According to WHO statistics, today every fourth inhabitant of the planet suffers an allergy, and every tenth causes an allergic reaction to the most beloved of pets - cats. A historical fact is known that the fearless commander Napoleon Bonaparte immediately took to flight when he saw this animal: communication with a cat caused him severe suffocation and lacrimation.
The common belief that cat hair is the cause of an allergic attack is false - various factors can provoke the development of such a hypertrophied reaction of the human body to cats.
Causes of Cat Allergies
When foreign elements enter our body - viruses, germs, fungi, chemical molecules, certain food products - they are recognized by the immune system as enemies. For protection, special antibodies (immunoglobulins) begin to be produced in the body, their presence in large quantities causes a painful condition called allergy.
The causative agent of allergies is not in itself the hair of cats. It serves as the main carrier of microscopic particles of proteins (proteins) Fel D1. These proteins are found in the skin of the animal, its saliva, secretions of the sebaceous glands, urine. In addition, after a walk on the street, a cat can bring pollen of flowers or dust mites to the wool, which also often cause the development of a hyperreaction. From the hairline of a cat allergens easily fall into the air of the room, on the floor, furniture, household items, hands and clothing of the owners.
Allergies to cats can be expressed in different ways, we will understand how it manifests itself. A “bunch” of symptoms may include:
- Skin symptoms - itching, burning, peeling, hyperemia (redness), dry or blistering rashes.
- Symptoms from the gastrointestinal tract - pain in the stomach or epigastric region, nausea.
- Common symptoms are conjunctivitis, profuse tear and salivation, headache, lethargy.
- Respiratory symptoms. This is rhinitis, sneezing, constant nasal congestion, coughing, in severe cases shortness of breath, shortness of breath or swelling of the nasopharynx.
Interesting fact: According to the observations of pediatricians, children in contact with cats from infancy are less susceptible to an allergic reaction to these animals. Apparently, this is due to the adaptation of the child's body to the allergen proteins that the cat secretes.
The symptoms of cat allergies described above can easily be confused with signs of other, in particular, respiratory diseases. Therefore, if you suspect that the cause of your poor health or malaise of your child is a pet, do not do self-diagnosis or self-medication. A diagnosis can only be made based on the results of the examination.
Not always coincidence in the time of the appearance of the cat in the house and the development of allergies in adult family members or the child means that the cause of the disease was wool or the discharge of a pet. The animal can bring on itself pollen, mold spores, ticks. Some people have hypersensitivity to feline particles or cat litter. Therefore, in the presence of anamnesis data that suggest a person is allergic to cats, the doctor writes him a referral for examination, which allows him to confirm the diagnosis and identify the pathogen.
Such differential diagnosis is carried out using a skin test (allergological test). When performing an application test, a swab moistened with an allergen solution is applied to the patient’s skin for several hours (in this case, washing off a sample of the epidermis or cat’s hair). During the scarification test, the solution is applied to the skin of the forearm, then a small scratch is made on it with a disposable scarifier. The appearance at the place of application of redness means the presence of an allergic reaction to this substance.
In some cases, to confirm the diagnosis, a blood test is required for the level of immunoglobulin E. An increased content of this type of antibody is one of the main indicators of diseases of an allergic nature.
Any type of allergy can be completely cured if contact of the patient with a substance provocateur is excluded. All drug methods are considered symptomatic, and are intended to relieve the external manifestations of the disease: the elimination of itching, skin rashes, edema, bronchial spasms or rhinitis.
For allergies to cats:
- Antihistamines. They block the action of the allergen, prevent the development of an allergic reaction, and thereby facilitate the patient's condition. Of this group of drugs, the most commonly used derivatives of diphenhydramine, chloropyramine, loratadine or cetirizine - Diphenhydramine, Suprastin, Claritin, Zirtek.
- Corticosteroids. Steroid hormones inhibit the synthesis of inflammatory mediators, reduce the intensity of allergy manifestations. Popular representatives of the steroid group are Prednisolone, Kenalog, Flixotide, Celeston, Elokom.
- Bronchodilators, drugs cromoglic acid. Bronchodilators (Almont, Montelar, Singlon) and a drug based on cromoglycate sodium Cromoglin well stop allergic bronchospasm and rhinitis.
How to get along allergic with a cat
As already mentioned, in order to get rid of allergies, it is necessary to exclude the possibility of contact with the allergen. In our case, the cardinal decision will be to get rid of the presence of the animal in the house. But if you really do not want to part with your beloved pet, you can take measures to reduce the risk of developing the disease.
- Carefully observe the house cleanliness, wet cleaning you will have to do at least twice a week.
- Regularly ventilate the rooms where your pet is, and even better - purchase an air purifier.
- Never allow an animal to enter the room where you sleep.
- After each visit to the animals of the toilet, change the filler in it.
- Do not allow the cat to settle in the closet where clothes or bedding is stored.
- Minimize the number of "dust collectors" - floor carpets with long nap, heavy curtains and bedspreads.
- More often comb the cat, it is recommended to wash it every week. This should be done by a healthy family member.
Not every cat can develop an allergy. Therefore, if you decide to have a cat, first “talk” with the animal in the house of the previous owner. After a few hours, you will be able to see the reaction of the body and decide whether “your” is a cat or not. This is especially true when there is a child in the family. Taking the baby with you "for the bride", you can check the reaction of the child's body and give the child pleasure, making him a member of the choice of a kitten.
There are no completely hypoallergenic cats. But some of the breeds emit less allergen proteins or are endowed with a “non-shedding” six. These include rocks:
- Cornish and Devon Rex;
- Russian blue;
Compliance with all measures to prevent allergies to cats requires patience, but always gives results. If you perform them constantly, the chances of a long cohabitation with this charming animal are very real.