Cat allergy triggers symptoms upon exposure to cat saliva, dander or urine. The ideal way to avoid an allergic reaction is to avoid cats. Luckily, a few lifestyle changes along with medications must be followed in case visiting family or friends who keep cats as pets.
Am I allergic to cats?
An individual with cat allergy usually ends up with the following symptoms:
- Runny or stuffed nose
- Watery, red eyes
- Itchiness of the nose, eyes, mouth, skin or throat
- Sneezing or coughing
- Hives or elevated areas or welts on the skin
- Shortness of breath or wheezing
When diagnosing cat allergy, the doctor will perform a physical exam and ask about the medical history and symptoms. A skin test is done which involves placing small amounts of the culprit substance under the skin to monitor for a reaction.
The doctor might also request a blood test that measures the sensitivity of the body to irritants such as dust mites, animal dander and pollen.
Medications should be taken with preventive measures to manage cat allergy.
- Decongestants work by alleviating the nasal congestion
- Corticosteroids are given to reduce and prevent nasal itchiness and congestion
- Antihistamines work by relieving the nasal congestion, itchiness, sneezing and eye irritation
- Nasal saline sprays work by clearing out allergens from the nasal passages and deal with congestion
- Montelukast works ideally before exposure to the allergen
The doctor might also suggest allergy shots if the symptoms are not properly controlled using other medications. The allergy shots are a form of immune therapy that involves daily injections of certain allergens to improve tolerance and prevent allergic reactions.
When to consult a doctor?
A doctor must be seen if the individual is worried about the symptoms of cat allergy. The doctor can manage the symptoms and prevent serious issues including side effects from medications and asthma attacks.