If you’re allergic to cats, you’re not alone. Cat allergies are incredibly common, affecting 10-30% of the population. But will your cat allergy go away? While there’s no surefire way to completely eliminate your allergies, there are ways to reduce your exposure to cat allergens and lessen the severity of your symptoms.
Although doctors are unsure of the exact cause, allergies do occasionally go away. And allergies vary greatly even when they don’t go away. Individual differences in allergic reaction severity make it possible for allergic reactions to vary significantly in intensity from person to person, allergen to allergen, and even within the same person. For instance, one cat might make you sneeze uncontrollably, while another cat might elicit no response at all.
Causes of Cat Allergies
Generally speaking, doctors do understand what causes allergies: An unharmful substance triggers an excessive immunological response. Your body’s defenses battle external intruders like viruses when they’re working properly. In cases of allergies, the immune system unintentionally targets substances like pollen, pet dander, or particular foods and sends molecules known as immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies to organize a “defense.”
Will My Cat Allergy Go Away?
Unfortunately, for most people, cat allergies do not go away by themselves. Some people may find that their symptoms improve over time, but this is not a guarantee. If you have been diagnosed with a cat allergy, you should take steps to reduce your exposure to cats and the allergens they produce. This includes avoiding cats altogether, or if that’s not possible, limiting your exposure as much as possible. It’s also important to practice good hygiene and keep your home clean.
Vacuuming regularly and frequently washing bedding, curtains, and furniture can help reduce the amount of allergens in your home. You may also want to consider investing in a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter to help reduce the amount of allergens in your home.
Some specialists speculate that in cases where allergies suddenly go away, the person may have simply become acclimated to the allergen, which would reduce their immune system sensitivity. In the case of food allergies, especially nut allergies, “getting used to” seems to be crucial. Recently, some doctors have emphasized the importance of fostering tolerance to the food through gradual increases in low-level exposure.
Historically, doctors believed that nut allergies, especially the severe form linked to peanuts, lasted a lifetime. However, research over the past ten years has indicated that roughly 20% of kids with peanut allergies can outgrow their sensitivity. Doctors can assess a child’s chances of outgrowing food allergies by examining allergy blood tests, which display IgE levels.
However, even when food reactions appear to have subsided, the problem is not always solved because food allergy symptoms sometimes mysteriously reappeared. Pollen, pet dander, and other allergies are recurring possibilities as well.
How Cat Allergies Develop
If you do experience allergies to cats, you are not alone. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, people are really twice as likely to be allergic to cats as to dogs. But how can humans initially become allergic to cats? Your immune system searches for and eliminates foreign objects every day (or ejects them through a sneeze). Immune systems vary in sensitivity among individuals. Essentially harmless microscopic proteins released by your cat in her saliva, dander (dead skin cells), and urine trigger allergic reactions in people with cat allergies.
Pet hair alone is not an allergen, despite what many people believe. However, when your cat sheds, hair can gather pet dander and cause it to be dispersed randomly throughout your home. It can accumulate on carpets, furniture, and bedding, and even hang suspended in the air for a very long time.
Some people are fortunate enough to eventually lose their sensitivity to cat allergies. While this is undoubtedly a possibility, prolonged contact with allergens may potentially aggravate allergic reactions. Additionally, a cat allergy can develop in someone who has never had one before. Ask your doctor to perform an allergy test if you start to sneeze, wheeze, or sniffle more frequently when you are near your cat.
9 Ways to Reduce Cat Allergies
1. Regularly Cleaning Your Home
Vacuuming, dusting and using a damp cloth to wipe down surfaces are all important steps to keep your home free from pet dander. Doing this at least once a week will help reduce the amount of cat allergens in your home. You should also launder your bedding, curtains, and other fabric items in hot water to help reduce cat allergens. Additionally, you should regularly clean your cat’s bedding and toys, as well as vacuum and shampoo carpets and furniture.
2. Use Air Purifiers and Filters
Air purifiers and filters can help reduce the amount of pet dander in the air. Look for air purifiers that are specifically designed for pet allergens, such as HEPA filters. It’s best to use them in rooms where you spend the most time, such as bedrooms and living rooms. Additionally, you can install high-efficiency filters in your home’s heating and cooling systems to help reduce pet dander in the air.
3. Keep Your Cat Out of Your Bedroom
It’s best to keep your cat out of your bedroom and other rooms where you spend a lot of time. This will help reduce your exposure to pet dander and other allergens. If you must allow your cat in your bedroom, make sure to frequently clean the area and wash your bedding in hot water. You should also consider using air purifiers in your bedroom.
4. Get Regular Allergy Shots
Allergy shots, or immunotherapy, can help reduce your sensitivity to cat allergens. The shots are administered over the course of several months and can help reduce your symptoms and reduce your risk of a severe allergic reaction. Talk to your doctor to see if this is an option for you.
5. Use Allergy Medications
Over-the-counter and prescription medications can help reduce your allergy symptoms. Antihistamines can help reduce sneezing and itching, while corticosteroids can reduce inflammation. Talk to your doctor to determine what type of medication is right for you.
6. Avoid Furry Toys and Upholstered Furniture
Furry toys and upholstered furniture can trap pet dander and other allergens. To reduce your allergy symptoms, avoid these items and opt for washable fabrics and materials.
7. Keep Your Cat Groomed
Regular grooming can help reduce the amount of pet dander in your home. Brushing your cat regularly can help reduce shedding and remove allergens from their fur. Additionally, you should bathe your cat at least once a month to help reduce pet dander.
8. Use Allergen-Reducing Sprays
Allergen-reducing sprays are specially formulated to reduce pet dander and other allergens in your home. These sprays can be used on furniture, carpets, and other surfaces to reduce allergens.
9. Consider Hypoallergenic Cats
Hypoallergenic cats are especially bred to produce less of the proteins that trigger allergies. If you’re considering getting a cat, research hypoallergenic breeds to see if they’re right for you. Sphynx cats, Siberian cats and Devon Rex are examples of breeds that are more hypoallergenic.
Living with Cat Allergies: Cleaning
One of the keys to reducing allergies once you have a cat is being diligent around the house.
- Regularly clean your home’s smooth surfaces, such as the walls and floors. Even if you can’t see it, microscopic dander is present and can adhere to any kind of surface.
- Regularly steam clean carpets and use a vacuum with a filter. It will also be beneficial to limit the cat’s access to carpeted areas.
- Any bedding or blankets that your cat uses to sleep should be regularly washed.
- Make certain areas cat-free, such as the allergic person’s bedroom.
- Think about getting new upholstered furniture. Chairs and sofas covered in cloth tend to collect a lot of allergens and are challenging to keep clean. Keep the cat off of the upholstery (good luck with that! , or think about buying furniture made of wood, plastic, or leather that is simple toclean. .
- Take the curtains down. Similar to upholstered furniture, cat hair can collect on curtains. Think about changing them out for blinds or other hygienic coverings. If you choose to keep your curtains, make sure to wash them frequently.
- A HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter should be purchased. These can either purify the air coming from a freestanding unit orones thatise connected to your furnace or air conditioner. Regardless of the model you choose, it is their responsibility toreducen airborneparticles. .
Choosing a Hypoallergenic Cat
Of course, your pet’s sudden inability to stop making you sneeze is her fault. Nevertheless, there are ways to lessen allergic reactions in you or members of your family, starting with the cat you decide to adopt. A shorthaired cat may be preferable to a longhaired cat for allergy-prone pet parents, despite the fact that there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic cat. Shorthaired cats don’t shed as much, so there is less cat hair in your home for dander to stick to.
For obvious reasons, hairless cats sweat considerably less than their shorthaired cousins. The sphynx is completely hairless and very lovable. Sphynx, a more expensive and rare breed, won’t completely eliminate allergies because they still produce saliva and dander. The Balinese, Cornish Rex, Devon Rex, and Siberian are additional breeds that are good for people who have cat allergies.
FAQs: Will My Cat Allergy Go Away?
When it comes to cat allergies, there is no definitive answer on how long it takes for them to go away. It all depends on the severity of the allergy and the individual’s response to treatments. In some cases, cat allergies may last for years while in others they may go away in a matter of weeks.
For those with mild allergies, a visit to the doctor may help to pinpoint what’s causing the allergic reaction and how to treat it. Allergy medications, such as antihistamines and nasal sprays, can help reduce the symptoms and make living with cats easier. However, some may find that the medications are only a temporary solution and the allergies will eventually return.
For those with more severe allergies, a doctor may prescribe a course of immunotherapy, which introduces small doses of cat allergens into the body over time. This helps the body build up a resistance to the allergens and can lead to long-term relief. However, this treatment can take several years to complete and may not be suitable for everyone.
Living with a cat if you’re allergic isn’t easy, but it is possible. Here are some tips on how to make it work.
1. Get Allergy Tested: Before getting a cat, it’s important to get tested for allergies. This will help you determine what type of cat might be best for you and how to reduce your symptoms.
2. Choose a Low-Allergen Cat: Different breeds of cats produce different amounts of allergens, so it’s important to choose a breed that produces fewer allergens. Some of the lowest-allergen cat breeds include the Sphynx, the Devon Rex, and the Bengal.
3. Keep an Allergen-Free Zone: Designate a room in your home as an allergen-free zone. This should be a room that the cat doesn’t have access to, and it should be kept clean and free of cat hair.
4. Use Air Filters: Air filters can help to reduce allergens in the air. Look for filters with a HEPA rating, as these are the most effective at removing allergens from the air.
5. Take Allergy Medication: Allergy medications can help to reduce your symptoms. Talk to your doctor about the best medication for you.
By following these tips, you can make living with a cat even if you’re allergic a reality.
One of the most effective ways to build up immunity to cat allergies is to start off slow. Begin by spending a few minutes with a cat that you know is hypoallergenic, such as a Siberian or Cornish Rex. These cats have shorter hair and produce less of the allergen causing protein Fel d 1. If this is successful, gradually increase the amount of time you spend with the cat and eventually add in other breeds of cats.
Another way to build up immunity to cat allergies is to use an allergy shot regimen. If you have frequent contact with cats, your doctor may recommend an allergy shot regimen, which involves receiving injections of small amounts of the allergen causing protein over a period of time. This can help your body build up a tolerance to the allergen and reduce your reaction to cats.
Finally, if you suffer from severe allergies, you may want to consider immunotherapy. This involves undergoing a series of injections with gradually increasing doses of the allergen causing protein. This helps your body build up immunity to the allergen, reducing your allergic reaction to cats.