Cat Allergies in Babies

Written by tiffany fowlkes
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Cat Allergies in Babies
(Photo Courtesy of Stock.Xchng)

Cat allergies in babies are triggered by immune reactions to feline dander, saliva and even urine or faeces. Babies suffering from allergies to cats may experience traditional symptoms such as sneezing, watery eyes and a runny nose, or more severe symptoms such as complete eye swelling, difficulty breathing and asthmatic wheezing and coughing. Determining if your baby is allergic to cats may prove challenging, but with thorough allergy testing, you can effectively treat your baby for allergy symptoms as well as create an allergy-free home to prevent extensive allergy problems.

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Symptoms

The most common cat allergy symptoms in babies includes excessive sneezing, red, itchy, watery eyes, a clear, runny nose, congestion, wheezing, persistent coughing, a rash, dark circles under the eyes, recurrent colds and ear infections and aggressive nighttime coughing and congestion.

Treatments

Your paediatrician may recommend over-the-counter antihistamines to treat mild allergic reactions to cats. For persistent allergic problems, your baby may need prescription-strength antihistamines. Your paediatrician may also try decongestants and saline nasal sprays. For severe cat allergies, your paediatrician may recommend your baby to a paediatric allergist for skin and blood testing to determine the cause of the allergic reactions and to develop a treatment plan that includes medications, possible allergy shots and allergy proofing your home. Babies with asthma induced from cat allergies will require respiratory treatments to assist breathing and prevent bronchial infections.

Prevention

Parents often think that simply removing the cat from their home will resolve the allergy problem, but do not realise that cat dander can remain in a house from six months up to two years. If you are determined to keep your cat indoors try to keep the animal in one room of the house and out of the baby's room at all times. Open your windows regularly to recirculate the air, keep your home well ventilated and use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to trap pet allergens. Thoroughly clean your house regularly to remove pet dander and treat your carpet with allergy control solutions that inactivate accumulated cat dander. Make sure to keep the cat litter box out of any room your baby is exposed to.

Misconceptions

Babies who are able to tolerate dogs may not be able to tolerate cats. Likewise, a baby who may not initially have an allergic reaction to cats can develop one over time. Initial allergy testing may not show cat allergies that could possibly develop as your baby grows.

Considerations

Most babies develop asthma problems as a result of allergic reactions to pets such as cats. For babies with asthma induced by pet allergies, the best option for successful prevention is to remove the animal from your home and prevent your baby from visiting environments where they will be exposed to cats and similar animals.

Warning

Cat allergies in babies can cause severe asthmatic responses such as wheezing, gasping for breath and breathing problems as well as significant swelling of the eyes. Your baby should be closely monitored while experiencing asthmatic symptoms during an allergic reaction to make sure they are breathing adequately. Contact your paediatrician immediately if respiratory problems increase or do not improve with medication.

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