Coping With A Cat Allergy

Most people love to own cats and dogs, but unfortunately, many people are also allergic to such animals. If you think that you've suddenly developed a cat allergy, make sure you do your homework before blaming symptoms on your four-legged, furry friend.

The only way you can find out for sure if you're suffering from a cat allergy, whether it's longhaired or shorthaired, is to take a specific test given by your physician. While at the doctor's office, your physician will also ask you a number of questions such as your family history, your past history of allergies and how long you've been feeling certain symptoms such as watery eyes, itching, sneezing, amongst other more serious complaints.

Then, the physician will more than likely perform what's called a skin-prick test or an intracutaneous test. These two tests will determine whether you are suffering from a cat allergy. The first involves pricking the skin with a needle dipped in allergen extract, while injecting a small amount of the allergen extract just beneth the skin surface completes the second. If skin shows signs of redding or swelling, it's likely that you're allergic to cats, or whatever other allergen the doctor is testing you for.

After you've been diagnosed with a cat allergy, it's important to figure out what it's about the cat that makes you allergic. Is it the fur, urine, or their saliva? Most people who are allergic to cats are allergic to their saliva, but keeping licking tongues away from your face or hands will not do the trick. Because a cat grooms its fur every day with its tongue, deposits of its saliva coat their fur, which when dry, leaves the dry, invisible allergens behind.

Not only do these allergens stick to the cat's fur, they also become airborne as the cat moves through the house, floating through the air to land on carpeting, furniture, clothes and every other exposed surface. About the only way to prevent suffering from a cat allergy at this point is to find your cat another home, but for some this is a drastic, and unacceptable decision. If you own a beloved cat that you suddenly develop an allergy to, stock up on allergy relief medicines, if possible, and try to keep the cat isolated to one or two rooms of the house, but most especially out of your bedroom and off of your bed. Giving your cat a weekly bath may also relieve symptoms, though your cat may not like that very much.

Even when a cat is given away however, the allergen may remain in the household for months. When suffering from a cat allergy, and you've decided to give away your pet, make sure that someone shampoos carpets and furniture that can hold onto the cat allergens. A cat allergy does not mean you have to get rid of your cat, though it may be the best solution, especially among older people, and while not easy, a cat allergy is not easy to live with either.

Source by Riley Hendersen

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