Cat allergy is likely to run in the family especially if one or both parents are allergic to pets. Remember that cats are more likely to trigger allergies than dogs. If a child is likely to have cat allergy, it is vital to be familiar with the symptoms so that appropriate action can be taken.
What is a hypervigilant immune system?
It is important to note that it is not the fur of the cat responsible for triggering the symptoms of cat allergy, but the proteins in the urine, saliva, sweat and dander. Even a short-haired cat can shed dander and other allergens similar with the long-haired breeds.
The immune system wrongly interprets dander and other harmless substances as a threat. As an outcome, the immune system attempts to protect the body by releasing antibodies that results to inflammation in the eyes, lungs, skin or nasal passageways.
Is it common cold or cat allergy?
The symptoms of cat allergy usually include the following:
- Itchy eyes
- Stuffed or runny nose
When it comes to common cold, it only lasts for 3 days up to a week, but some symptoms can linger for a couple of weeks. In case the symptoms start to settle after that period, the child likely had common cold.
The symptoms of cat allergy will last if the cat is still around. Since cat dander can readily travel around the house, the infant can still develop symptoms even if the cat is confined to another room.
The dander can circulate throughout the ventilation and heating systems in the house and stay airborne for an extended time. In addition, it also accumulates in carpeting, curtains, toys, furniture, stuffed animals and even clothing.
Physical exposure to cats
Once the allergens come in direct contact with the skin of the child, he/she might develop the following:
- Redness of the skin
Eczema is a skin condition characterized by elevated patches of inflamed skin often accompanied by intense itchiness. Remember that infants who live with a pet cat are likely to end up with eczema than other infants. In severe cases, blisters that are filled with fluid develop that form crusts.