Are Psoriasis and Pet Allergies Linked?
Cats and dogs are popular animals to keep as household pets. Having a pet is said to have many health benefits, mainly through relief of stress. However, not all people are tolerant of pets because of the allergies their fur may cause them.
Cats are small, domesticated species of felines. They have been domesticated and used as pets for centuries. There are long-haired, short-haired, and hairless breeds of cats. The allergens from cats that can cause an allergic reaction in people are: fur, dander (dead skin cells), saliva, and urine. Contained in these substances are proteins that cause an immune reaction in the bodies of people with hypersensitivity to cats. It is said that all breeds of cats have these proteins, therefore if a person is allergic to one cat, they will be allergic to all cats. Even small amounts of the cat hair or dander can trigger an allergic response in some people, regardless if the cat itself is present or not.
For people with psoriasis, having a cat would not cause any immediate harm, unless they have a cat allergy. If a person with psoriasis has a cat allergy, it is important to avoid cats and areas where cat hair and dander may be found. Allergic reactions to cats can trigger flare ups and make existing symptoms worse. In addition, cats with intact claws may scratch, which can also trigger the formation of psoriasis due to the physical trauma of the skin.
Dogs also have certain proteins in their fur, skin cells, saliva, and urine that may trigger an allergic reaction in some people. However, because the protein is different from cats, some people may be allergic to cats but be unaffected by dogs, and vice versa. The same principles of managing psoriasis in people with cat allergies also applies to people with dog allergies. Avoiding contact with pets and other objects that trigger allergies is the best way to prevent unwanted flare ups of psoriasis. Certain medications may be taken to lessen the symptoms of allergies, but they will not necessarily treat psoriasis. If a person with psoriasis has no allergy to pets whatsoever, keeping a dog or cat as a pet can be beneficial by improving mood and relieving stress.