Loving Your Cats Despite Your Allergies
Nothing can separate you from your beloved cat, not even the threat they pose to your health.Cats are naturally lovable and with some celebrity cat characters like Tom, Garfield, and Sylvester, who wouldn’t want one? Cats happen to be one of the easier pets to maintain as they do not require your full attention. Just leave them food in their bowls and they can just eat whenever they want to. This independent nature is something that largely differentiates them from their canine housemates. The problem is the growing amount of allergies related to cats and especially the dander that is associated with cat shedding. How can you and your kitty coexist when you have pet allergies? Easy continue reading to see how to maintain the bond with your cat without having to suffer from allergies.
Studies have shown that animal dander is the main culprit behind most allergic reactions to pets, in general, and to cats in particular. It is not the dead skin cell per se that is causing the allergy but the presence of a particular protein molecule found in the sebaceous glands of cats.Cats, like all living things, shed off dead skin as a natural mechanism of renewing its skin cells. Unfortunately, the skin shedding, known as dander, eventually float in the air and can be inhaled by those who in your home.
Most individuals do not react to such foreign object. Unfortunately, for some whose immune system are overly reactive, a small dander issue can become a serious health problem. In rare instances, it can result to death because of an anaphylactic reaction – a very severe form of allergic reaction – characterized by swelling and obstruction of the airways, causing the person difficulting in breathing, and if help does not come quickly, the person may die.
Why is the Immune System Reacting?
For unknown reasons, many experts are unable to pinpoint the exact cause of the immune system’s over-reaction, allergic responses can only be explained by what happens inside the body.Once cat dander is inhaled inside the body, it gets into contact with different body cells that are specifically programmed to search and destroy anything that is considered foreign – meaning, it does not have the characteristics inherent in other cells inside the body. These cells engulf the dander – gobbling them up – and breaking them apart using a host of substances that are known to break down chemical bonds.Unfortunately, during the process of breaking up the dander, other chemical substances are released. These chemical substances can include serotonin, histamine, interleukin, and bradykinin, all of which can exert a physiologic response from the body. All in all, contributing to the result of common signs and symptoms that often associate with allergy.
How Do You Know If You Have Allergies?
Allergies, regardless of its location, will always be characterized by inflammation, swelling, and redness. In most cases, discomfort will be present; the pain will be present in some minor cases. The concomitant clinical manifestations are all a direct result of these four features.
Cat-associated allergies will be manifested by:
• Wheezing and coughing because of inflammation and irritation of the airways
• Rashes on the face and chest or wherever the cat may have left its dander to initiate the allergic reaction
• Red and itchy eyes, again because of inflammation of the mucosa that lines the eyes
• Redness in the area of the skin where your cat has scratched, bit, or licked you
• Runny and stuffy nose because of swelling in the nasal passages as well as obstruction in the naso-lacrimal ducts
• Itchy nose because of irritation of the nasal cavity
• Sneezing as a reflex defense mechanism by the body to attempt to get rid of the foreign object
Can You Protect Yourself Against Allergies while still Enjoying the Company of Your Cats?
The only way to effectively manage your allergies without necessarily getting rid of your cats is to ensure that you minimize your exposure to your cat’s dander.
• Remove all carpets and rugs as well as upholstered items in your home and replace them with hard surfaced materials. Carpets and rugs are known to be excellent ‘magnets’ for pet dander and other allergens. However, if replacing your carpet is not an option, make sure to have it steam sanitized at least once a week.
• Designate areas of your house which should be cat-free. The bedroom is an obvious choice because you simply do not want to be inhaling all the airborne dander while you are sleeping. Wash all articles in your bedroom before instituting the cat-free zone. Use allergen-proof bed covers and pillowcases to make sure that no dander or any other allergen will be sticking into your bed while you are asleep.
• Clean your home with a damp mop to avoid stirring allergens into the surrounding air. If you need to use a vacuum, make sure that you are using allergen-proof units or a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. If your breathing issues persist look into a whole house air purifier for allergies.
• Open the windows and let fresh air in, allow for natural ventilation to freely move dander and other allergens outside your home.You can also use anti-allergy sprays to denaturalize them.
There is only so much you can do to make your life bearable for you and your cats, especially if you have allergies. The important thing to always remember is to safeguard your health above all else. It just will not make sense to be able to take care of the very reasons your health will be in danger.