Cat allergies are one of the most common pet allergies and twice as common as dog allergies. When someone has a cat allergy, they often believe it’s cat fur that causes the allergy, but that’s not quite the case. It’s actually the animal’s dander, saliva, and urine that cause the body to react.
To complicate matters more, cat saliva is “sticky,” which means it tends to cling and linger on surfaces. For those with an allergy to cats, allergic reactions may occur even when they’re not directly exposed to cats. Allergy symptoms may develop in a room where a cat was, even weeks before, or while socializing with people who live with a cat.
Are There Remedies for Cat Allergy Symptoms?
Cat allergies range from mild to severe, and the severity often determines how well a patient can manage their symptoms. For those with mild symptoms, lifestyle changes may be enough to reduce cat allergy symptoms. These changes may include keeping cats out of the bedroom, washing hands and changing clothes after handling, and installing HEPA filters to ensure cat dander doesn’t spread around the home.
For those with more severe cat allergy symptoms, lifestyle changes may not provide enough relief. Over-the-counter antihistamines and nasal sprays may offer temporary relief. If they don’t, a doctor can prescribe stronger allergy medications. While these prescription medicines may reduce symptoms, they don’t treat the root cause of a cat allergy and only offer short-term relief.
Does Immunotherapy Work for Allergies to Cats?
Immunotherapy is a long-term allergy treatment. It works by exposing the immune system to trace amounts of the allergens that cause it to react. The amount is so small that the body doesn’t create an allergy response. Over time, the immune system builds tolerance and desensitizes itself to the allergen.
This therapy does work for cat allergies and can eliminate symptoms like itchy, watery eyes, hives, runny nose, or redness anywhere the person comes in contact with a cat.
Can Allergy Drops Stop Cat Allergies?
Allergy drops are a form of sublingual immunotherapy. Unlike allergy shots, another form of immunotherapy, allergy drops do not require office visits, long waits, or weekly injections. Instead, patients self-administer the medication under the tongue from the convenience of home.
Luckily, allergy drops do prevent cat allergy symptoms and offer long-term relief. They can also address other animal allergies like dogs, horses, and rodents and environmental allergens such as pollen, dust mites, and mold.
How Effective Is Immunotherapy for Cat Allergies?
Research shows that allergy drops significantly reduce cat allergy symptoms. They have similar efficacy as allergy shots but do not need to be given in a medical facility and can be taken from home. Although the risk of a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis is rare with allergy shots, it is still present and, therefore, requires a 30-minute wait at the doctor’s office. Because allergy drops don’t have this risk, they can safely be taken at home.
Can People with Cat Allergies Have a Cat?
Many people with cat allergies have cats as pets, although they do have to take some precautions. Some opt for hypoallergenic cats. Although these cats do still produce allergens, it is at a much lower level than most cats.
Reducing exposure to other allergens, including pollen and dust mites, can also reduce cat allergy symptoms. Keep windows and doors shut during seasonal allergy seasons and use air purifiers to keep living space as allergen-free as possible. Pay special attention to carpets, draperies, upholstered furniture, and other places dust and hair may gather.
Take Our Allergy Assessment
If you have allergies to cats and want to find long-term allergy relief, choose Wyndly. Our allergy doctors can create a personalized treatment plan to get you lifelong relief from your allergy symptoms. Take our online assessment now to get started!