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Q. “I love my cat but he makes me itch. What can I do?”


You can ask your dermatologist for advice. He or she may suggest a cat allergy blood test. If the test is positive, then you may have to avoid the cat. Ask an allergist about cat desensitization treatments, in which the allergist puts you through a series of “injections” to control your allergy. If you are a diehard cat enthusiast, you can try one of many cat shampoos from your local pet store. They help keep your cat’s dander in control. Everything I’ve said also applies to dog allergies, as well. For your reference, I have included information on allergy desensitization.

Allergy Desensitization Therapy
If you know exactly what you are allergic to, you may be a candidate for allergy desensitization therapy by an allergist, a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and management of allergies. Allergists work closely with dermatologists, as their specialties often overlap. Allergy “injections” are usually not first-line therapy. First, allergy tests are conducted to determine the type and severity of your allergies. Desensitization therapy is a preventive therapeutic technique that involves injection of small quantities of an allergenic substance for the purpose of diminishing the body's allergic response to that substance.

By gradual exposure to the allergen, the body learns to handle the foreign substance without overreacting. This process makes the immune system less sensitive to the allergen, probably through the production of a blocking antibody to reduce the strength of IgE and its effect on mast cells. If the allergen is encountered in the future, allergy symptoms are reduced. Desensitization is generally recommended for people who have sensitivity to a specific allergen and is effective in about 50 percent of cases.

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