Did you recently visit your cat lady friend and notice you felt a little itchy and sneezy afterward? Unfortunately, you may be allergic to the cute and cuddly pets. About 10 percent of people are thought to be allergic to our furry friends, and one in seven kids seem to have childhood allergies related to felines (via Live Science).
What causes an allergy to cats in the first place? Typically symptoms are caused by a reaction to the protein in cat dandruff, urine, and saliva. Most often allergies manifest as sneezing, itching, rash or hives, and a runny nose, but can also show as other symptoms like facial pressure, itchy roof of the mouth, frequent awakening, blue-colored skin under your eyes, and a cough. In severe cases, people can experience asthma and difficulty breathing. Unfortunately, the best way to avoid these symptoms is to avoid cats altogether. However, there are treatments and medications to help relieve the symptoms if necessary (via Mayo Clinic).
If you notice that the pet allergy seems to come and go with the seasons, you might find keeping your cat inside makes your symptoms resolve, as indoor/outdoor cats are vessels for pollen and other allergens (via WebMD).
Did you just get your first cat and shortly after start to suspect you were allergic? It can be very difficult to part with a beloved furry friend, and although it is the most effective way to get rid of pet allergy symptoms, you can work around it. Keeping your cat off of your bed, out of the bedroom, and off furniture you use often should minimize your symptoms. A rigorous cleaning routine can also help. Many central air cleaners collect airborne pet dander which can greatly alleviate your symptoms. Perhaps the trickiest option is to wash your cat regularly. Many cats hate water, but if you’re lucky, your pet might be a bath lover.
Being allergic to your best friend is no doubt a huge bummer, but if you suspect you might be having some not so great side-effects to your cat, hopefully some of these techniques can keep your relationship healthy, happy, and sneeze-free.
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