Cats are one of the most loved pets in the world, no question about it. More than 50% of all households in North America own dogs and cats. Although cats are loved animals, cat allergies are one of the common forms of allergies. Statistics in the past have shown that over 10 million people in the U.S. alone have allergic reactions to cats - especially their fur.
The biggest cause of cat allergies is dander. The dander, is dust that is produced by the body of the cat. Dander is basically shed skin that comes off of cats, normally in the form of small flakes. Although dander can irritate your skin, it can also get into your immune system as well, resulting in a variety of symptoms and almost immediate allergic reactions.
The dander, once in the immune system, is perceived to be a threat. Even though it isn’t classified as a disease, it’s more of a reflex by your body and your immune system. Cat allergies occur quite often due to cats having allergens that are spread throughout their blood, urine, and saliva. Although a cat may not be present at the time, the excretions probably still are.
Cat dander, urine, and saliva, are found throughout the home of cat owners. Cats constantly groom themselves, which involves rubbing their saliva into their fur. When they do this, they spread their dander and allergens around. Although you may try, there is really nothing that you can do about it. Cats have a natural instinct to groom or bathe themselves, no matter how many baths you give them, you simply won’t stop them from grooming.
Normally, when someone is taking an allergic reaction to cats, he or she will wheeze, cough, sneeze, itch, have watery eyes, or a difficult time in breathing. Different people react different ways to cat allergens, meaning that some symptoms may not occur at all. Fever and chills is very rare, although it can happen. If someone who has cat allergies comes down with fever and chills, you should contact a doctor immediately. Chances are, it isn’t an allergic reaction to cats, but instead another type of disease that a doctor will need to identify.
Cat allergies are normally treated with antihistamines and decongestants. Those that experience asthma attacks or other forms of allergies, normally take antihistamines. Decongestants on the other hand, are normally used to cure coughs and swollen nasal passages. Sometimes, doctors will recommend allergy shots as well. Allergy shots can help to prevent the attack, especially if someone is really allergic to cats. They are a good form of treatment and prevention, and they can also help to decrease the risk of allergies affecting the individual.
If you suspect that you have cat allergies, you should always make it a point to visit your doctor. He will be able to further diagnose your situation, and give you the best options available for treatment. If you do indeed suffer from cat allergies, the best way to stop the attacks is to get rid of your cat, though every cat owner will tell you that's a last resort.
Although doctors can give you medicine and shots, it will only do so much. Cat allergens are no fun, especially if you develop them years after owning your cat. Cats are great animals to own - although cat allergies are something we could all live without.
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