Sunday 24 March 2024

Are men more likely to be allergic to cats than women?

No, would appear to be the answer based on my research (see below) but a survey in Australia found that about twice as many men compared to women attended hospital for an allergy to the feline allergen Fel D1.
In 2021–22, open wounds were the most common type of injury, accounting for 13,420 (57%) cases, followed by fractures (15%), toxic effects (10%), and superficial (5%) and soft tissue injury (4.5%). The upper limbs (46%) and head and neck (14%) were the body parts most likely to be injured. Allergic reactions to animals sent 1,180 cases to hospital, the majority being males who were twice as likely as females to be hospitalized for this reason (5.9 and 3.2 per 100,000 respectively).

 But my assistant Bing Copilot reports this on whether there is a difference:

The likelihood of cat allergies does not appear to be significantly different between men and women. However, it’s interesting to note that non-neutered male cats produce more Fel d1, which is the protein that causes allergic reactions, compared to other cats. This means that male cats might pose a higher risk of triggering allergies, but this does not necessarily correlate with the gender of the human being allergic.

In general, pet allergies, including those to cats, affect a substantial portion of the population, with estimates suggesting that between 10% and 20% of people globally may suffer from some form of pet allergy. The development of allergies is complex and can be influenced by various factors, including genetics, environment, and early exposure to pets.

Sources: Many including: Springer, Sage and An Allergy.

What is Fel d 1?

Fel d 1 is a protein complex primarily found in cat saliva and sebaceous glands. It’s encoded by the CH1 and CH2 genes in cats and is the major allergen responsible for allergic reactions in humans sensitive to cats. The protein’s function in cats is not fully understood, but in humans, it can trigger an allergic or asthmatic response. Interestingly, Fel d 1 levels vary among cats, with non-neutered male cats producing more of this allergen.

Sources: Four including Allergy UK and Wikipedia.

P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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