Cat Dander & Eczema

Girl cats tend to produce less allergens than males do.

Girl cats tend to produce less allergens than males do.

Don't bother shaving your cat; it won't help your eczema rashes caused by allergies -- and he won't appreciate the experience or the resulting style. If you can't live without your cat despite eczema and other allergy symptoms, consider a few ways to minimize your exposure to his dander.

Cat Dander

No cat is truly hypoallergenic, but some hairless cats are described as hypoallergenic, meaning they produce significantly fewer allergens than cats with hair. Pet dander is loose flakes of skin, not fur. Floating cat hairs can carry dander and spread it around, but the fur itself is not responsible for your eczema and other allergy symptoms. A small protein called Fel d 1 is the source of your discomfort if you're allergic to feline dander. Your kitty's skin cells and saliva contain ample quantities of this protein, so there's no way to escape from it completely if you have a cat in the house.

Prevalence

Cats aren't the easiest creatures to live with. In fact, up to 10 percent of humans are allergic to cats, and nearly half of all people with asthma have a negative reaction to felines, according to University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Studies. Cat owners aren't alone in suffering, either. Cat dander has a way of spreading all over the place, even into catless homes. It's possible for you to suffer from cat allergies even if no furry four-legged creature lives with you or even nearby.

Eczema and Allergy Symptoms

Unfortunately, cat dander can trigger outbreak of eczema in allergic people. If a runny nose and constant sneezing sounds bad, imagine having itchy skin rashes every day. Eczema isn't a deadly condition by any means, but it's extremely uncomfortable. Eczema is classified into several categories based on the source. Rashes from cat allergies are considered atopic dermatitis. Most people with this condition develop it during their first few years of life, although it's possible for it to emerge in adulthood, according to Auckland Allergy Clinic. An allergic person's body overreacts to the "threat" of the cat dander protein.

Reducing Allergen Impact

If you've been diagnosed with a cat dander allergy, your doctor has probably warned you that living with cats isn't going to be a pleasant experience. If you choose to keep your pet and suffer the consequences, you will not be alone in doing so. It's not easy to give up a furry friend. Keep your house clean and ensure adequate air circulation. Install allergen filters to gather airborne dander particles. No matter how much you want to snuggle with your kitty when you go to sleep each night, you should keep him out of your room from now on. Wear a face mask when you brush your cat, or ask someone to handle that task for you.

 

About the Author

Quentin Coleman has written for various publications, including All Pet News and Safe to Work Australia. He spent more tan 10 years nursing kittens, treating sick animals and domesticating semi-feral cats for a local animal shelter. He graduated from the University of Delaware with a bachelor's degree in journalism.

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