how to get rid of symptoms

how to get rid of symptoms

Living with a cat can be wonderful or a nightmare when you develop a cat allergy. Y It is never too late for his appearance, he appears at any age. The European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) estimates that one in four Europeans suffers from this condition. In addition, according to data from the Polytechnic University of Valencia, between 15% and 30% of people with some type of allergy are also allergic to cats (or dogs). This study shows that kitten allergies are twice as common as dogs.

The symptoms that indicate a cat allergy are expressed as itchy nose, sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, tearing … or are related to asthma (difficulty breathing, coughing, or wheezing in the chest), explains Dr. Adrián Germán Sánchez, Allergist at the General University Hospital of Castellón and spokesman for the Spanish Society of Allergology and Clinical Immunology (SEAIC). To confirm if it is indeed a reaction to cats and not another (dust mites, pollen…), the specialist will perform a series of skin tests and a blood test.

While it’s often thought that cat allergies originate in pet hair, this isn’t entirely the case. What it actually produces is what comes off the skin and, mainly dandruff, not straight hair, but the allergen is also present in saliva or urine, says the allergist. “96% of cat allergy sufferers are hypersensitive to a protein called Fel d1, which the animal secretes in its hair and collects on its fur and other surfaces as it is released in the form of dander or flakes.”

Younger cats shed less dander than adults and “that’s why some patients say that some cats don’t give them as many allergies, but in reality they’re no less allergic,” explains the specialist, who clarifies that you can be allergic to cats and not dogs, but you can Having a predisposition to be allergic to other animals: “Often there are proteins that are found in different animals, for example to albumins, and when it happens it can be sensitive in other animals too.”

It is more, a person who is hypersensitive to cats may also be allergic to pork, adds the specialist: “There is a type of allergy called pig-cat syndrome and if you are sensitive to this cat albumin you may have symptoms if you eat pork because it also contains the same protein. It’s rare, but it does happen.” The doctor comments that something similar happens in chickens with poultry or chicken meat allergy due to the allergic pathology known as bird-egg syndrome.

Treatments for cat allergy

Once a cat allergy has been diagnosed, the ideal would be to avoid the allergen, ie avoid exposure to the animal. If the allergy is severe and the kitten cannot live directly with the person concerned, “it must be handled in such a way that the animal is in the best possible condition,” explains María Luisa Fernández, veterinarian and adviser to the Board of Directors of the General Council Schools Veterinarians from Spain .

If coexistence is maintained, the doctor prescribes medications to relieve symptoms: antihistamines, intranasal corticosteroids, or antihistamines at the eye level, says dr German. And if the drug is not enough, then the patient is offered immunotherapy, that is, a vaccine made specifically for that person.

“The vaccine is usually given monthly. An initial dose is given and when the maintenance dose is reached, it is usually given every 4 weeks or every 6 weeks, depending on the laboratory, and lasts between 3 and 5 years. It’s usually given as an injection,” says the allergist. There are also sublingual vaccines in the form of drops that are taken daily or 3 or 4 times a week, depending on the manufacturing laboratory.

Steps to reduce symptoms of cat allergy

If the allergy is severe, the best solution is to remove the animal from the home. But once away from home “there can be Allergens from the animal up to 6-12 months later, because they are very small particles that can remain for months,” warns the allergist.

If you decide to live with your pet, these guidelines will help control cat allergies:

  • Isolate the animal in a certain area of ​​the house. “It’s important to try not to have the cat in the same room as the person with the allergy because no matter how well it’s cleaned, there are always traces of hair or skin from the animal that can cause a reaction.” warns the vet.
  • elimination of allergen reservoirs, that is, removing rugs and rugs. “Avoid any place where allergens and dander can accumulate,” Germán specifies.
  • Vacuum the house thoroughly and daily for vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters.
  • Put blankets on mattresses.
  • Wash the animal more than twice a week (and brush your hair away from home).
  • sterilize the cat especially males, as castration reduces production of the Fel d1 protein.
  • There are a few for mild or moderate allergies Lotion products applied to the cat’s coat once a week (and also those of the dog and other animals). “They minimize symptoms, but their benefit is partial, they’re not a panacea,” says Fernández.

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