When you’re allergic to cats, spending any amount of time with them or in their space can be miserable. As sweet as cats are, the resulting symptoms from your allergies can quickly turn any quality time sour. Of course, you could enlist the help of common allergy medications, such as antihistamines or decongestants, to help with your symptoms. But these medications are only a temporary fix and fail to address the root problem: the allergy.
This is where allergy immunotherapy comes in. With a routine regimen of cat allergy shots, you can help your body become less reactive to exposure to the animal, allowing you to spend quality time with your furry friends allergy-free. But do they work? Let’s find out.
Cat Allergies: The Basics
Cat allergies are much like any other allergy, like an allergy to food, pollen, or bee venom. It’s simply a reaction in the body to a substance called an allergen. If you have a cat allergy, that allergen is likely pet dander. While many folks think it’s the fur causing the allergy, it’s often the dead skin cells the cats shed while making room for new skin cells, called pet dander.
This dander can hang in the air and cling to various surfaces, including furniture and clothing. However, it’s not the only thing that can cause cat allergies, although it is the most common culprit. For some folks, the cat’s saliva is the problem. Their saliva can become airborne when dry and cling to various surfaces, including skin, clothing, carpets, and furniture.
So, you might notice a flare-up of your symptoms even when the cat isn’t around, as the dander or saliva might still be present in the space. When your body comes into contact with the allergen, it reacts accordingly. The antibodies your body produces flag it as harmful, even though it isn’t, communicating with cells that release certain chemicals, triggering an allergic reaction.
Your symptoms can vary, with minor ones, including a runny nose or itchy eyes, and severe ones, including difficulty breathing or anaphylaxis.
What is a Cat Allergy Shot?
Cat allergy shots fall into the subcutaneous category of allergy immunotherapy, a type of immunotherapy administered under the skin via an injection. The shot contains a small dose of the allergen that, over time, helps “train” your body to become less sensitive to it.
This process, unlike traditional treatments that focus on the symptoms, begins to work on the allergy itself. It reduces sensitivity by using incrementally increasing doses of the allergy, increasing exposure to reduce the production of the “blocking” antibody responsible for creating the symptoms. Over time, your symptoms may reduce substantially, possibly even disappearing altogether. Of course, it depends entirely on your body and how you handle the treatment.
Do Cat Allergy Shots Work?
Yes! Allergy shots for cat allergies can work well for reducing sensitivity to cat allergens, including dander and saliva. While the treatment requires a long-term commitment, it’s well worth the effort for many, especially pet parents seeking relief from pesky allergies.
It’s important to remember that the results aren’t instantaneous. It takes time to teach your body not to react to the allergen. For most folks, the early signs begin to appear within the first year, but the best results show up in years two and three.
How Effective Are Cat Allergy Shots for Humans?
Allergy immunotherapy, including cat allergy shots, has proven highly effective through extensive research, studies, and trials. The treatment is nothing new, with its introduction dating back over a century, so researchers and healthcare professionals have had plenty of time to explore the intricacies of it.
Countless studies, research trials, and clinical trials document the remarkable efficacy of allergy immunotherapy. Most studies focus on sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) or subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT) instead of a particular allergen.
For example, a handful of clinical and research trials evaluated the efficacy of SLIT. They revealed the remarkable efficacy of repeated subcutaneous injections in achieving an allergen-specific tolerance that remains for years, even after the treatment is discontinued.
The research and science backing allergy immunotherapy is extensive, so there’s plenty to browse through if you want to learn more about its history and efficacy. Or, if you want to learn more about how allergy immunotherapy could apply to your allergies, talk to your healthcare provider.
So, if you’re trying to find a solution for your cat allergies, allergy immunotherapy might be the perfect fit. Plus, since many health insurance policies cover allergy immunotherapy, save for deductibles and copays, you won’t need to worry about steep cat allergy shot costs.
Cat allergy shots are a safe and effective option for people suffering from cat allergies seeking a solution. They’ve proven effective time and time again, showing their ability to gradually desensitize your body to the allergen. While they require a long-term commitment that requires patience and time, the results can be well worth the effort.
If you’re considering allergy immunotherapy for your cat allergies, talk to your healthcare provider. They can evaluate your history and allergy to help you select the best allergy immunotherapy treatment plan for your needs.