Allergy, Cat Dander

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The human body truly is a thing of wonder. While it defends us against many harmful substances, it can often mistake mundane things as hazardous substances and cause us more harm than good.

The immune system produces antibodies to combat potentially harmful substances such as bacteria and viruses. When a person develops allergies, the immune system misidentifies an allergen as something dangerous and produces antibodies to combat it. An allergic reaction to cat dander occurs very similarly. Some of the symptoms of cat dander allergy include:

  • Coughing and wheezing
  • Sneezing
  • Hives or rashes
  • Postnasal drip
  • Redness skin in the places where a cat has licked, bitten or scratched
  • Nasal congestion
  • Coughing
  • Frequent sleep disturbances
  • Runny, itchy, or stuffy nose
  • Facial pressure and pain
  • Red, itchy and swollen eyes

Cat dander allergy results from the allergens in the cat's dander or dead skin, hair, saliva, and even urine. An allergic reaction to cat dander might result from inhaling cat dander or coming close to specific allergens in the cat's body. Moreover, cat dander allergy appears to be influenced by genetic factors.

Even though the symptoms of cat dander allergy may appear straightforward, the cat does not necessarily cause it. Hence, it is vital to seek medical guidance. Physicians will usually request a cat dander allergy test to examine if there are any problematic symptoms.

The cat dander allergy test looks for allergy-causing antibodies using a blood sample. However, allergy testing is not always accurate. Hence, the healthcare provider may advise the patient to try living without a cat for a few months to observe how it impacts their allergy symptoms.

After determining whether or not a person is allergic to cat dander, the doctor will devise a treatment plan customized to the patient's requirements. The most effective treatment for cat dander allergy is completely avoiding the allergen – in this case, cat dander. Some of the other treatment options for curing cat dander allergy may include:

  • Antihistamines like cetirizine, loratadine, or diphenhydramine
  • Nasal sprays containing corticosteroids like fluticasone or mometasone
  • Decongestant sprays sold over-the-counter
  • Cromolyn sodium, which reduces symptoms by preventing the production of immune system chemicals
  • Immunotherapy, or allergy injections -- a series of treatments that subdue one's sensitization to an allergen
  • Montelukast or any other leukotriene inhibitor

Still, many people with a cat dander allergy have pet cats. It can often be difficult to send one’s pet away simply owing to the cat dander allergy. In this case, one can opt for the cat dander allergy test from Apollo 24|7's website. After that, they can take appropriate precautions and immunotherapy to help curb the symptoms.

Some of the lifestyles changes one can incorporate have been listed below:

  • Give your cat frequent baths
  • Create a fully pet-free zone or make a designated space for your pet to live
  • Remove all dander attracting upholstery and carpeting
  • Employ help to clean up after your pet
  • Use an air filter, specifically a HEPA air filter

    Medically reviewed by Dr Jatin Ahuja, Infectious Diseases, Apollo Hospitals Indraprastha, South Delhi.

faqFrequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Substances like proteins found in the cat dander or the dried skin flakes, saliva, urine, etc., cause cat dander allergy. Individuals with this allergy have an overly sensitive immune system that misinterprets harmless substances, such as cat dander, as hazardous intruders and fights them like they are germs or viruses.
Yes, an individual can continue to live with a cat if they have a milder cat dander allergy. However, it can cause extreme long-term complications for those with a more severe cat dander allergy.
One can temporarily fix an allergic reaction to cat dander with antihistamines, oral decongestants, eye drops, corticosteroids or bronchodilators. In the long term, healthcare providers treat a cat dander allergy through immunotherapy up to a certain extent.
Cat dander lasts far longer than dog dander. In fact, it is suggested that cat dander can stay in the upholstery and carpets for up to 6 months after a cat has left the residence. Therefore, cat dander can remain allergenic for as long as it stays around the house.
You can use a specialized cleaning service to clean your entire home to eliminate cat dander. Alternatively, you can install an air purifier and remove all wall-to-wall carpeting as well as any upholstered furniture to ensure that allergens don't last around the house.
Yes, air purifiers can help keep cat dander at bay for those with a cat dander allergy. However, these air purifiers need to be HEPA air purifiers in order to be fully effective.

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The information mentioned above is meant for educational purposes only and should not be taken as a substitute to your Physician’s advice. It is highly recommended that the customer consults with a qualified healthcare professional to interpret test results