If you have pet allergies, chances are it is Fluffy rather than Fido that’s making you sneeze. While an estimated 10 percent of people are allergic to household pets, cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
Among children, about one in seven between ages 6 and 19 prove to be allergic to cats.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not cat fur that causes those itchy, watery eyes. Most people with cat allergies react to a protein found on cat skin called Fel d 1…
Limiting a cat’s access to the bedrooms of allergic people, using high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, bathing the cat and removing allergen-trapping carpeting may also help.
For those who can’t avoid cat dander, allergy shots may be an option. Small injections of the allergen can help build immune system tolerance over time. “It takes about six months of weekly injections of increasing potency to reach a maintenance level, followed by three to five years of monthly injections, for the therapy to reach full effectiveness,” said Dr. Jackie Eghrari-Sabet, an allergist and founder of Family ENT, Allergy and Asthma Center in Gaithersburg, Md.
A less burdensome fix for cat allergies may be on the horizon. Phase 3 clinical trials are set to begin this fall for a cat allergy vaccine that Larché helped develop. Early tests have shown the vaccine to be safe and effective without some of the side effects of allergy shots, such as skin reactions and difficulty breathing. Larché receives research funding from pharmaceutical companies Adiga Life Sciences and Circassia.
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