What are the symptoms of allergies to cats
Tiny particles released by moulds can cause an allergic reaction in some people.
You can assist prevent this by:
- keeping your home dry and well ventilated
- not drying clothes indoors, not storing clothes in damp cupboards, and avoiding packing clothes too tightly in wardrobes
- dealing with any damp and condensation in your home
- removing any indoor pot plants from your home
- avoiding damp buildings, damp woods and rotten leaves, cut grass and compost heaps
Main allergy symptoms
Common symptoms of an allergic reaction include:
- itchy, red, watering eyes (conjunctivitis)
- a raised, itchy, red rash (hives)
- swollen lips, tongue, eyes or face
- wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and a cough
- sneezing and an itchy, runny or blocked nose (allergic rhinitis)
- tummy pain, feeling ill, vomiting or diarrhoea
- dry, red and cracked skin
The symptoms vary depending on what you’re allergic to and how you come into contact with it.
For example, you may have a runny nose if exposed to pollen, develop a rash if you own a skin allergy, or feel sick if you eat something you’re allergic to.
See your GP if you or your kid might own had an allergic reaction to something. They can assist determine whether the symptoms are caused by an allergy or another condition.
Read more about diagnosing allergies.
It’s not pet fur that causes an allergic reaction. Instead, it’s flakes of their dead skin, saliva and dried urine.
If you cannot permanently remove a pet from the home, you could try:
- not allowing pets in bedrooms
- regularly grooming pets exterior
- regularly washing every bedding and soft furnishings pets lie on
- washing pets at least once a week
- keeping pets exterior as much as possible, or limiting them to a specific area of the home, preferably an area without carpet
- using an air filter in rooms where you spend most of your time
- increasing ventilation with fans or air conditioning, or by opening windows
If you’re visiting a friend or relative with a pet, enquire them not to dust or vacuum on the day you’re visiting, as this will stir up the allergens into the air.
Taking an antihistamine medicine about an hour before entering a pet-inhabited home can also assist reduce your symptoms.
The Allergy UK website has more information about domestic pet allergies.
Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
In rare cases, an allergy can lead to a severe allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock, which can be life threatening.
This affects the whole body and usually develops within minutes of exposure to something you’re allergic to.
Signs of anaphylaxis include any of the symptoms above, as well as:
Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment.
Read more about anaphylaxis for information about what to do if it occurs.
Sheet final reviewed: 22 November 2018
Next review due: 22 November 2021
The best way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid the substance that you’re allergic to, although this is not always simple or practical.
Below is some practical advice that should assist you avoid the most common allergens.
House dust mites
One of the biggest causes of allergies are dust mites, which are tiny insects found in household dust.
You can limit the number of mites in your home by:
- fitting roller blinds that can be easily wiped clean
- cleaning cushions, soft toys, curtains and upholstered furniture regularly, either by washing (at a high temperature) or vacuuming
- using tested allergy-proof covers on mattresses, duvets and pillows
- choosing leather, plastic or vinyl furniture instead of upholstered furniture
- choosing wood or hard vinyl floor coverings instead of a carpet
- using a vacuum cleaner fitted with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter, as it can trap more dust mites than ordinary vacuum cleaners
- regularly wiping surfaces with a damp, clean cloth – avoid dry dusting, as this can spread dust into the air
Concentrate your efforts of controlling dust mites in the areas of your home where you spend the most time, such as the bedroom and living room.
You can discover more information on allergies in the home on the Allergy UK website.
By law, food manufacturers must clearly label any foods that contain something that’s known to cause allergic reactions in some people.
By carefully checking the label for the list of ingredients, you should be capable to avoid an allergic reaction.
People with food allergies most often experience an allergic reaction while eating out at a restaurant.
You can avoid this by:
- not relying on the menu description alone (remember, numerous sauces or dressings could contain allergens)
- avoiding places where there’s a chance that diverse types of food could come into contact with each other, such as buffets or bakeries
- letting restaurant staff know your dietary requirements, including how severe your food allergy or intolerance is
- communicating clearly with the waiting staff and asking for their advice
- always checking what allergens are in the dish, even if you own eaten it before, as recipes and ingredients can change
Remember, simple dishes are less likely to contain «hidden» ingredients.
If you’re not certain about a dish, do not risk it.
Read more about living with a food allergy and get advice from the Food Standards Agency on food allergen labelling.