Allergies to cats are widespread and are often cited as some of the most common allergies, with six million Americans suffering from them at some level. Allergies to cats are caused by a protein present in the cats' saliva and dander. This protein is airborne and is inhaled by those sharing a home with a cat. While most people simply "filter" this protein through their lungs, people who suffer from allergies to cats have an adverse reaction to it.
Although completely removing the allergen from the home may be difficult, there are many things that can be done to alleviate allergies to cats. To reduce the amount of allergen present in your home, start by reducing the amount of carpet and upholstered furnishings in the home. When possible, replace with wood floors and allergenic upholstery, especially in the bedroom. Another way to fight allergies to cats is to keep animals out of the bedroom. While this may not sound like something you want to do, it will greatly help in reducing the intensity of your reaction.
To minimize allergies to cats, vacuum frequently and thoroughly, preferably with a vacuum that has an incorporated HEPA filter. Indoor air filters or air purification systems can also help clean up the air and reduce the level of allergen present in the home.
While the idea of bathing your cat may not sound all that appealing, researchers have found it an effective solution. If your cat does not cooperate, consider searching for products such as special cleaning wipes sold in pet stores and veterinary clinics. They are created to keep animals clean but can also help you fight your allergies to cats.
If all else fails, consider allergy medications. Nasal steroid sprays are the least invasive of all methods, but they may not work for everybody. Those with severe allergies to cats should consider allergy shots, which are given twice a week for six months. The tiny injections work in over 85 percent of patients and they're usually the most effective solution for people with severe allergies to cats and other animals.
Finally, keep in mind that having allergies to cats should not be a reason to give up a beloved companion. With more and more immuno-therapy options hitting the market every day, sharing a home with a cat is becoming a viable option for everybody.