Your cat can be one of your best friends. But cats can also be a major source of asthma triggers such as: B. dead skin (dander), urine or saliva. Breathing in any of these allergens can trigger an allergic reaction that causes asthma symptoms.
And your cat doesn't even have to be nearby to trigger a reaction. These allergens often float through the air in your home, latching onto dust particles and ending up on furniture, drapes, and rugs. If your cat shares your bed, allergens can remain on your sheets and blankets for years, even if you wash them regularly.
Is giving up on your beloved feline friend not an option? You are not alone: many would rather take precautions to control their symptoms and the source of the allergens than put their kitten up for adoption.
That's exactly what we'll cover here: how to create a treatment plan and make lifestyle changes to accommodate your cat's allergic asthma.
First of all, it is worth knowing how allergic asthma differs from other types of asthma.
asmaIt happens when the airways become inflamed. The airways carry air through the trachea (windpipe) and bronchioles to the lungs, which take oxygen from the blood through the lungs. Asthma can have many causes, including chronic allergies, parents with asthma, or a respiratory infection at a young age. An asthma attack can occur without warning or from triggers such as stress or overexertion due to exercise.
Allergic asthma, or allergy-induced asthma, occurs when the airways become inflamed after exposure to an allergen. About 60 percent ofall people with asthma in the United Stateshave this type According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America about30 percent of allergy sufferers are allergic to dogs or cats.. Have twice as many peopleCat allergies than dog allergies.
It's easier to tell if you have this type of asthma if you notice its symptoms during allergy season, such as: B. in spring and fallPolandit's at high levels or when you're directly exposed to triggers like cat dander or certain chemicals.
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Cats can produce several allergens that can trigger asthma symptoms, including:
- cabana.The dead skin cells that form around a cat's sweat glands can be airborne, attached to dust particles, and inhaled.
- Saliva.Proteins like albumin andDomestic cat 1 (Fel d 1)they are transferred to the cat's skin when it is groomed with the tongue. These proteins can come into contact with the skin or stick to dandruff that is inhaled.
- Urine.Fel d 1 protein is also found in cat urine. This can trigger asthma symptoms if you get too close and breathe in.
Some common cat-related allergy and asthma symptoms can include:
- persistent cough
- chest tightness
- breathe fast
- feel short of breath
- premature eruption
- scaly skin
- running nose
- itchy eyes
- crying eyes
- Stuffy nose
- come out in hives
- swelling of the tongue, face, or mouth
- swelling of the airways making breathing difficult (anaphylaxis)
Your doctor can diagnose feline allergic asthma by describing your symptoms and your home environment. If your symptoms only occur around your cat or in the home, where a large number of allergens are likely to be present, a diagnosis can be made.
More tests may be needed if your doctor can't determine the cause of your symptoms right away. Your doctor may recommend a skin test, a blood test, or both to identify the cause of your allergies.
Here's how these tests work:
- allergy skin test.For this test, your doctor inserts a needle coated with a small amount of an allergen into your skin. If the area swells or becomes irritated within half an hour, you are allergic to that substance. Your doctor may repeat this several times with different allergens to assess the extent of your allergies.
- Intradermaler Hauttest.In this test, your doctor will inject a small amount of an allergen into your arm. If irritation occurs, you are most likely allergic to that substance. Your skin can react to the injection even if you are not allergic, so this test should not be used alone to diagnose your allergies.
- Blood test.For this test, your doctor draws blood with a fine needle and sends the sample to a lab to test for antibodies that react to certain allergens. Aside from sticking the needle into the skin, you won't have any reaction. Results may not be available right away, but they will provide a much more detailed analysis of what is causing your allergies.
Most doctors will tell you that the only surefire way to limit or prevent your cat's allergic asthma symptoms is to get her outside. Even so, dandruff can remain in your home for months and you'll still have symptoms.
But if that's not an option for you, there are many other ways to treat your symptoms:
- To loadallergy medication.Over-the-counter antihistamines such as cetirizine (Zyrtec), diphenhydramine (Benadryl), or loratadine (Claritin) work best.
- use aInhaler.Your doctor may prescribe an inhaler such as Albuterol (ProAir HFA, Ventolin HFA) for quick symptom relief. You may only need an inhaler if your symptoms are rare.
- To receiveAllergy Vaccines.Allergy shots, or immunotherapy, consist of injections containing small amounts of cat allergens to make your cat's immune system more resilient. Over time, your symptoms will become less severe and more frequent.
- To usenasal sprays.Sprays like Mometason (Nasonex) contain corticosteroids, which can reduce inflammation and other symptoms.
- Make onesaline solution.Rinsing the allergens out of the nose with warm salt water can alleviate symptoms by preventing the allergens from entering the airways.
- To loadNatrichromoglycate.This medication stops your immune system from releasing chemicals that cause symptoms.
You can also make lifestyle changes to limit your exposure to dander and other feline asthma triggers:
- Don't let your cat sleep in your bed.Keep your bedding free of fluff so that you have at least one allergen-free zone.
- use ahepa ar purifier.A room air purifier can remove allergens from the air and return clean, allergen-free air to your home.
- Replace your mats.Install hardwood or laminate floors to limit hair formation. If you decide to keep your rug, replace it with a low rug.
- Vacuum frequently.Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter and wear a dust mask when vacuuming to prevent allergens from entering the airways.
- Change clothes after taking the cat for a walk.Change into clean, hair-free clothing after spending time with your kitty to reduce potential exposure.
- Bathe your cat regularly.Regular baths can limit the amount of dander and asthma-causing proteins in your cat's skin.
- Buy a hypoallergenic cat.There is no allergen-free cat. But some cats are bred to do that.produce less of the Fel d 1 gene. these cats
It can be difficult to determine whether cats are actually the cause of your allergic asthma. Cat allergens can combine with other potential triggers to cause your symptoms to interfere with your life. Asthma can also get worse over time if left untreated.
An allergist can use tests to identify what's making your asthma symptoms worse and help you build your immune system to tolerate them. Immunity is important if you want to provide long-term support for your kitty.
Your cat may be your best friend, but it could also be the cause of your allergic asthma symptoms.
If you're not willing to part with them to completely eliminate cat allergens from your home, you can still keep your feline relationship going strong. Treat the symptoms, make some changes around the house to limit your exposure to allergens, and see an allergist for long-term relief.