When the cat takes your breathe away

Cat allergy is one of the most common allergies. There are eight known car allergies. The symptoms include coughing, wheezing, chest tightening, itching, nasal congestion, rash, watering eyes, sneezing, and chapped lips. In some cases, reactions can be more severe and life-threatening. They include rhinitis and severe forms of asthma.

The most common allergen produced by cats is Fed d 1, accounting for 96 percent of all allergies to cats. And it is produced in the anal glands, salivary glands, and sebaceous glands of the cat.
The allergy can often be treated by over-the-counter medications but cat owners can also select a gender or a color of the cat to reduce the reaction. Hypoallergenic cats are another solution for individuals who want pets without allergic consequences. Hypoallergenic cats include Siberian and Balinese cats. Female cats produce a lower level of allergens than males.
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But what if we have an allergic reaction? aha! Allergy Centre knows what to do.
Our four-legged friends give us a lot of joy, but they also cause allergies. Around two to four percent of Swiss people are allergic to animals, most of them to cats, dogs, horses and rodents. The symptoms: runny nose, inflamed eyes, difficult breathing or asthma. “In individual cases, allergic shock reactions can occur that require immediate medical measures,” says Sonja Hartmann from the aha! Allergy Centre Switzerland.

It is not the hair that triggers allergies: The allergens are secreted with the saliva, by the sebaceous glands and skin cells. When licking, they are distributed on the fur, through stroking they end up with us. But also indirectly: the allergens attach themselves to dust particles and float in the air for hours.


What to do? Avoid contact with animal allergens. “If this is not possible, drug therapy with antihistamines and, in the case of asthma, with asthma sprays is usually necessary,” explains Sonja Hartmann. “The allergist can look into specific immunotherapy.” Those who do not react strongly try this: Keep animals outside if possible, do not allow them in sleeping areas, wash hands after contact, clean clothes with a clothes roller, use washable covers for upholstered furniture, remove carpets, vacuum regularly with a device with a HEPA filter and damp clean floors daily.

Source: aha! Allergiezentrum Schweiz

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