ICD codes for this disease: ICD codes are internationally valid medical diagnosis codes. They are found e.g. in medical reports or on incapacity certificates. J30ArtikelübersichtKatzenallergie
- Causes and risk factors
- Examinations and diagnosis
- Disease course and prognosis
Cat allergy: description
A cat allergy is an allergic reaction to certain substances of cats. They release a specific protein with their saliva, urine and the secretions of the skin glands. About dust particles and cat hair, these proteins are distributed in the room air. Even the smallest amounts can irritate human mucous membranes and respiratory tracts and trigger allergic reactions.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not the cat's hair that causes cat allergy. The term cat hair allergy is therefore not medically correct. Nevertheless, cat allergies are commonly referred to as catechol allergy.
Of the animal hair allergies, cat allergy is the most common. People who have ever had an allergic reaction to cats usually respond with permanent allergy.
Cats do not all produce the same kind of allergen. In different cat species this protein can be slightly changed. In most cases, people with a cat allergy are allergic to all types of cats. However, it also happens that, for example, only angora cats trigger reactions.
A cat allergy is manifested by various symptoms. Cat allergy sufferers suffer from itching or sneezing. These symptoms are not dangerous, but very annoying. If left untreated for a long time, asthma may develop in the cat allergy.
The answer to the question "cat allergies - what to do?" Usually depends on the subjective assessment of those affected. In many cases, a cat allergy causes so little discomfort that the visit to the doctor is omitted. In some patients, the severity of symptoms increases over time, so that a cat allergy is often treated only many years after its emergence.To the table of contents
Cat allergy: symptoms
All important information about the symptoms of cat allergy can be found in Cat Allergy - Symptoms.To the table of contents
Cat allergy: causes and risk factors
Cats allergy triggers are actually harmless proteins that are found in saliva, urine, the secretions of the skin and sebaceous glands and in the tear fluid of cats. Recent research shows that the proteins are likely to be formed in the skin of the animals.
The reason why some suffer from a cat allergy is due to a malfunction of the immune system. In allergies, the proteins cause an exaggerated reaction of the immune system. Such substances are referred to as allergens. Not every person who has a cat allergy will respond to all types of cats with the same symptoms of allergy.
Cats produce different amounts of Fel d 1 depending on age, sex and race. For example, the allergen is called the cat allergy, after the Latin name for the domestic cat Felis domesticus. Certain cats also have other Fel d allergens. To date, Fel d allergens 1 to 7 are known.
By daily cleaning and licking the animals distribute the proteins on their coat or on the urine in the litter box. Dust particles that attach themselves to the proteins, as well as hair and dander that cats lose continuously, spread the proteins in the room air. Especially cat owners have hair or dander of their animals on the clothes and their body. So allergens get to places where there is no cat at all.
By the way, a cat allergy is not just against domestic cats. Even big cats like tigers or lions produce this allergen. People who have a cat allergy can therefore also show symptoms in the zoo or in the circus.To the table of contents
Cat allergy: examinations and diagnosis
The right person to contact if you suspect a cat allergy is a specialist in allergies (allergist). If you are not sure about the causes of your condition, you can also consult your family doctor first. In any case, the medical history (anamnesis) is collected in a first interview. You have the opportunity to describe your complaints exactly. The doctor can ask questions like:
- Since when do the complaints already exist?
- Do you have these symptoms predominantly when you are inside?
- Do these complaints only occur in your house or elsewhere?
- Do you have pets and if so which ones?
If an allergy is suspected, a special allergy test is performed after the anamnesis. In most cases, the so-called prick test is used. In the prick test, various allergens are dropped on the affected person's forearm or back. Then the skin under it is carefully scratched. In humans without an allergy there are no skin changes. If there is a cat allergy, the skin reddened under the appropriate allergen after about 15 to 20 minutes and swells easily.
To ensure the diagnosis, a blood test is then performed. The blood is tested for contained antibodies (enzyme allergo-sorbent test). This blood test is slightly more expensive than other examination methods and is therefore only performed if the doctor already suspects a particular allergen as a trigger. Other diseases such as hay fever, asthma or an infection can be ruled out.
Frequently used in the past, but rarely used today, the so-called provocation test. In the provocation test, the allergen is introduced directly into the nose to cause the suspected allergic reaction. The provocation test is relatively dangerous, as the severity of the allergy can not be estimated beforehand, and is therefore only carried out under strict supervision.
In some cases, the doctor can not make a suspected diagnosis at the first interview. Then a second appointment is made at a distance of a few months. During these months, the doctor will ask you to write a kind of journal about your symptoms. In it you should note:
- Nature, severity and duration of the complaints
- Time of day to which they occurred
- environmental influences
By evaluating the allergy diary, the doctor receives more targeted information on the cause of the allergy. In unsafe cases so skin test and blood test will take place only after a second conversation with the doctor.
The question "Cat allergy - what to do?" Also depends on the severity of the symptoms as well as on any other additional triggers. In most cases, the severity of the symptoms can be determined based on the history and the allergy test. Depending on how hard you feel in everyday life affected by the allergy, then the type of therapy is determined.