Sublingual Allergy Drops: The Best Way to Treat Your Cat Allergy

Updated
Updated

How do I know if I am allergic to cats?

If you develop allergy symptoms when you’re around cats or around people who own cats, you may have a cat allergy. However, you could also be reacting to other indoor allergens or you may have seasonal allergies. The only way to know for sure is with an allergy test.

When it comes to pet allergies, cat allergies tend to be one of the worst. Twice as many people experience allergy symptoms when they’re around felines compared to when they’re around dogs. What’s more, the protein that causes cat allergies (found in their dander, saliva, and urine) is considered sticky and can linger in a living space long after the cat is gone.

What Are the Symptoms of a Cat Allergy?

Cat allergy symptoms share many similarities with other environmental allergens. Ranging from mild to severe, cat allergies can lead to:

  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Hives or other skin rashes
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Congestion
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Skin redness
  • Shortness of breath

For cat allergy sufferers with asthma, these allergens may trigger symptoms and increase your risk of having an asthma attack.

How Do You Know If You’re Allergic to Cats?

Most patients realize they have a possible cat allergy when they experience symptoms after being exposed to a cat. To be sure, though, you may need an allergy test. While you can have a skin-prick test completed at the allergist’s office, these tests can be uncomfortable. They require multiple needle pricks and can cause itchy hives.

An alternative is Wyndly’s at-home allergy test kit. This self-administered test requires only one finger prick and assesses you for over 40 of the most common environmental allergens. Once complete, simply return the test in the provided envelope and receive a personalized treatment plan based on your allergies once testing is finished.

How Are Cat Allergies Treated?

Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you may be able to manage with a few lifestyle changes and over-the-counter antihistamines. Reduce your exposure to cat allergens by staying outdoors when visiting friends with cats, changing your clothes, and washing your hands as soon as you get home.

If you have a feline at home, keep them out of the bedroom and consider opting for a hypoallergenic cat. While not actually hypoallergenic, certain breeds shed fewer allergens and cause fewer reactions. Some of the most popular breeds include:

  • Javanese
  • Balinese
  • Cornish Rex
  • Oriental Shorthair

For many people with cat allergies, antihistamines and limiting exposure aren’t enough to eliminate symptoms, especially if you have or want to have one as a pet.

How Do You Treat Your Cat Allergies Without Having to Do Allergy Shots?

For years, if you wanted long-lasting relief from your cat allergy, the only long-term option was allergy injections. These shots had to be administered by an allergy specialist at a doctor’s office. Plus, they required a 30-minute wait to ensure patients didn’t develop a rare-but-serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.

The same immunotherapy principles that make allergy shots work can also be taken by mouth. Instead of weekly shots, patients can take sublingual immunotherapy, also known as allergy drops and allergy tablets, from the convenience of home. No injections. No weekly doctor’s visits. No long waits. Sublingual immunotherapy is effective for other allergens like dogs, dust, and pollen.

How Long Does Immunotherapy Take?

Both sublingual immunotherapy and allergy shots are considered allergy immunotherapy. This allergy treatment exposes the immune system to trace amounts of allergens. The repeated exposure desensitizes the immune system and, over time, slows and eventually stops its reaction.

For maximum effectiveness, allergy shots and sublingual immunotherapy take three to five years to create that long-term, long-lasting change. Even so, most patients notice symptom reduction within six months of starting immunotherapy.

How Long Does Immunotherapy Last?

Sublingual immunotherapy leads to long-term clinical changes. Once patients complete treatment, which is normally around three to five years, the results are long-lasting. Studies where patient follow-ups occur eight years after they completed immunotherapy show symptoms still haven't returned.

Are Allergy Drops as Safe as Allergy Shots?

Allergy drops have proven just as effective as allergy shots. Research shows that injections and drops share a similar efficacy and reduce the symptoms of environmental allergens.

For many circumstances, allergy drops do provide a better treatment option. Not only do allergy drops not require office visits and long waits, but they also have a lower risk of a life-threatening reaction. While allergy injections have a low risk, there has never been a documented case of anaphylaxis resulting from allergy drops.

What’s the Data for Cat Allergies?

A 2007 study in the Journal of Allergy showed that using daily cat dander extract sublingually improved cat allergy symptoms. Once the immune system has been desensitized to cat allergies, symptom reduction occurs.

Ready to Say Goodbye to Your Allergy to Cats?

If cat allergies impact how you function or are keeping you from enjoying your furry friend, it’s time to find a solution. At Wyndly, our allergy specialists are available 24/7 to discuss your needs and offer assistance. Our doctors will create a personalized treatment plan for you using sublingual immunotherapy to get you long-term allergy relief.

Take our two-minute assessment to see if you are a candidate for sublingual immunotherapy, and get one step closer to a life free from cat allergies!

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