Allergy to Cat Hair

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The cat is one of the most beloved pets, this feline is beautiful and very kind but it can be the source of your nightmares! Because it can cause an allergy for people who adopt it. 

Allergy to cat hair is the most common allergies to animals. Treatments can help, but avoiding cats is the best choice for people with allergies.

What is Cat Hair Allergy?

Allergy to cat hair is a reaction of the immune system to allergenic proteins, the most frequent are ”  Fel d 1  ” and ”  Fel d 4  ” that are found on the skin, in saliva, urine, and of course, the hairs of the feline.

On contact with these proteins, the immune system of the allergic person will secrete inflammatory substances, mainly ”  histamine  “, triggering the symptoms of allergy.

There are 8 allergenic proteins, but ”  Fel d 1  ” is the one with the highest allergenic power. This protein is produced by the sebaceous glands (glands of the skin) and salivary glands of the cat. They are then found on the hair when the cat licks itself. 

When  This Allergy is Recognized?

Unfortunately, feline hair tends to disperse everywhere, in the house where the cat lives, but also in certain public places where it is transported via clothing.

You must have had the first contact of varying length with a cat, or with cat hair to become allergic. Not all cats have the same allergenic power. One can thus have the first cat without worry and discover, with the adoption of a second, that one is allergic.

Cat Hair Allergy Symptoms

Symptoms of cat hair allergy are mainly those of rhinitisconjunctivitis, or allergic asthma

Allergic rhinitis is triggered when the hair comes into contact with the nose, it is manifested by a runny nose and sneezing, this classic rhinitis of allergy to cat hair can, but not necessarily, be complicated by asthma.

Having conjunctivitis is also possible, it manifests as eyes that turn red and itch with swelling of the eyelids.

In severe cases, allergic asthma that presents with bronchial damage. 

The presence of the allergen triggers bronchoconstriction and excess mucus production, these two processes result in a decrease in the diameter of the bronchi and bronchioles, the patient then experiences difficulty in breathing

He can cough and has wheezing. An asthma attack is an emergency that requires prompt management. More rarely, allergy to cats can manifest as hives (rash in the form of reddish patches).

Exceptionally, this type of allergy can lead to anaphylactic shock, a very strong generalized allergic reaction that can endanger the life of the person.

Allergy to Cat Hair Diagnosis 

Suspected allergy to cats is raised in view of symptoms concomitant with the presence of a cat. The diagnosis of certainty is made by the allergist through skin tests.

This skin test consists of depositing, generally on the skin of the arm, a drop of an extract containing the allergen ”  Fel d 1 “. The doctor then performs a small painless injection to penetrate the product into the epidermis. After 15 minutes, if redness appears on the skin, the test is positive. The larger the erythema, the stronger the allergy. The search for “ anti-Fel d 1  ” antibodies  is feasible, but not for all cases.

The treatment of symptoms is based on antihistamines or anti-inflammatory drugs based on corticosteroids locally (nasal spray, eye drops, ointments) or general (tablets or capsules). These drugs are intended to reduce the symptoms of the inflammatory reaction.

An asthma attack requires specific treatment, generally based on inhaled bronchodilators and corticosteroids depending on the severity of the attack.

The desensitization allows the body to become tolerant of cats allergens. It is based on injections or the administration of drops sublingually for several years. Its effectiveness is questionable with regard to allergy to cat hair. However, with regard to allergy to cats, the effectiveness and results of desensitization are not as convincing as for pollen or allergies to dust mites.

Preventing Allergy to Cat Hair

Avoiding contact with cats is the best way to prevent allergy. However, many people own a cat and find themselves allergic, without wanting to separate from their companion. If you cannot separate from your cat, here are some tips that can help:

Tips That Can Help You Avoid Cat Hair Allergy

  • Ventilate the rooms of the house every day.
  • Hunt cat hair regularly with a vacuum cleaner.
  • Avoid carpets and rugs and replace them with lighter ones that retain less hair.
  • Brush your cat regularly to remove the maximum amount of dead hair, wash it from time to time.
  • Prohibit your cat from accessing certain rooms, in particular your bedroom.
  • Wash your hands after petting.
  • Change the litter several times a week (it is an important source of allergens such as dust mites).
  • Clean clothes with adhesive rollers that hold cat hair.
  • Make castrate her cat (neutered animals are less allergenic), castration of a cat significantly decreases the production of allergenic proteins.
  • Some breeds secrete less protein ”  Fel d 1” and lose little hair, so you will have fewer allergic symptoms or no symptoms at all.


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