They Can Improve Mental Health Too
It’s not just physical symptoms that can get better with allergy shots mental state can improve, as wellespecially if severe allergies have really taken a toll on your health and happiness.
This may be especially true for insect allergies, a condition that can cause serious distress and affect a person’s ability to enjoy the outdoors. One 2014 study found that patients with insect-venom allergies who received immunotherapy not only had a lower risk of anaphylaxis and death than those who didn’t, but also had lower anxiety and depression scores.
Do Pet Allergies Go Away With Exposure
Low levels of pet exposure in allergic individuals tend to cause ongoing symptoms whereas significantly larger exposures can cause desensitisation, although this is difficult to achieve without formal treatment with allergen extract. Some people feel that ongoing exposure does improve their symptoms, but this can often be a misinterpreting of them simply getting used to more chronic symptoms. A typical situation will be children who feel that their allergies are well-controlled but then when they go away, for example, to university and come back months later, they have significant reactions to the pets that they have been away from.
How Cat Allergies Develop
If you do suffer from cat allergies, you’re far from alone. In fact, people are twice as likely to be allergic to cats than they are to dogs, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. But how do people develop cat allergies in the first place?
Your immune system works every day to find and destroy foreign substances . Some people’s immune systems are more sensitive than others. The immune systems of cat allergy sufferers react to what are essentially harmless microscopic proteins that have been released by your cat in her dander , saliva and urine.
Many people believe pet hair is to blame, but pet hair alone is not an allergen. Hair can, however, collect pet dander and allow it to be distributed willy-nilly throughout your house when your cat sheds. It can collect on furniture, bedding and carpets, and can even last a long time simply suspended in the air.
Some people are lucky enough that they eventually develop an immunity to cat allergies. While this is certainly possible, allergic reactions may also worsen with more exposure. It’s also possible that someone who has never suffered an allergy to cats before can develop one. If you suddenly find yourself sneezing, wheezing or sniffling when you are around your cat, you might want to ask your doctor to test you for an allergy.
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Cat Allergies In Infants
Babies cannot talk about their symptoms, so cat allergies in infants may go undetected. Babies and toddlers who are often sick, who have difficulty sleeping, who have trouble breathing, who develop rashes, or who have unexplained respiratory symptoms may have allergies.
If there are cats or other animals in the house, consider seeing an allergist for allergy testing. Other household allergens, such as dust mites or mold, can also be triggers of allergy symptoms.
The easiest way to treat cat allergies is to avoid homes with cats and to rehome any cats that live with you. For people who view their pets as family, this is unthinkable.
Depending on the severity of the allergy, it may be possible to live with cats. Doing so requires a combination of allergy treatment and diligent management of cat hair and other particles. Knowing what specific proteins cause the allergic reaction can help people with cat allergies decide how best to manage their symptoms.
People with a history of anaphylactic reactions or severe asthma attacks in response to cats should not live with or be around cats. These types of severe allergic reactions can be life-threatening.
Nothing To Sneeze At: New Strategies For Controlling Cat Allergy
When it comes to cat allergy, theres only one sure way to avoid symptoms stay away from cats. But many cat lovers with allergies would rather live with the sniffling, sneezing and wheezing than live without their beloved pet.
As I tell people with cat allergies, the treatment of choice is removal of the cat, says Dr. Michael Blaiss, executive medical director of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology . Most people dont want to give up the cat. Usually, they will remove me as the doctor before they remove the cat.
Cat allergy is the most common animal allergy, affecting about one in five adults worldwide. Symptoms range from stuffy nose and itchy eyes, to hives, wheezing and asthma attacks.
Immunotherapy, often called allergy shots, can be effective in taming reactions in many people. But immunotherapy requires several years of injections, which many people dont want to do.
The good news is that researchers are on the hunt for new treatments and developing some promising new options. This article explores the novel therapies under study, including lab-created antibodies that help to halt allergic reactions in their tracks, and even a vaccine for kitty, designed to trim the amount of allergens that cats shed.
And some relief may be as near as your local pet store. In 2020, Nestlé Purina began selling cat food that neutralizes allergens in the cats saliva, a source of the protein that causes so much itchy, watery, wheezy misery.
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How To Treat Cats With Allergies
- Emory University
- Northwestern University
While most of us reach for the medicine cabinet when the pollen count begins to rise, its a little hard to relieve allergy symptoms when you lack opposable thumbs.
So what’s an itchy cat to do?
If your cat has allergies, our experts have tips to help them survive allergy season without a scratch, sneeze or sniffle.
How Many Shots Will I Have To Get
Most people get 1 or 2 shots each week at first. After about 6 months of weekly shots, your healthcare provider will decide when you can start maintenance treatment. These shots usually are given once a month, year-round. You probably will need maintenance shots for 3 to 5 years. If your symptoms are better, you may be able to stop having shots.
Talk to your healthcare provider if your symptoms do not improve after 6 months. You may need to try another form of treatment.
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They’re A Big Time Commitment
Allergy shots are given in two phases. In the “build-up” phase, you’ll need a shot once or twice a week for about three to six months. After that, you’ll enter the “maintenance” phase and receive them less oftenabout once or twice a month, for several years.
Sticking to this schedule is important, for the shots’ effectiveness and to reduce your chances of having a bad reaction. “For some people it’s absolutely worth it, but some people just don’t have that time to spare,” says Dr. Dziadzio. And while the shots themselves only take a minute, you probably will have to wait those 30 minutes in your doctor’s office after each one.
What Is The Best Treatment For Pet Allergy
The best treatment is to avoid contact with cats or dogs or the areas where they live. Keep pets out of your home. If possible, try to avoid visiting homes with pets that you are allergic to. Avoiding cats and dogs may give you enough relief that you will not need medicine.
Keeping the pet outdoors will help, but will not rid the house of pet allergens. Another option is to choose pets that do not have fur or feathers. Fish, snakes or turtles are some choices.
Pet allergy can be a social problem making it difficult to visit friends and relatives who have cats and dogs . This may be especially troublesome for children who cannot participate in activities at the home of friends. Talk to your doctor about possible use of medication before these social exposures and specific measures to take after the exposure.
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Can Cats Have Allergies Signs Common Types & Treatments
Can cats have allergies just like their pet parents? Yes, they can! However, cats don’t normally show the same clinical signs watery eyes, runny nose and sneezing that we commonly associate with allergies in humans. Instead, cats with allergies display signs of itchiness such as licking, chewing or rubbing on the fur and skin. Allergies in cats are commonly separated into three categories: flea, environmental and food. The specific type of allergy present will help determine treatment and what to feed a cat with allergies. Read on to learn more about the types of allergies, their clinical signs and treatment options.
They’re Not Just For Seasonal Allergies
Allergy shots can be effective for people with hay fever and other seasonal allergies, but they can also work for year-round indoor allergieslike mold, dust mites, and animal danderand allergies to insect bites or stings.
“In the case of stinging insects, the shots can be close to curative,” says Dr. Dziadzio. “That’s the one time I really push people to get the shots no matter what, because it’s such a dangerous allergy.” Allergy shots may also be a good choice for people who don’t like taking medications or can’t avoid the thing they’re allergic tolike a pet or the great outdoors.
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What Is Flea Allergy And How Is It Treated
Flea allergy is the most common allergy in cats.
In spite of common belief, a normal cat experiences only minor skin irritation in response to fleabites. On the other hand, a cat with flea allergies has a severe reaction to even a single fleabite. This reaction is an allergic response to proteins or antigens present in the flea’s saliva. When a flea bites a cat to consume a blood meal, some of its saliva is injected into the skin. Just one fleabite may cause such intense itching that the cat may severely scratch or chew itself, leading to the removal of large amounts of hair. There will often be open sores or scabs on the skin, resulting in a secondary bacterial skin infection . The area most commonly involved is over the rump or base of the tail. In addition, the cat may have numerous small scabs around the head and neck. These scabs are often referred to as miliary dermatitis, a term that was coined because the scabs look like millet seeds .
“This reaction is an allergic response to proteins or antigens present in the flea’s saliva.”
How Often Do You Get Allergy Shots
At first, youâll go to your doctor once or twice a week for several months. Youâll get the shot in your upper arm. It’ll contain a tiny amount of the thing youâre allergic to — pollen, pet dander, mold, dust mites, or bee venom, for example.
The dose will go up gradually until you get to whatâs called a maintenance dose. After that, youâll usually get a shot every 2-4 weeks for 4-5 months. Then your doctor will gradually increase the time between shots until youâre getting them about once a month for 3-5 years. During that time, your allergy symptoms will get better and may even go away.
If your symptoms donât improve after a year of shots, talk with your doctor about other treatment options.
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Can Pet Allergies Be Prevented
It is common to be asked whether it is safe for a child with other allergies such as food allergies to get a cat or a dog, and if testing at the time to the animal is negative, it is unlikely that the child is already allergic. However, it is important to bear in mind that patients with an allergic tendency will typically develop allergies after a period of regular exposure, so if such a patient brings a cat or a dog into their home, there is a very high chance that they will eventually become allergic to it and that will then start to cause symptoms which could be problematic. It is therefore worth discussing this before going down the route of purchasing a pet.
How Long Do Pet Allergy Symptoms Last
Pet allergy symptoms typically develop after a period of exposure to the animal this may not necessarily be in your own home but could be through contact with others who are pet owners or visiting their homes. Typically, they do not develop in early childhood as a fairly long period of years of exposure is required, so typically symptoms do not show themselves until later childhood. Once an allergy is established, it tends to last some time. Often patients will report their symptoms improving over time when they have the pet at home which may well happen but can sometimes be a misinterpretation of simply getting used to the symptoms as they become more chronic and not noticing them as being out of the ordinary anymore.
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How Long Do Pet Allergies Last After Exposure
Allergic symptoms will continue as long as the exposure continues. Once the allergen is removed, symptoms usually settle within a few hours but can last for 2-3 days, for example if there has been significant eye swelling, the use of antihistamines and on some occasions even oral steroids can help this settle more rapidly.
What Is Inhalant Allergy Or Atopy
Inhalant allergy or atopy is not well understood in cats. In dogs and humans, atopic dermatitis generally refers to allergic reactions to environmental allergens such as pollens, grasses, molds, mildew, and house dust mites).
“Most cats that have an inhalant allergy are allergic to several allergens.”
Many of these allergies occur seasonally, such as ragweed, cedar, and grass pollens. However, others are with us all the time, such as molds, mildew, and house dust mites. When humans inhale these allergens, we express the allergy as a respiratory problem. In humans, atopy is also sometimes called ‘hay fever’. The cat’s primary reaction to atopy is severe, generalized itching.
Most cats that have an inhalant allergy are allergic to several allergens. If the number of allergens is small and they are seasonal, itching may last for just a few weeks at a time during one or two periods of the year. If the number of allergens is large or they are present year-round, the cat may itch constantly.
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Why Do Pet Allergies Cause You To Sneeze Anyway
First of all, its important to understand what causes your allergy flare-ups. Dr. Hong says that its actually a protein in the saliva, urine and feces of these pets that were allergic to. It gets on their fur and skin, she adds, explaining how it spreads so easily.
As for why some pets may bother you more than others, its because certain proteins last longer than others. Cat protein can last up to four months in your home environment, Dr. Hong explains, while dog dander can linger for shorter periods of time.
That doesnt mean a dog wont make you sneeze and wheeze. One of the reasons is that all of these proteins can linger in your home. They get attached to couches, any sort of cloth surfaces like rugs and carpets and other upholstery and they stain and linger there, she says.
Dr. Hong says one other thing to be aware of is that theres no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog or cat. Even hairless cats arent 100% hypoallergenic. Even if they dont shed fur and spread dander everywhere, theyre still shedding the protein were allergic to.
How Should I Prepare For Allergy Shots
You may want to avoid exercise or doing anything strenuous for 2 hours before and after your appointment. Thatâs because exercise boosts blood flow to the tissues and may cause the allergens to spread throughout your body faster. Itâs not likely to cause a serious problem, but itâs best to be safe.
Tell your doctor about any other medicines or herbs and supplements you take. Some medications interfere with the treatment or raise the risk of side effects. You may need to stop allergy shots if you take these medications.
If youâre pregnant or planning to get pregnant, ask your doctor whether you should continue to get allergy shots.
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Always Consult A Doctor First
Before trying any of the suggestions listed above, consult your doctor. And if you plan to adjust your cats diet or lifestyle, talk to your vet.
Some people with more serious issues, such as asthmatic reactions to cats, shouldnt try exposure therapy because they might have a very severe response. So make sure you talk to your doctor and get an allergy test first.
Have you or anyone you know been able to overcome an allergy to cats? What helped you reduce symptoms? Let us know in the comments below!
All That Said Are Allergy Shots Worth A Shot
Allergy shots can relieve allergy symptoms. Many people who get allergy shots are able to stop using their allergy medication completely because they no longer have symptoms. Other people report significant improvement in their symptoms and are able to use less medication. This relief can last for several years, but relapses may happen. In these cases, it is possible to restart allergy shots.
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Purina Institute Cat Allergen Diet Study
The Swiss scientists arent the only ones hoping to bring a cat de-allergenator to market.
Purina has taken a different approach to tackling the Fel d1 protein. They are working to neutralize the allergen through a cats diet.
The company recently published a study explaining how an egg product ingredient can be introduced to a cats diet to help neutralize the major cat allergen, Fel d1.
The concept is similar to the vaccine, with the goal being to decrease levels of active Fel d1 found in cat saliva.
While Purinas study did not yet incorporate humans allergic response rates, an encouraging 86% of cats saw at least a 30% reduction from the baseline Fel d1 levels.
Purina has not yet made any statements about when consumers should expect to see a cat food product that utilizes the special egg protein.