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Help! Can I suddenly be allergic???

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone,
I experienced something really strange today and I need advice. I've always had cats and experienced some minor allergies but nothing too bad. Now I've relocated (not living with any cats at this time) and am in the market for a new kitty so I went to the shelter today to look around. After I left I had hives, sneezing, watery and itchy eyes, you get the picture. I was just home to see my parents over Christmas and one of their cats slept in bed with me every night while I was there and I had no problems! Now I had this severe reaction and I'm really concerned. Has anyone else experienced this? I'd really appreciate any input. Thanks!
post #2 of 10
It is possible to develop allergies at any age. If you are slightly allergic to cats, it is possible that the enormous amount of cat allergens at the shelter was a bit too much for your system. I am allergic to cats, and use lots of measures to allow myself to be able to happily co-exist with Abby. If I go to the home of another cat though, that will usually be enough to trigger my allergies.
post #3 of 10
I agree it could have been too much all at once. Or there was a cleaner they used you are allergic to? Try just being around one cat and see if you have the reaction again. If not I'd say you would be ok to have one cat.
post #4 of 10
You might have had a reaction to something they used in cleaning, the litter, or any other things. It might not have been from the cats.
post #5 of 10
allergies reveal themselves when a critical mass of the allergen hits you. so yes you can deveop an allergy to something you tolerated earlier.

I became allergic to cats as a young woman and I always had a cat as a child. now i get shots to own a cat.
post #6 of 10
to everything everyone else has said and also, is there other animals there that u could have been allergic to and not known about it? There is just so many things that can cause it at a shelter, and everyone has had some good points !!!
post #7 of 10
Did you happen by other animals like say the dogs? or rabbits? I used to be allergic to cats but have "out grown" the allergy and developed new ones. Best bet is an allergist who can test you and tell you for sure if you are allergic and on what level 1-4(4 being worst). When my husband and i went to the humane society to look for a second cat my allergies were so bad because we walked past the big dog cages first and than in the room were they house the cats there is a back room for the puppies and the door to the puppies was open so the dander travled all around.I have a 2 to dogs , one dog or two and i am ok if i dont touch my eyes, but when surronded by so many at once its overwhelming. I was so stuffy and ugh when we left. Had it not been for my test i would have sworn i was still allergic to cats as well since Kirra cuddles with me and i sneeze like mad. Come to find out she is laying in areas around the house that have dust, and i have a 4 to dust mites. Lol so in the end i am allergic to my cat(or more so what she has rolled in), just not the cat ROFL.

So when in doubt find an allergist, best way to be sure.
post #8 of 10
Without reading everone elses responses here is my 2 cents. Being a shelter volunteer, living with 4 cats & being allergic I feel I know a little about this. First being in the shelter with the large number of cats will set off people who normally live with cats. That said I would be a little concerned because you had such a sever recation, but I think there are things that can be done if your really determined to live with a cat. First of all having only 1 cat will reduce your risk of a reaction. Second cleaning regularly to remove dust & dander & having an air purifier with a heppa filter. Finally if it's really bad there are great medications on the market these days. I recently got a perscription from my doctor for a nasal spray & in a matter of a few days I can't believe the differnce it's made. I've gone from waking up every morning stuffed up & sneezing to almost no stuffiness. Now I've never had the reaction that you had, so I'm not sure what you can expect. There are also things like Claritin. It's all a matter of what your willing to put up with for a kitty.
post #9 of 10
I too am allergic to cats slightly and deadly allergic to dogs.

However, my system can handle up to four insiders if they are "balanced"....2 shorthairs, 2 longhairs....or 3 shorthairs, 1 longhair. I tried to intoduce a 5th kitty about a year ago and thought I was going to have to be taken to the emergency room.

Rule at my house: Only 4 kitties inside. The allergens at the shelter triggered a reaction because it was a massive dose. Obviously if you slept with one cat, and had no symptoms, you can at least have one and your systems should be able to handle it.
post #10 of 10
Ok - I feel like I'm an expert on this so I'm happily and excitedly offering advice.

I've always been more allergic to dogs and cats.
I've spent years getting weekly shots.
I also take zyrtec/allegra blah blah blah

Being in a place where a lot of dander can trigger a reaction. If you have a cat at home and sleep with your cat or what ever and don't normally have any reaction - DON"T WORRY. I used to get hives ALL THE TIME and I went to my doctor and he explained hives very well. . .

a person is like a glass of water. When the glass is half full and you get close to things you are allergic to, it's just a little sniffling. If the glass is filled to the brim - stress, extreme temps, meds you name it - AND get close to the things that make you sniffly; then you can get hives. they are the body's reaction to try to remove excess toxins.

If you normally can hang around a couple of cats and not have a big problem - then you'll be fine. In my opinion, shelters can just compound the problem with allergies because they aren't the same environment as a 'home'
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