Don't leave,- Mommy and Daddy!- Stay!
|Purred: Sun Aug 16, '09 9:02pm PST |
|I'm allergic to cats. Then again, I'm literally allergic (violently) to EVERYTHING they test for at my allergist, except for one thing. yes, literally I'm allergic to everything they test for. I'm not exaggerating.
I use flonase nasal spray, I take either Zyzol or Allegra (generic) which are the more powerful medications on the market, I am on allergy shots. There are no side effects to the flonase or Zyzol/Allegra. The allergy shots were giving me big red bumps (egg sized) but that was when I was building up to my maintenance dose and was getting them every 3-4 days. I was also getting some nice rough patches of exzema on my arms, but that seems to be much better now. Since I get them no more than one time a week now, I seem to be fine. I have not had another sinus infection or missed anymore work for allergies since I made the changes I'm going to describe to you below. Before that, I blew through about 4 weeks of saved sick time this year.
I own a Dyson vacuum (designed for pet hair), I removed all extraneous bedding from the bedroom. I wash all laundry with hot water to kill dust mites and wash everything on the bed once a week in hot water. I have all my pillows and mattress covered and I wipe down or vacuum the covers each week. I was actually fine with my allergies and the two cats I had until I started working at a school that has mold problems last year. I started having severe headaches in the fall and had my first sinus infection in 15 years last NOvember. The Zpack didn't work for me, and in fact, I reacted so badly to it that I won't be taking it ever again. The fever and infection went away but the headaches did not, so I knew it was going to come back. I eventually did 21 days of antibiotics (very powerful ones) and in the end, my sinuses were so inflamed that the infection couldn't ever go away. Massage therapy and chiropractic care got the gunk to come out of my head where it lodged in my neck and shoulders. A round of muscle relaxers and anti-inflammatories go it to go away. I went to the allergist which was a long arduous process. The first allergist I went to was frankly psycho. They told me to have all this blood testing for allergies that wasn't covered by my insurance and they required all these extra visits rather than doing something. It took two months just to get the allergy shots going. I was so frustrated by the process that I was deeply depressed about it. Some of the blood work indicated that I would have to cut out about 25 foods for up to a year and that many other foods could harbor allergens. I was going to have to throw away all the food in my house and go to a nutritionist to figure out what I could eat. That also was not going to be covered by insurance.
Then I went to a different allergist which thank God my insurance covered. I had all the testing redone. It was similar results, except that doctor said the 25 foods were ones I happened to have eaten and I wasn't going to have to avoid them for a year. Also, I was able to start my allergy shots right away and was able to build up my levels of allergens much faster. He also said that I essentially self-innoculate with my cats. Yes, I'm allergic to them, but it's a drop in the bucket compared to everything else I'm allergic to. Also, I DON"T get sneezy or have itchy eyes around my cats. Happy DID make my eyes itchy the first couple of weeks, but not now.
Anyhow, If you are allergic, the question is what are you allergic to OTHER than cats and how allergic are you to these things?
Can you get allergy testing? If yes, I'd do that first. Then I'd get on allergy shots if necessary. The thing with animals is that they shoot allergens into the air. Pet dander is airbourne and sticks around a place for up to 10 years after an animal is in that place. Probably you have dander in your house even if you don't have an animal.
All the allergy magazines push getting rid of animals, or at least getting them out of your house for a couple of months and seeing if you feel better. Also they say do not have animals in your bedroom b/c you spend about 1/3 of your time in your bedroom.
I really think the thing I need to do next is to get rid of the wall to wall carpeting in my house and put in tile and hardwood floors. I'd also like to get a good air purifier. Those are about $500, so it's something I have to wait on for a while. The floors I've got to wait a lot longer on.
In the end, I was fine with my allergies, even with having cats, until I started working in that school. I'm not surprised, to be honest, b/c the first allergy I demonstrated at age 13-14 was to penicillin which is mold based. I'm fairly sure that my mold allergies are the ones I deal the worst with.
since I've been more vigilant around the house, I've been able to ease up on some of the restrictions I had put on myself. I'm not needing a mask to clean anymore, for instance, and I'm not having to dust every room every week, but more on a 2-3 times per month basis or more if needed.
The other thing I did, was I DO NOT do yard work, at all, anymore, b/c all of my allergies are represented in high levels at the same time outside.
I think you can have a cat unless you or someone in your family has asthma. I'd check if there is a family history of it, too, b/c you could develop it.
Also, if all you get is the occasional itchy eye or watery nose, I'm sorry but you just don't have that bad of allergies.
The best analogy for explaining allergies is that everyone has an allergy load. It's like a cup. Some people have a big cup, others have a small cup. Some people put lots of stuff in their cup (b/c they are allergic to more, are more severely allergic to things, are more exposed to things they're allergic to, etc), others put less. In my case, I have a small cup and I'm putting lots of stuff in it. Cats are just one of about 40-50 things I'm allergic to, so it's not a big deal for me. I have to do all this other stuff to deal with my other allergies, so I'm protecting myself anyhow. Since I have cats, I self-innoculate by having a regular exposure to their dander.
The thing people don't realize is that when you really have allergies, it's like you're being poisoned a little all the time. You ache, you don't sleep well, or need too much sleep. You are tired and lack energy. It's really debilitating. Then again, when people see how sick you actually are (everyone I knew, family, friends, colleagues was truly worried about me), they can sort of start to understand. You just can't live life the same way when you have allergies. And I'm not even talking about the food allergies I have. The terrible thing is that I'm way worse than the majority of people around there, but with care, allergies don't cramp my style much now. The few people that are worse of than me are infinitely worse off than me.
If you want to talk me, feel free to message me. I've had to learn a lot about allergies recently! I think you COULD have a cat, but I'd have to know more details and you'd have to visit an allergist and weigh the pros and cans. I'll be happy to help you.
Mother of Tiger, Kali, and Happy
Edited by author Sun Aug 16, '09 9:10pm PST
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