Cat and pet dander allergies are on the rise. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, they can affect as many as 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children.[i] Conventional medicine has a few solutions such as antihistamines and “allergy shots,” which can alleviate symptoms for some individuals, but at what cost? Many drugs cause drying of mucus membranes, which will just put you at an increased risk of developing other illnesses such as colds and sinus infections.
One of the best things to do to prevent the development of cat dander and cat salivary allergies is to expose children to cats before the age on 1. A study conducted in 1998 showed exposure to household dogs and cats reduced a child’s lifelong risk of developing allergies by over 50%. [ii]
Furthermore, another study pointed out a similar finding in 2011 stating that children who grow up in “bacterially diverse” environments including environments where there was a prevalence of different types of pet dander had a significantly lower chance of developing asthma and hay fever. This study showed “children living on farms had a lower prevalence of asthma than children in the reference groups”[iii]
5 natural steps to alleviating symptoms associated with cat allergies:
- 1. Wash all bedding in hot water with a hypoallergenic laundry detergent weekly. This reduces the overall dander load that accumulates on clothing and in the air.
- 2. Remove your shoes as before you walk into the house.This will help prevent tracking in other allergens such as dust, and pollen, which could make existing dander allergies worse.
- 3. Wash and brush your pets weekly. This will prevent a buildup of dead skin and fur, and lowers the amount of dander in the air.
- 4. Reduce the use of artificial perfumes such as scented candles, perfumes, and scented cleaning products. These artificial scents irritate the respiratory system and can worsen symptoms associated with cat dander allergies. Consider using a cold diffuser of 100% therapeutic grade essential oils such as DoTerra Essential oils, as a safe and effective air freshener that can help support natural respiratory health as well as add clean scents into the air.
- 5. Consider taking a natural respiratory and immune support formula such as AllQlear by Integrative Therapeutics. This Formula was discovered accidentally while doing research on quail farmers in the 1970’s. What they found was quail farmers had a lower incidence of developing seasonal and animal dander allergies…including cat dander! Allqlear is a physician level formula by a company that does research both in the US and in Europe of effective natural products. To purchase this and other well-researched products you must either be a doctor or log-on through Terrain Wellness’s online Pharmacy. If you are already a patient of Terrain Wellness you can just use your log-in information, if you are new to the online pharmacy, click the link and use the clinic code TERRAINWELLNESS and it will give you the prompts necessary to create a new account and have supplements sent directly to your home as well as give you an automatic 10% discount on retail prices for thousands of products from top physician level supplement companies.
Other immune support options include the use of citrus bioflavonoids. Bioflavonoids have been used for many years by doctors to treat inflammation and allergies, and have been used clinically in my practice with great success. Bioflavonoids are rich in ingredients such as rutin and quercitin ,which have anti-inflammatory effects that help stabilize capillaries and reduce signs and symptoms related to hay fever.(iv)
If you try all of these tips and are still having trouble with pet dander allergies and allergies in general, Dr. Dani offers online virtual appointments for out-of-town consultations as well as in-person comprehensive naturopathic and acupuncture appointments for people who live in or around Portland, Oregon. At Terrain Wellness we believe every person is treated individually and we strive to cater treatments to work with that person’s individual needs and lifestyles.
Long-term allergies can sometimes be difficult to navigate on your own. Dr. Dani works with patients to investigate the most effective and efficient treatment to help you feel optimal and thrive in all areas of health. Dr. Dani can quickly identify underlying food allergies that cause the body to “overreact” to allergens in the environment. She does this by using a combination of exercise, nutrition, herbs and minerals to restore the bodies’ ability to cope with physical and emotional stress, leading to an increased ability to fight excessive inflammation and reduce reactions to allergens.
Dr. Danielle Anderson is a naturopathic physician and acupuncturist in Portland, Oregon. She is a co-owner of Terrain Wellness, an integrative medical clinic that focuses on restoring and re-balancing the body to treat chronic ailments. She has a passion for educating the public on the effective use of natural medicine. She also co-owns a sparkling herbal tea company called Doctor Bird Elixirs. Learn more tips by tuning into The Resourced Adult, a podcast about natural living, authentic relationships, humor and parenthood. She co-hosts The Resourced Adult, an online radio show with her good friend who is also a health professional specializing in pediatrics.
Photo Credit: Boomer the cat Nikki Martinez/My Foster Kittens. Nikki has fostered and found loving homes for hundreds of cats. She works tirelessly to end animal abuse and raise awareness on how to safely and naturally raise cats. visit her Instagram for more information @myfosterkittens.
ii Wegienka, G., Johnson, C.C., Havstad, S., Ownby, D.R., Nicholas, C. and Zoratti, E.M., 2011. Lifetime dog and cat exposure and dog‐and cat‐specific sensitization at age 18 years. Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 41(7), pp.979-986.
iii Ege, Markus J., et al. “Exposure to environmental microorganisms and childhood asthma.” New England Journal of Medicine 364.8 (2011): 701-709.