How does cat allergy manifest? Anyone who plans to have a furry pet at home should know the answer to this question. According to statistics, 15% of cat owners are allergic to wool, dandruff, saliva or urine of their pets. It is impossible to quickly deal with this problem. It will take a lot of time and effort to solve it.
- How does cat allergy manifest?
- Causes of allergies
- Typical allergens
- Cross reaction
- How does allergy manifest in pregnant women and children?
- Allergy diagnostics: basic methods
- Mucosal tests
- Skin tests
- Blood sampling and testing
- Voll Method
- Treatment for cat allergies
- Elimination of the allergen
- Symptomatic drug treatment
- Folk remedies
- Refusal of treatment
- Can you die from cat allergies?
How does cat allergy manifest?
Allergy manifests itself in the form of rhinitis, conjunctivitis, skin rash, bronchitis, and atomic bronchial asthma. These symptoms appear approximately the same in adult patients and children.
- Rhinitis is manifested by nasal congestion, difficulty in nasal breathing, profuse nasal discharge, sneezing, and severe itching in the nose. Itching in the ears and nasopharynx is also possible.
- Conjunctivitis can manifest itself in the form of intense tearing, itching, edema and redness of the mucous membranes, temporary blurred vision. The patient has very itchy eyes. Corneal edema may begin.
- Skin symptoms include redness and flaking of certain areas of the skin, itching, rashes, and hives. The greatest concentration of skin rashes occurs in areas that have come into contact with the animal.
- Bronchitis is manifested by an allergic cough, soreness in the bronchi, shortness of breath. If bronchitis is left untreated, it can progress to atopic bronchial asthma.
- Atopic bronchial asthma is manifested by a dry, tearful cough, suffocation, heaviness in the chest, wheezing, dry wheezing. Coughing fits end with the separation of a small amount of sputum from the patient.
When the first symptoms of allergy appear, it is necessary to urgently consult a doctor who will select adequate treatment for the patient.
Causes of allergies
Doctors name four causes of allergies: genetic predisposition, immune system disorders, hormonal changes in the body and severe stress.
- Genetic predisposition. Allergies can be inherited up to the sixth generation. Few people know about the diseases of their distant ancestors, so it is impossible to exclude heredity from the list of allergy causes.
- Immune system disorders. Immunity can be weakened by poor ecology, stress, hypovitaminosis, prolonged use of antibiotics and some other factors. With a weakened immunity, the body begins to react sharply to irritants that it simply did not notice before, and, as a result, a person develops an allergy.
- Hormonal changes in the body are manifested in adolescence, with the onset of sexual activity and with the onset of pregnancy. Endocrine diseases are another reason for serious changes in human hormonal levels and the appearance of allergies.
- Stress factor. Allergies can be caused by severe stress. Death of loved ones, change of residence, divorce, troubles at work – these and other events can become an impetus for the development of the disease.
To understand why an allergy to cats is manifested, it is necessary to conduct a comprehensive examination of the patient’s body.
Typical irritants for allergy sufferers are skin scales, saliva, urine and faeces of cats, which contain dangerous proteins and enzymes. Allergy to cats manifests itself at the moment when the maximum amount of allergens accumulates in the human body.
- Dandruff. Microscopically small, light flakes of dandruff are regularly detached from the surface of the cat’s skin. First, these flakes fall on the animal’s fur, and then become part of the house dust.
- Saliva. The cat often licks the fur, leaving its saliva on it. Drying, saliva particles enter the air, and from there into the human respiratory tract.
- Urine. There are protein compounds in cat urine that are individual for each animal. When the cat bathes, these compounds are carried through the coat, where they mix with the finest skin scales, turn into dust and settle on furniture and everyday objects.
- Feces. Cat feces contain many lymphocytes and immunoglobulins, which remain on the trays, spread through the animal’s coat and get into the air with dust particles.
Thus, cat allergy is not due to cat fluff, but to biological secretions from animals in the form of dandruff, saliva, urine or feces.
REFERENCE: Scientists have noticed that animals with light coats emit fewer allergens than their dark counterparts. Females produce fewer stimuli than males. Therefore, owners of white cats show allergy symptoms much less often than owners of black cats.
Cross-reaction is a specific reaction of the human body to a number of similar allergens. For example, if you are allergic to feline epithelium, a patient is likely to develop an allergy to pork and pork dishes. Possible cross-reactions for cat allergies are listed in the following table.
Cat allergy cross-reaction.
|Major allergens||Cross reactions|
|Allergy to cat dandruff||Allergy symptoms appear when eating pork and any dishes from it|
|Allergy to cat hair||There is a reaction to woolen shoes, clothes, hats, home textiles, fur animals and their skins|
|Allergy to cat saliva||There is a reaction to the saliva of leopards, tigers, jaguars, lions and other representatives of the Feline family|
|Allergy to urine and faeces of cats||Hypersensitivity to urine and feces of horses, cows, rodents, pigs, dogs and some other animals|
The theory of cross-allergy allows doctors to successfully relieve the symptoms of the disease up to obtaining a long, stable remission in patients.
Types of allergens
How does allergy manifest in pregnant women and children?
In the first trimester of pregnancy, many antihistamines are contraindicated, therefore, while carrying a child, an allergic woman must prevent any contact with cats.
If the allergy does start, then its symptoms may appear more intense than before pregnancy. If a woman has never had a skin rash, itching, redness and swelling of the eyes before, now, after contact with an animal, these symptoms may suddenly appear.
Allergy to cats in infants can manifest itself in the form of skin rashes and disorders of the digestive tract, less often in the form of conjunctivitis or rhinitis.
If the cat touches the baby’s skin with its fluffy coat, then red spots and hives may appear on the baby’s belly, neck, face or buttocks. Gastrointestinal disorders in infants are manifested in the form of loose stools, lack of appetite, frequent regurgitation and crying during and after meals.
IMPORTANT! Allergy symptoms are not spread to infants through mother’s milk. The danger of the disease is manifested in the fact that in young children, reflexively or as a result of edema, breathing can stop.
Preschoolers suffer from cat allergies more often than adults. In this case, the symptoms of the disease are most pronounced:
- swelling of the skin and mucous membranes,
- inflammation of the lymph nodes,
- itchy nose and frequent sneezing.
If a child develops allergy symptoms, see a doctor immediately.
Allergy manifestation table in pregnant women and children
Allergy diagnostics: basic methods
You can recognize an allergy or refute its presence using the following methods:
- mucosal tests,
- skin tests,
- blood tests in the laboratory,
- Voll method.
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The tests are provocative. They involve the alternate introduction of liquids with a low, medium and high concentration of allergens into the patient’s nasal cavity.
After the introduction of the samples, the doctor monitors the patient’s condition. If allergy symptoms appear, the test is stopped and the patient is given antihistamines.
The following methods are used to obtain skin tests:
- scarification research,
- injection method,
- intradermal tests.
During the scarification study, provoking solutions with allergens are applied to the patient’s skin and it is observed whether the patient is allergic or not. Injection and intradermal testing involve the injection of irritants into the patient’s skin.
Allergen skin tests
Blood sampling and testing
To confirm or deny the presence of an allergy, the patient takes a blood test for eosinophils and total immunoglobulins E. If the level of these cells exceeds the norm, then the person has an allergy. To identify specific allergens, the patient needs to take a blood test for immunoglobulins G and E.
The method involves irritation of acupuncture points on the human body with a weak current (12 μA) and measurement of skin resistance, by the level of which the health of the whole organism is judged. Based on the measurements obtained, the specialist determines the presence or absence of allergies in the patient and its effect on the human body.
Treatment for cat allergies
It is possible to cure an allergy to cats, but the fight against the disease will require a lot of time and effort from the patient. The main methods of treating cat allergy include allergen elimination, immunotherapy, drug therapy, and folk remedies.
Elimination of the allergen
This method involves the elimination of the main irritant, that is, getting rid of a cat or a cat living at the patient’s home. The pet should be given into good hands and in the future, the number of contacts with its furry brethren should be minimized.
To completely get rid of allergies allows immunotherapy, which works according to the “wedge by wedge” method. A solution with an allergen is injected into the patient’s body at regular intervals.
The first dose of the solution contains an insignificant concentration of irritants; later the concentration increases. By the end of the course of immunotherapy, the allergic reaction either appears insignificantly or disappears altogether.
Symptomatic drug treatment
At the first symptoms of cat allergy, symptomatic drug treatment is performed. In the fight against the disease, the drugs listed in the following table are used.
Antihistamines for the medical treatment of cat allergies
Along with antihistamines for symptomatic drug treatment of allergies, ointments “Akriderm”, “Betnovate”, “Advantan”, “Celeston”, nasal sprays “Nazarel”, “Avamis”, “Nasonex”, “Laferon”, “Nosefrin”, enterosorbents are used and decongestants.
Traditional medicine offers recipes for decoctions and tinctures, with which you can quickly relieve allergy symptoms. For the preparation of medicinal tinctures, traditional healers recommend using duckweed, mint, chamomile, sage, succession, St. John’s wort, calendula, dandelion, horsetail, yarrow, cocklebur, ephedra bicolor, nettle leaves, burdock root, field rootworm, marin root and other components.
Herbal collection for allergies
Refusal of treatment
If the patient is not treated and refuses to take antihistamines, doctors predict two possible scenarios for the development of events:
- getting used to the irritant and getting rid of cat allergies.
- the transition of the disease to atopic bronchial asthma.
There are cases when allergy sufferers, having taken kittens home, suffered from itching and runny nose for a couple of weeks, and then were cured of these unpleasant manifestations forever. In medical practice, there are other examples when refusal to treat allergies led to the development of atopic bronchial asthma, which is fatal to humans. In this respect, refusing to take drugs and “cat therapy” are like Russian roulette: you never know how this exciting game will end.
Can you die from cat allergies?
Sadly, but after contact with a cat, the patient may experience anaphylactic shock or Quincke’s edema. Both of these conditions pose a real threat to human life. No less dangerous is atopic bronchial asthma, due to which the patient can die.
Thus, cat allergy is a widespread disease that manifests itself in the form of rhinitis, lacrimation, skin rashes and coughs.
The causes of the disease include genetic predisposition, weak immunity, changes in hormonal levels and stress. To diagnose the disease, mucosal tests are performed, skin tests are done, blood is taken for analysis and the Voll method is used. You can fight allergies with the methods of elimination of allergens, immunotherapy, as well as with the help of drug therapy and folk remedies.