Cat Allergy Medicine
How to Treat Cat Allergies
Avoiding the allergen is best, but when that’s not possible, the following medications may help:
- antihistamines (such as Benadryl or Claritin)
- corticosteroids (such as Flonase or Nasonex)
- over-the-counter decongestant sprays
- cromolyn sodium (prevents the release of immune system chemicals and may reduce symptoms)
- leukotriene modifiers (such as Singulair)
- allergy shots are known as immunotherapy (a series of shots that “desensitize” you to an allergen)
Nasal lavage is a home remedy for symptoms of cat allergies. Salt water (saline) is used to rinse your nasal passages, reducing congestion, postnasal drip, and sneezing. Several over-the-counter brands are available. You can make salt water at home by combining 1/8 teaspoon of table salt with 8 ounces of distilled water.
Best Air Purifiers for Cat Allergies
High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are one of the best attacks against cat allergies. They reduce airborne pet allergens by forcing air through a special filter that traps pet dander (as well as pollen, dust mites, and other allergens).
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Cat Allergies in Infants
There is an ongoing debate among scientists whether infants who are exposed to animals at a very young age are destined to develop allergies, or if the opposite is true. Recent studies have come to conflicting conclusions. A 2015 study found that exposing infants to cats at home is associated with a higher risk of developing allergies during the first four years of a child’s life. On the other hand, a 2011 study found that babies who live with cats, especially during the first year of life, develop antibodies to the pet and are less likely to acquire an allergy later. Your doctor will be able to answer questions you may have about your baby and your cat. For children who are allergic, removing fabric toys and stuffed animals and replacing them with plastic or washable ones may help relieve symptoms.
Reducing Cat Allergies
Avoidance is best to prevent the allergies in the first place. But if rehoming your cat isn’t an option, consider these strategies for reducing your symptoms. If your cat is a tomcat, have him fixed. Neutered males produce fewer allergens.
Other ways you can live with cat allergies:
- Ban the cat from your bedroom.
- Wash your hands after touching the cat.
- Remove wall-to-wall carpeting and upholstered furniture. Wood or tile flooring and clean walls help reduce allergens.
- Select throw rugs that can be washed in hot water and wash them frequently.
- Cover heating and air-conditioning vents with a dense filtering material such as cheesecloth.
- Install an air cleaner.
- Vacuum frequently with a HEPA filter vacuum.
- Use a face mask while dusting or cleaning.
- Bathe your cat regularly (every six weeks or so).
- Recruit a non-allergic person to remove dander and clean the litter box regularly.
If you have a severe cat allergy, you should consider finding a new home for your pet. Once a cat is removed from the environment, it can take several weeks or months for allergens to dissipate. It might not seem like it at first, but everyone involved — including the cat — may be happier in the end.
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