply means that one is likely to develop one if other family members are also allergic.
The immune system produces antibodies to fight off substances perceived as a threat. The immune system of an individual with an allergy wrongly identifies an allergen as a harmful substance and produces antibodies to fight it. This is responsible for the allergy symptoms such as runny nose, itching and asthma.
The allergen can come from the cat’s dander, salivary glands and urine. Inhaling animal dander or being exposed to the allergens from the urine and salivary glands can trigger a reaction. Remember that the dander of cats are the smallest allergens. They are small enough to become airborne and buildup on carpet, walls, clothing and upholstery. The allergens can linger in the house and trigger symptoms for months even after the animal is gone.
What are the indications of cat allergy?
The usual indications of a cat allergy typically start right after being exposed to cat dander, urine or saliva. The usual reactions include the following:
- Itching and swelling of the membranes around the nose and eyes which leads to a stuffed nose and eye inflammation
- Rashes on the face, neck or upper chest
In case the dander reaches the lungs, the allergen combines with antibodies that can trigger severe symptoms such as coughing, difficulty breathing and wheezing.
Avoidance of the allergen is recommended but if this is not possible, the following medications can be used:
- Cromolyn sodium
- Over-the-counter decongestant sprays
- Leukotriene modifiers
- Allergy shots or immunotherapy
As a home remedy, nasal lavage is recommended to alleviate the symptoms of cat allergy. Salt water or saline is used to rinse the nasal passages and alleviate the congestion, sneezing and postnasal drip.