Friday, March 21, 2008

Can Your Cat’s Allergies Make Yours Worse?

Springtime not only brings warmer weather, but also seasonal allergies as well. Hay fever-like symptoms are common, as are exacerbated allergy and asthma side effects, but it’s interesting to note that humans aren’t the only ones who suffer. Blooming grasses, flowers, and plants can also trigger allergic reactions in dogs and cats, and this will often lead pets to persistently scratching, licking, and biting to get relief.

Unfortunately, when your pets suffer from allergies, your symptoms can also be affected. Particularly in cats, the real culprit behind cat allergies stems from cat saliva, and not fur, as commonly thought. This allergen is called Fel d1, and when a cat licks or bites itself, the saliva is deposited on its fur. This saliva then dries into dust which is released when your cat scratches, moves, or when stroked or brushed by humans. With that in mind, if your cat is itching, it will bite and scratch to get relief, and this will disperse more of the Fel d 1 allergen into the air you breathe – making your allergies even worse.

To counter pet allergies, many people try to regularly brush the animal, vacuum, change coverings, and even use sticky rollers on clothing, but cat hair can still end up floating in the air. Allergy furnace filters and air purifiers can keep you from sneezing, but what about your cat’s allergies?

While the above methods work well at keeping pet allergies to a minimum, one of the best ways to control pet allergies is to address the problem before it begins, and the key to minimizing pet dander is to keep your cat’s skin properly moisturized. In warm, arid climates, cats tend to shed because of dry skin, and installing a humidifier can help alleviate this problems. Switching your cat’s food from dry kibble to canned will also work, as this introduces more moisture into your cat’s skin from within.

Following this advice is sure to keep you and your pet’s allergy symptoms at bay.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Prevent Dry Skin This Winter

When the temperature plummets, most people turn up the heat and bundle up in blankets and heavy clothing. While doing so may take the chill off, this increases one’s exposure to dry, warm air, which can then lead to problems such as irritated nasal passages and throats, nose bleeds, and Xeroderma.

Xeroderma, which literally means "dry skin," is a common condition that involves the integumentary system and often occurs during the winter when the cold air outside and the hot air inside creates a low relative humidity. This dry air can then lead to general discomfort associated with cracked, peeling skin and chapped lips. In order to counter the problem of dry skin associated with winter weather, follow these simple, self-care measures to prevent or reduce the consequences of dry air:

1. Drink plenty of fluids. While water is clearly the best choice, low-fat milk, juice, broth, soups, or drinks without caffeine can help replenish moisture.
2. Keep skin moisturized. Liberally apply a thick cream or moisturizer to damp skin promptly after bathing.
3. Keep lips moisturized. To soothe chapped lips, be sure to use plenty of lip balm or petroleum jelly. For severely chapped lips, apply a thick layer of lip balm before bed and use a damp toothbrush to brush away flakes in the morning.
4. Take lukewarm showers. Instead of indulging in hot showers, lower the temperature, as hot water can cause skin dryness. Also, use mild soap and bathe every other day if necessary.
5. Change your diet. Eating more foods rich in high-quality oils such as Omega-3 (like salmon) can help improve winter skin. In addition, flaxseed oil and Vitamin E supplements may help combat dryness.
6. Invest in a humidifier. During the cooler and drier months, a humidifier can help maintain a comfortable level of humidity in your home by adding moisture to your air and living space.


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