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12 November 2013 09:20
Asthma sufferers are a third more likely to be allergic to cats than non-sufferers, research shows
Asthma sufferers have been warned to prepare for travelling to see relatives over Christmas after researchers found they are more likely to suffer an allergy to cats than those without the condition.
Between 1976 and 1994, the number of people with the respiratory disease who were also allergic to the common pet more than doubled, with research showing that asthma sufferers are a third more likely to be allergic to cats than those without the respiratory disease.
Particularly at this time of year as families begin to organise festive celebrations, perhaps away from home, the US data acts as a warning to asthma sufferers to ensure they have
asthma travel insurance in place.
The researchers said if the family asthma sufferers are visiting have a pet cat they should pack an extra inhaler into their case too.
While irritable noses and wheezing chests are thought to be common in the summer months, the researchers noted that the symptoms can be just as prevalent in autumn and winter, when triggered by environmental factors such as ragweed, ryegrass and alternaria fungus.
Dr James Sublett, of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, said: "This study helps us better understand common trends in allergy and asthma, which can lead to improved diagnosis and treatment.
"While it is unknown exactly why there has been an increase in asthma and allergy sufferers, it is thought a number of environmental factors can be responsible."
Dr Leonard Bielory, lead author presenting the study at the college's annual science meeting, said: "Allergies can strike at any age in life, with symptoms disappearing and resurfacing years later.
"Allergies and asthma are serious diseases. Misdiagnoses and inappropriate treatment can be dangerous."
New Jersey Medical School also estimated that 60% to 85% of asthma sufferers have al least one allergy.
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