Cat allergy

Cat allergy in humans is an allergic reaction to cat glycoprotein Fel d 1 secreted by the cat's sebaceous glands. Fel d 1 is mostly found in the cat's skin and saliva.

An allergic reaction is a histamine reaction that is usually characterized by coughing, wheezing, chest tightening, itching, nasal congestion, rash, watering eyes, sneezing and similar symptoms.

ymptoms of allergies

These include red, itchy, watery eyes; nasal congestion; itchy nose; sneezing; difficulty breathing (dyspnea); chronic sore throat and/or scratchy throat; coughing, wheezing, or itchy skin. Some people reported elevation of the skin upon being scratched by a cat.Fact|date=April 2008

Lessening reactions

Allergic reaction to cats can be lessened most successfully by minimizing exposure to the animals. If living with a cat is unavoidable, frequent handwashing and avoiding touching eyes or other sensitive areas is advisable. Minimizing upholstery, rugs and draperies in which the allergen can accumulate in the home is another strategy. Barring the cat from certain rooms (in particular the bedroom or other rooms where much time is spent) or limiting it to the outdoors is also partially successful. Finally, some allergy sufferers find relief in periodic injection therapy designed to stimulate the body's natural immune responses to the cat allergen. Although this is not usually 100% successful, it can reduce reactions to tolerable levels for many individuals.Fact|date=April 2008

Coping With Allergies

Having pets has been shown to be emotionally healthy. However, if having anything other than a mild allergy, the allergies should be addressed.Fact|date=April 2008

Allergies are Cumulative

This means that every allergen (e.g. dust, mold, pollen) will add to the reaction. If then adding a cat then the total allergic reaction will be worse than any one allergy on its own. This is because people have a threshold; reducing all allergens will reduce the cumulative total and hence possibly reduce the reaction below the threshold.Fact|date=April 2008

Desensitizing

Many people originally allergic to cats have, over time, become "immune" to allergic symptoms from their own cats; however, they may still have allergic reactions, of varying intensity, to other cats. This is not reliable when deciding to get a cat as a pet, as allergy may become worse, not better, with time.Fact|date=April 2008

Lower Exposure

Allergens are airborne and survive for months or even years by themselves, hence removing anything that can trap and hold the allergens (carpet, rugs, pillows) and cleaning regularly and thoroughly with HEPA filters and Air purifier systems reduces risk. Furthermore, regularly brushing the cat will reduce the amount of loose fur (and its attached saliva) in the air. Regularly bathing will reduce allergens by 85%.Fact|date=April 2008

Medications

The most appropriate medication depends on the type and severity of symptoms. Specific illnesses that are caused by allergies (such as asthma and eczema) may require other treatments. Generally, hay fever medication or over-the-counter antihistamines have positive effects on cat allergy.Fact|date=April 2008

Allergy Shots

Immunotherapy more specifically known as Hyposensibilization for cats can provide immunisation to allergies.Fact|date=April 2008

ynthetic Epitope Vaccine

This is an in-development vaccine to provide a long term vaccine for allergies.Fact|date=April 2008

Hypoallergenic cats

A hypoallergenic cat is a cat which is less likely to provoke an allergic reaction in humans. There are claims, but no scientific evidence, that the Siberian and Russian Blue breeds are naturally hypoallergenic.Fact|date=April 2008 Similarly, cat breeds such as the LaPerm, Sphynx, Devon Rex, and Cornish Rex, which lack some of the normal layers of cat fur, are generally held by mild allergy sufferers to be significantly less likely than other breeds to provoke an allergic reaction.Fact|date=April 2008 However, as more people are allergic to the cat's saliva rather than the fur itself, the benefit of a hairless breed may be limited.

In 2006 the Allerca company announced the successful breeding of a line of hypoallergenic cats. However, no peer-reviewed studies have been done to confirm their claims and many scientists are skeptical of the company's assertions. [ [http://www.the-scientist.com/2007/1/1/32/1/ Felis Enigmaticus] ] They are currently accepting orders for hypoallergenic kittens. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/5375900.stm?ls 'Hypoallergenic cats' go on sale] ] Another company, Felix Pets, also claims to be developing a breed of hypoallergenic cat. [ [http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/06/060609-allergies-cats_2.html "Hypoallergenic" Cats For Sale, U.S. Firm Announces] ]

Other cat variations

It appears that female cats shed substantially lower amounts of allergen than males, and a neutered male sheds significantly less than a full male tom.Fact|date=March 2007 In 2000, researchers at the Long Island College Hospital found that cat owners with dark-colored cats were more likely to report allergy symptoms than those with light-colored cats. [ [http://www.prevention.com/article/0,5778,s1-1-51-288-756-1,00.html preliminary results] , cited in "Prevention (magazine)"] [ [http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/extract/284/24/3115-a full study] , cited in the "Journal of the American Medical Association"] [ [http://www.mdconsult.com/das/article/body/86002394-5/jorg=journal&source=MI&sp=12110857&sid=664165214/N/299395/1.html|Hussain S, Bassett C, Kaplan S, Schneider A, Silverman B. Correlation between the color of cat hair and severity of allergic symptoms in patients with allergic rhinitis. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2000;105(1 Part 2):S5.] ] A later study by the Wellington Asthma Research Group indicates that hair color has no effect on how much allergen a cat produces. [ [http://www.allergy.org.nz/newsMedia/news/snippets/cats.php cited by Allergy New Zealand] ] [cite journal | last = Siebers | first = R. | coauthors = Healy, B., Holt, S., Peters, S., Crane, J., and Fitzharris, P | title = Fel d 1 levels in domestic living rooms are not related to cat color or hair length | journal = Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology | volume = 108 | issue = 4 | pages = 652–653 | publisher = Elsevier | month = October | year = 2001 | url = http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=11590399&dopt=Citation | accessdate = 2007-03-20 | doi = 10.1067/mai.2001.118788 ]

References

External links

* [http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn9313&feedId=online-news_rss20 Allergen-free cats – a breed apart?] - article from New Scientist.
* [http://www.accessexcellence.org/WN/SUA02/cat-choo.html Cat Choo ] - News on immunisation
* [http://www.allergyfiles.com/cat-allergies-how-to-cope-18 Coping with Allergies] - Pet Allergy Information
* [http://www.hsus.org/pets/pet_care/allergies_to_pets/ Allergies to Pets] - Advice on How to Live with Pet Allergies and Minimize Its Effect
* [http://www.messybeast.com/allergy.htm Help, I'm Allergic to the Cat] - In-depth Cat Allergy Information
* [http://www.allerca.com/] - Commercial Company Selling Allergy Free Cats
* [http://www.catallergyfree.com Cat Allergy Relief using natural Acupressure Technique]


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