Your body fights diseases with the help of your immune system. The immune system produces antibodies that fight the foreign substances present in your system and eliminates them.
When your immune system overreacts to stimuli even though it is completely harmless, you tend to have an allergy. When you have an allergy, your body recognizes a harmless substance as a harmful one and stars producing antibodies.
Among many allergies, pet allergies are a common occurrence. People often tend to develop allergies towards dogs and cats.
Allergic symptoms range from mild to life-threatening cases as well. Sometimes, people who have not shown any symptoms of cat allergies might suddenly develop allergies all of a sudden. To understand why people become allergic to cats, read on and find out more.
Cat allergies and their symptoms
A study says that one-third of Americans contract allergies from cats and dogs. People also tend to be more allergic to cats than dogs.
With a wide range of other common allergens being present around you, it is difficult to figure out the reason behind your allergy. To understand cat allergies, you must understand why they are caused and what their effects are.
Researchers have not been very successful in finding out why people develop these allergic reactions. However, they have been able to rule out the common causes behind them.
Cat allergies are commonly caused by the cat’s dander, fur, and saliva. More than 90% of the cases, the allergic reaction is caused by contact with a cat’s saliva or the skin.
For contracting an allergy, you don’t need to necessarily be in the vicinity of a cat or own a pet cat. The allergens present on a cat tend to stick to the walls, furniture, clothes, etc., and stick to them.
Therefore, even when you are using those items which have allergens from cats, you will be subjected to an allergic reaction.
Common symptoms of cat allergies include swelling and itching around eyes, nose, inflammation of eyes, stuffy nose, wheezing, hives, etc. Click on this link to know more about symptoms of a cat allergy.
Can you all of a sudden become allergic to cats?
While people tend to develop allergies in their childhood or their adolescent ages, few people can also develop cat allergies in their adulthood as well.
One of the leading cause of a cat allergy is your genetic history. If your family members have cat allergies, you might experience those allergies as well.
At the same time, these allergies might have affected you well before you came into touch with a cat physically.
However, you might not have identified the reason behind such a reaction and may have ignored it. Later on, physical contact with the animal and allergic reactions might have convinced you about your allergic reactions.
Therefore, in such cases, though you are allergic since your childhood, you would not have recognized that aspect till your adult. In such cases, it might seem like you have contracted the allergy all of a sudden. Nonetheless, it is not so.
Also, there is another case where you might not have ever been in physical contact with a cat from your childhood. Therefore, upon sudden contact in your adulthood, the allergic reaction kicks in and makes you feel like you have developed the allergic reactions suddenly.
At the same time, when there is a repeated contact with allergens, you might ultimately develop the allergy. Without having any genetic history, if you are continuously subjected to allergens, at some point, you shall ultimately develop an allergy towards cats.
As a matter of fact, the above condition is the most likely explanation of the sudden onset of cat allergy. As you are much older and have had extended contact with allergens, you must have developed the allergy in the adulthood.
Finally, there are other reasons too. While you might not be allergic to the cat itself, you might have been allergic to the substances that stick to the cat’s fur and saliva.
Cats and pets, in general, tend to lick a lot of things and enter into all the corners of the house. So they tend to expose themselves to a wide range of substances. Therefore, when you are in touch with a cat, you come in contact with those substances as well, and that triggers an allergic reaction.
How to deal with a sudden onset of cat allergy?
First off, if you’re suspicious that you might be having a cat allergy, you must immediately take the skin prick test. This test is used to determine if you have a cat allergy. The results of this test are evident within the first fifteen to twenty minutes itself.
Once you take the test, you understand if or whether you have an allergy or not. As mentioned above, the allergy might not be triggered by a cat alone. If the test shows that you have an allergy to cats, then you must consider the below-mentioned advice.
Try avoiding cats at any cost. Once you contract an allergy, there is no way you can get rid of it. Therefore, the best method is to make sure that the allergen is not in your surroundings. Be careful in the vicinity of cats and try not touching them and try avoiding the households with domesticated cats.
However, if you are someone who has a pet cat and are unwilling to give them up, then HEPA cleaners are air filters that can be of great use.
They will reduce the number of allergens greatly. At the same time, make sure that your cat doesn’t enter your bedroom and stays away from you. Minimise as much physical contact as you can.
You can develop an allergy at any point of time in your life, whether it is your childhood or your adulthood. In general, you tend to develop allergies more in your childhood.
But for various reasons mentioned above, you might develop these allergies later in your life as well. Follow the advice and stay safe.
Visit your doctor immediately if you think you have any allergic symptoms or reactions. Allergies are fairly common and aren’t life-threatening if proper care is taken.