For some people, pets are a natural extension of themselves. They are parts of the family and held in high regard. They are companions, protectors, sleep partners and in many cases, a child. What happens though, when you find that you are allergic to your pet? 10 percent of the population in the United States has some sort of pet allergy, with cat allergies being the most common.
For someone looking for a low-maintenance pet, or a cat lover specifically, this could be a bit of a problem. Many people don’t even realize they have a cat allergy. The symptoms are similar to many other allergies and they stay with you even after being away from cats for an extended period of time.
The allergic reaction to a cat is not caused by its hair, as one might expect. It is actually caused by its dander, or the dead skin cells that are contained in the hair when it sheds. Dander is produced by a protein that a cat secretes. These allergens can be airborne, and can hide in your carpet, clothes or furniture for months. It can take up to a month of being dander-free before you stop having the symptoms. This is why in many cases, something else is blamed for the reaction.
A person suffering from cat allergies can experience coughing, sneezing, a runny nose, itchy eyes, wheezing and more dangerous respiratory issues depending on the level of the allergy. There are over-the-counter and prescription allergy medications that help battle the symptoms of cat allergies, but there are also preventative measures, herbal remedies and nutritional supplements as well.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but we all know pet owners that don’t listen to reason. At the very least, keep the cat out of your bed. Shower and put on clean clothes before retiring to bed to limit the amount of dander that gets in your bed. Keeping the cat out of the bedroom completely is an even better option. It will provide one location in your house that should be dander-free.
HEPA filters are worth the investment for everybody, but especially for somebody allergic to cats. These filters will cut down the amount of cat dander in the air and should reduce the severity of your cat allergy. Regular cleaning and/or replacement is required to keep them working properly. Vacuuming your carpet daily can also help reduce the dander in the house. Vacuums with HEPA filters are now available that can also be used to keep the furniture dander free.
Here are a few herbal remedies that can help fight that nasty cat allergy. These can all be found at your local health food or organic store. Eucalyptus is one of those natural wonder-drugs. In this case, it is an excellent natural allergy tonic. It soothes coughs and alleviates nasal congestion. It can also be used as an antiseptic on cat scratches.
The following herbs work well in treating coughs, runny noses, itchy eyes and preventing congestion: alfalfa, licorice root, red clover, apple cider vinegar, cayenne, lobelia, fenugreek, eyebright, horehound, and dried mullein leaf. Take 500 milligrams, or one to two capsules every four hours when symptoms are prevalent. Aloe vera, witch hazel, fish oil, flax seed and evening primrose oil have all been used for relief itching from allergies. When you go to your local health food store, you may find combinations of some of these or each packaged individually.
Many nutritional supplements can help boost your body’s natural immunity to cat dander. These can also be purchased at health food or organic stores. To start, a basic multi-vitamin with minerals might be enough to reduce allergy symptoms. Pick one that is sufficient in Vitamin A, selenium and zinc which all boost the immune system naturally. Take one multi-vitamin a day
Vitamin B5 helps produce adrenal hormones, which can reduce allergic reactions to cat dander. Take 500 milligrams at least three times a day. Vitamin C can be used as an antihistamine and also to help relieve itching. High doses should be taken throughout the day. Try to take at least 6,000 milligrams, but not all in pill form. Use fruits and juices to get as much in your system. Vitamin E produces antibodies and can be taken daily to help combat cat allergy symptoms.
Pine Bark Extract can act as an antihistamine against cat allergy symptoms. Take 300 milligrams a day. Curcumin is similar to prescription strength cortisone without the risks of high blood pressure and heart disease. It can be taken up to three times a day in 500 milligram dosages. Bromelain can help reduce any inflammation throughout the body caused by the allergy. Take up to 1,500 milligrams a day. L-Histadine is an amnio acid that blocks the production of histamine in your body. It can be taken up to three times a day in 500 to 1,000 milligram dosages.
There are many other ideas out there that could work and we’d love to hear about it. If you have something that works for you, please share it with us so we can spread it to those that need it.
Disclaimer: These are suggestions for allergies and as everyone has unique health histories and concerns, it is essential that you use this as a guideline and not as advice directly for you for this condition. Please consult with your health care provider prior to undertaking any of these therapies.
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