The Unseen Cause of Cat Allergies
By: Alise Sixkiller
Almost 1 in 7 Americans are allergic to cats, double those allergic to dogs. Even more have sensitivities, or milder allergen-caused reactions like occasional sneezing or itchy skin. In recent years, the study of cat allergies helped scientists find the proteins responsible for these reactions but there is another, surprising culprit for severe reactions: bacteria.
Allergies are the immune system overreacting to what they think is a virus or bacteria. Cat allergies are caused by saliva covered dander(Ew). However, scientists discovered this might not be too much of an overreaction. The bacteria at fault is known as a lipopolysaccharide and it releases ‘endotoxins’ which is not a sci-fi poison but a byproduct of bacteria that lives in our body and in our environment. It doesn’t cause colds but it does make those allergic to dander change receptors for their immune response. For those of you who suffer from cat allergies, this is a reasonable explanation for why we react differently from cat to cat and home to home. The environment changes, therefore how your body reacts to cat allergies changes. Thankfully, doctors and scientists are working on a steroid shot that could target both receptors from receiving these ‘false signals’.
For those cat owners, this bacteria and the reactions it causes means your house might not be as clean as you hope, or you aren’t targeting the full spectrum of the source of cat allergens(fur, dander, saliva, and bacteria). Vacuuming takes care of the pet fur and dander but doesn’t sanitize. You can’t wash your carpet and most couches have special washing requirements. Usually it means mixing chemicals or baking soda and vinegar(and having your house smell pickled for awhile) to spend the whole day ‘washing’ your house. Or you can invest in you and the RAYCOP OMNI Power with UV+. What makes this vacuums better than standard is the UV sanitizing head, meaning you can vacuum and sanitize floors, cat trees, sofas, chairs and any other soft surface with just one pass. Plus you can wash it in the sink after each use so you don’t get that lingering pet odor.