When you’re allergic to something, it’s only sane and rational to avoid that thing that causes your allergies. But if you’re a cat-lover like me, you couldn’t be any farther from being sane and rational. It’s good thing then that the symptoms of cat allergies are pretty much manageable, though they may never go away completely.
First, remember the basics about cat allergens. They are typically airborne, so that means you have to breathe them in first before they can trigger any of your cat allergies symptoms. Cat allergens are very small, microscopic even, and smaller in size compared to pollens or mold spores, the two other common airborne allergens. That means they stay suspended in the air longer and they can get through your nasal passages easier.
Like most allergies, cat allergy can affect your eyes, nose, ears, throat, lungs, and skin. The symptoms, especially respiratory reactions, usually occur between fifteen and forty minutes after one is exposed. However, note that pet-related allergies like cat allergy can take days from initial exposure for its onset.
The most common symptoms associated with cat allergy are:
- Red, itchy, or swollen eyes
- Reddened areas on the skin
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion
- Ears that become stuffed up or itchy
- Post nasal drip
- Itching and hoarseness in the throat
- Frequent bronchitis
It is important to remember that you can suffer from pet allergies even if you aren’t a pet owner. If you know of someone who is a pet owner, like a close friend or family member, be sure to talk to them about your pet allergy.
Steps to Reduce Cat Allergen
If you keep a cat around, the rate of recontamination goes higher. As your cat runs around the house, it sheds dander (dried skin cells) and proteins from its saliva and urine, raising the level of cat allergens in your house even more and causing you to get cat allergies more often.
Below are some steps you can take to reduce cat allergens in your home and, in the process, decrease your cat allergies as well:
Step 1: No more cats sleeping on the bed
When you think about it, this is actually a very minimal price to pay. Think about itchy eyes, wheezing, nasal congestion, difficulty breathing, rashes, swelling, and you’ll realize that not having your cat in your bed is not that terribly important. After all, when you have cat allergies but still insist on keeping a cat, you have to know that there are a few things that you have to give up to achieve a balance between your health and your love for your cat.
Step 2: Keep them out of the bedroom altogether
This is yet another small price to pay for allergy relief. To prevent air from other rooms in your house from contaminating your bedroom air, keep the door closed at all times. An air-conditioner or an air purifier would be of much help to keep your bedroom a sanctuary from cat allergies.
Step 3: Wash all bedding in 140-degree hot water at least twice monthly
Because some of you may allow your cat to sneak up your bed every now and then, be sure to wash your beddings often. This will help reduce dust mites and cat allergens which you may unconsciously breathe in while sleeping.
Step 4: Use HEPA air filters in rooms where you usually keep your cat
A HEPA air filter is the high-efficiency particulate air filter. Sometimes, even after you’ve thoroughly cleaned your house of all dust and dirt, a few cat allergens remain. They are often very difficult to remove. Air filters will help you clean the air in your room and keep cat allergens at a low level.
Step 5: Vacuum up cat allergen with high-grade HEPA vacuum cleaner twice weekly
Cat allergens often stick to walls, carpet, flooring, chairs, and furniture. During vacuuming, be sure to thoroughly check and clean these surfaces. Also, use hypo-allergenic vacuum bags to prevent the allergens from escaping and getting in the air while you clean.
Always the best way to control allergic reactions is avoidance method. However, majority of people with cat allergy often ignore medical advice and continue to keep at least one cat at home even after diagnosis of their condition. We all love our cats and we want to protect them, but you should think about yourself once in a while.
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