Allergies are nothing but your body’s reaction to stimuli. Whenever your body feels that a particular element is a danger to you, it launches an attack to battle that element.
Your immune system is the one that triggers these attacks. The immune system works by recognizing any foreign bodies and neutralizing them.
For recognizing these foreign bodies, your immune system follows a pretty sophisticated process. During this process, once your body perceives any material as a foreign body, it starts launching attacks to neutralize those effects.
However, when your body recognizes a perfectly regular occurrence or an object as a foreign one, it starts causing an allergic reaction. While allergies are the safer versions of your immune system going rogue to particular stimuli, autoimmune diseases are the extreme version.
In a way, we have little control over what our body deems to be allergic and what it does not. While most things in our daily lives aren’t allergic to us, we tend to become allergic to few trivial and unexpected things as well.
In allergies, ranging from food to animals, pet allergies are a common one. Most people develop allergies towards domesticated animals like cats and dogs. While dog allergies are a completely different aspect, let us now try and understand cat allergies.
Why do we become Allergic to cats?
As explained above, allergies are produced when your body overreacts to stimuli. Most of the times, the cat’s sweat, saliva, urine or the anal glands cause allergies.
While people tend to think that a cat’s hair might cause an allergy, it isn’t true. The hair by itself doesn’t cause allergic reactions but the proteins and other pigments that are attached to a cat’s hair triggers allergies.
Cats have the habit of licking their skin to clean themselves. Doing so causes their saliva to attach to their skin. When one comes in contact with a cat, this saliva can trigger an allergic reaction.
Researchers could not determine the reasons why a few people are allergic to cats. Nevertheless, few general trends have been observed, and they are used to recognize the allergic symptoms in people.
Also, people who have allergies to other animals like dogs tend to have more chances of developing allergies to cats as well.
Hives from Cats
Hives are the condition wherein you have swollen and pale red bumps on the skin that appear on your body all of a sudden.
This is caused because of certain allergic reactions. Cats can cause hives as well. Hives is a non-contagious disease which affects around 20% of the people at some or the other time in their lives.
Hives are caused when histamine and blood plasma start leaking out of small blood vessels in your skin. The common symptoms include a rash on the skin with red round or oval shaped wheals.
In general, hives are caused when the cat dander comes in contact with a person’s skin. This dander causes an allergic reaction in the body, and the result is hives. The hives caused by cats can last anywhere from a few minutes to weeks.
The main issue with dander is the fact that it sticks to walls, carpets, clothes and other parts of your house as well.
Therefore, you don’t need to be in physical contact with a cat to contract hives. Staying in the vicinity of cats is enough to get you affected.
There are many cases wherein people developed hives when they came in contact with cats. There are similar cases where people developed hives without physical contact as well.
Therefore, it is highly likely that someone who is allergic to cats might develop hives. While many people think that the cat fur causes hives, it isn’t the case. The dander of a cat, comprising of the saliva and in few cases, proteins from the urine etc., is the reason behind hives.
How to stay safe from hives?
Hives is not a pleasant experience. Here are few ways you can make sure that you won’t contract hives from cats.
First off, you must be aware of your body. Do you have a history of allergic reactions to other animals? If you do, there are high chances that you might be allergic to cats too.
There are skin and blood tests that can help you find out if or whether you have a cat allergy. A skin allergist will subject your skin to allergens and checks for allergic reactions.
Apart from this, you can also get your blood tested to identify allergy-causing antibodies.
If you have ever experienced an allergic reaction to cats, it is advisable to avoid cats entirely. Or else, you can never be free from these reactions.
Even if you don’t come in physical contact with cats, living in their vicinity can also trigger these reactions.
Therefore, the only proven method to prevent these hives is to completely get rid of cats from your house and surroundings as well.
While the above-mentioned advice works for some, pet owners cannot get rid of their cats all of a sudden.
In such cases, few precautions like cleaning the house thoroughly, having zero to little physical contact and restricting your cat from entering your rooms are a solution.
If you have contracted hives from cats already, you must contact your doctor immediately. The most common treatments include the use of antihistamine drugs to suppress the symptoms of hives.
With a wide range of tests available right now, diagnosing if or whether you’re allergic to cats is easy. Therefore, before you consider getting a pet cat, get yourself tested.
If you’ve realized later on that you are allergic to cats, it’s always advisable to either give away the cats for adoption and take care of yourself.
On the other hand, if you are not in a position to avoid domesticated cats, you must follow the practices mentioned above and consider installing a HEPA air filter.
There always exists a chance that you might be allergic to cats and can contract hives if you are allergic to other animals. Therefore, be aware and get yourself tested. Always go to a doctor and avoid consuming over the counter drugs.