What is cat dander allergy
While it is commonly thought that it is the hair from pets that causes the allergic cascade leading to asthma symptoms and short-haired animals are less allergic for asthmatics, both are myths. In fact, it is dander or the proteins in skin flakes, urine, feces, saliva and hair that trigger your asthma symptoms.
These proteins are extremely little particles that are carried through the air and can come to land on a body part that comes into contact with your nose or mouth (like your finger) or the particles can be directly inhaled into the lung. You may notice symptoms immediately or may not develop them for 8 to 12 hours.
The best treatment is to avoid exposure altogether.
This, however, is not always optimal or possible. If your best friend has an animal you are allergic to, it just may not be possible to avoid exposure. This can be especially concerning for kids who cannot participate in certain activities resulting in social stigma or unhappiness because they are diverse. You may desire to talk with your doctor about medicines you might be capable to take beforehand for planned exposures.
What Types of Pets to Get
If you already know you own allergy symptoms or desire to make certain you or your kid will not develop symptoms from a specific pet, consider spending time with someone that has the pet you wish to get before purchasing.
Alternatively, consider animals that typically do not cause or worsen allergies like:
- Aquarium fish
- Hermit crabs
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Cat allergy got you in mew-sery? This news may change your life fur-ever.
A team of scientists from the Swiss firm HypoPet AG has developed a vaccine to combat the feline-produced protein Fel d 1, to which 10% of humans are allergic, according to their press release.
After analyzing data from four separate studies involving a entire of 54 kitties, the antidote, called HypoCat, has already demonstrated its success.
“Our HypoCat vaccine is capable to produce high levels of antibodies in cats,” writes Gary Jennings, CEO of HypoPet AG, in the statement.
“These antibodies can bind and neutralize the Fel d 1 allergen produced by the animals.”
Researchers tell they are “pressing ahead with registration studies and discussions with European and US regulators” to bring the drug to market, which would certainly change lives.
The vaccine would assist those with cat allergies avoid typical reactions such as rashes, nasal congestion and irritated eyes, while also lowering their risk of exacerbating asthma or developing chronic respiratory issues.
Allergies to cats are fairly widespread in humans and they range from bothersome sniffles to warranting emergency medical care. People who know they’re allergic to cats either avoid our domesticated feline overlords, or dose up on antihistamines.
For numerous years, there has been an ongoing discussion on breeding or even genetically modifying cats into a hypoallergenic version of themselves. A team of researchers has now solved the problem in a diverse way. They’ve created a vaccine for cat allergens.
The vaccine is not for humans but for the cats.
It targets proteins Fel d 1, which is the major of the five allergenic substances cats produce. The substance is produced in the cat’s saliva and sebaceous glands, though we are not certain what’s its function is. Around 10 percent of the Western population is allergic to this specific protein.
As reported in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, researchers working for and with the company HypoPet own successfully tested that vaccine in 54 diverse cats over the course of four diverse studies.
The team reports that the vaccine was effective in reducing Fel d 1 in the treated cats. More importantly, it was well tolerated by the cats and had no overt toxic effects on them.
“Both human subjects and animals could profit from this treatment because allergic cat owners would reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases, such as asthma, and become more tolerant of their cats, which therefore could stay in the households and not need to be relinquished to animal shelters,” the researcher record in the paper.
The team combined a cucumber mosaic virus and the Fel d 1 molecule, which produces an immune response from the cats.
After the vaccine, the cats’ immune systems automatically destroyed the molecules, and the tested cats were less allergenic to humans compared to regular cats.
“We are extremely pleased to publish this data which shows our HypoCat™ vaccine is capable to produce high levels of antibodies in cats, and that these antibodies can bind and neutralize the Fel d 1 allergen produced by the animals,” Dr Gary Jennings, CEO of HypoPet AG, said in a statement.
Allergies to cats from cat owners, their families, partners, and friends is a leading cause of pet cat abandonment. In the US alone, 3.4 million cats are abandoned annually to animal shelters, with an estimated two-fifths of them euthanized.
Cats are also abandoned in the wild and in cities, which leads to a bigger impact on the ecosystem. Cats may be domesticated but they are still furry predators, incredible killing machines, and they can cause havoc to native fauna.
A way of reducing cat abandonment means everyone’s a winner.
Symptoms of a Pet Allergy
You are likely to experience these symptoms if animal dander gets to your lungs. However, you need to be aware of other symptoms too. For example, you might only experience allergic-type symptoms such as a runny or stuffy nose. Likewise, you might experience a scratchy throat or watery, itchy eyes.
Finally, if you get scratched you might experience redness on the impacted area or symptoms on an area you self-inoculate (if you touch the area that was scratched or licked and rub it with a hand and then touch your hand to your nose or eyes).
If you are not terribly sensitive or you are not exposed to large amounts of dander, your reaction could happen days later making it more hard to link the pet exposure to symptoms.
How to Decrease Exposure
Removing your pet from the home and avoiding contact with the pet is the most effective way to decrease exposure to animal dander.
A "trial removal" is not recommended as it may take as numerous as 20 weeks following removal for allergen levels to drop to levels similar to those of homes without pets. If you do remove the pet from the home, make certain you thoroughly clean every bedding products, floors, carpets and other surfaces where dander may collect.
If pet removal is going to produce depression, crying and gnashing of teeth for you or your kid, making the pet an "outside only" animal is a partial solution, but will not fully decrease your exposure to animal dander.
If that is also too restrictive, consider the following suggestions:
- Consider bathing the animal weekly to reduce allergen exposure, but realize this may increase dander exposure if the allergic person is doing the washing.
- Unfortunately, frequent vacuuming does not decrease dander exposure, but using a HEPA vacuum filter or double bag may decrease exposure if you must vacuum. If you are the impacted individual, wear a dust mask while vacuuming.
- Change clothes after prolonged playing or exposure to your pet.
- Remove wall to wall carpet if possible. Consider hardwood, tile or linoleum flooring as these products do not retain allergens love carpeting.
If removing carpet is not an option, steam clean frequently. Remove the animal's favorite furniture as this is a haven for dander.
- Keep pets away from fabric-covered furniture, carpets, and stuffed toys as much as possible.
- Do not own the allergic person clean the animal's cage, living space, or litter box.
- Keep the pet out of bedrooms and other places where you or your kid spends a lot of time. You spend as much as a third of your life in the bedroom and this will decrease exposure significantly.
- HEPA clean air filters may reduce your allergen exposure. You may also desire to consider a HEPA filter specifically for the bedroom.
- Talk to your doctor about allergy shots or immunotherapy.
Any Pet With Fur Carries Pet Dander Around the Home
Pets every shed a certain quantity of allergen-producing dander per week.
In this sense, there are no hypoallergenic pets but some produce less allergen than others and may be a better choice if you really desire a pet.
Any pet with fur carries pet dander around your home and on you if they hop in your lap. Interestingly, it is a myth that it's the fur of animals that leads to the problems asthmatics experience. Just the same, long-haired animals may be more likely to collect and carry dander compared to animals with shorter hair.
According to the American Lung Association, while dogs are more common in homes compared to cats (32% versus 27%), cat allergies are reported twice as often than dog allergies.