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Pet allergies, sinusitis, bronchitis?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Twice this year I've come down with a bad cold, followed by weeks upon weeks of chest congestion and some sort of bronchial problem: slight wheezing, some coughing, postnasal drip, etc...

We're in a relatively small apartment with two cats and a rabbit....maybe allergies?

We vacuum fairly regularly with a HEPA-filtered vacuum, but I'm dying here. I'm hoping it's not a pet allergy...

Obviously I need to go to a doctor, but - recommendations, advice, thoughts?

(I don't smoke)
post #2 of 11
Scott- For years, I suffered from bad colds, messed up sinuses-bronchitis, pleurisy and pneumonia about 4-5 times a year. Nasty stuff! About three years ago, I started taking 2 drops of GSE (Grapefruit Seed Extract) liquid in a glass of orange juice every day. I have not had until this year (when I had to stand in the icy creek with Racer three times a day) a major cold, or any of the nasty stuff that usually followed my colds. I swear by the stuff, I really do. I really got tired of coughing up a lung, and no I don't smoke either. You can buy GSE at any good health food stores.
post #3 of 11
Don't have any advice for you Scott- But good luck!
post #4 of 11
I first noticed my allergies got really bad, when I had adopted Kolohe and Koa. Went to the Doctor and I told him I was on Allegra, but it hasn't been helping. So he prescribed me Zyrtec, which has been working GREAT. Although I didn't like the comment he'd said when I told him my allergies got worse when I adopted the kittens.

Doctor: Well since you knew you have allergies, why'd you buy the cats in the first place?
Me: Because I love animals, and I wanted to take care of them.
Doctor: But you knew you have allergies. So why make it worse? I suggest you get rid of them, to prevent your health getting bad.
Me: (shocked face) But isn't that what allergy medicine is for? For dust, pollen, pet dander, etc.
Doctor: Yes, but it doesn't mean it'll make things better. You should get rid of those cats.

I'm sorry, but I had to add that in there... because I remember very well how that appointment went. From then on I never liked that Doctor (military doctor). Total attitude I tell you. I never deserved to be treated that way.

Anyhoo, the only thing I can think of is getting a prescription for allergies. The GSE that Hissy suggested sounds good, but I've never tried it. Hope it works out for you.
post #5 of 11
It could be allergies or it could be something else. You should probably go to the doctor before it gets worse. If it is bronchitis and it's not treated it could turn into pneumonia. This almost happened to me because I hate going to doctors no matter how sick I am and I kept putting it off for weeks. But I was so sick I finally gave in and the doctor said I was bordering on pneumonia. Best not to take a chance.

I'm VERY allergic to cats, as in end-up-in-hospital-allergic. I'm lucky though because I take a generic version of Benedryl and this helps tremendously, not 100%, but close to it. I really am surprised that it does work because of the severity of my allergies. My symptoms include (when not taking medication) itchy eyes, a cough-up-your-lung type cough (this is the one I hate the most), constantly runny nose, sneezing, congestion, and probably the worst symptom would be unable to breath. That can be a problem.

2rascalkitties - When I saw my new doctor she asked if I was on any medication and I told her an anti-histamine for cat allergies. Later on she asked if I had any pets and she quickly made a remark like "I know you don't have cats because of your allergies". My comment was, "Why do you think I'm taking the medication?" She just looked at me and before she could open her mouth I said, "And no, getting rid of the cats will NEVER be an option." She just smiled and said she was also very allergic and she tried all sorts of medication and nothing worked. She never said anything more about it.
post #6 of 11
First, go to the doctor.

If it does turn out that you're allergic to cats there are lots of things you can do.

I take Zyrtec and Singulair. Zyrtec is expensive, so I take it in the daytime & take generic Benadryl at night. There are also prescription allergy eyedrops that are wonderful if you get horrible itchy eyes. Regular use of a saline nasal spray to keep your nose clean can help, too. I also get shots.

Try not to touch your face after you've touched your cat, until you've washed your hands.

If your cats will let you bathe them, that will help. We bathe ours once a month (every 2 weeks is better, but I'm lazy) in just plain warm water. You can use a gentle shampoo if you like, but the allergist told me that just rinsing thoroughly should help.

The one thing that's helped the most (and been the toughest to do) is to start keeping the cats out of the bedroom. It's hard, and I still feel horrible for doing it b/c I've let them sleep with me all their lives until just the last year, but it's really made a difference in how often & how badly I get sick. And hubby is much less sneezy, too.

I've heard air filters are great - we're trying to save up to get some.

Allergy testing and shots may help, especially because controlling any other allergies will help give your system the little break that it needs to deal with the cat allergies.

Reducing the amount of carpet, cloth upholstery, and other "dust catchers" in your home may help too. Carpet is horrible for allergies - it's impossible to get truly clean, and in trying you may make yourself sick with cleaning chemicals.

Hopefully you'll notice over time that you'll get used to your own cats & they won't bother you as much. Be really careful about handling new cats, b/c you may find they'll set you off even when your own don't.

Good luck
post #7 of 11
Tess, I'm the same. I use Zyrtec and Advair. I also have a problem with hives a couple of times a week, and I use a prescription steroid cream (Ultravete) for that. My head does get really stuffy, so I use Flonase when needed (prescription synthetic low-dose steroids).

We tried to bathe the cats once a month - but it was just too much of a battle. We use kitty wipes (all natural with aloe) every other day.

We vaccum the entire place at least three times a week - and we do have carpet. We use throw rugs that get vaccumed with everything else, but we launder them once a week. We do have carpet in the living room and bedroom, but Gary's mom bought us a carpet steamer, and IT IS GREAT! We use it every other week.

We also use Fabreeze Allergan reducer on the window coverings. We have carpeted cat trees, but I feel uncomfortable using the Fabreeze Allergan stuff on them.

We can't bring ourselves to keep the cats out of the bedroom. (Though the recent pain in my upper back has been explained - I thought I was sleeping in a funny position or something. Gary woke up and discovered the problem. Shelly, our biggest at 14 pounds, was asleep on my back!)
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I have to make an appointment.

It might be a virus or some sort of non-pet allergy. For example: last night, I was all congested. Today? It's fine. In a few days it will probably kick-in again.

It's really damp out today, so maybe there's less pollen or other allergy-inducing things in the air?
post #9 of 11
Im allergic to cats too,thank God for Zyrtec
post #10 of 11
My hubby has had a cold for about 3 weeks now. It will just never go away completely.
Hissy, doesn't GSE come in a capsule form now? I haven't looked for it, but someone mentioned it to me. The liquid is so bitter, even just a few drops in something. I'll take it, but my kids make quite a fuss about it.
Take vitamin C and quercetin together for sinuses. I take that combination for my mild allergies and sinus infections and it works well for me.
There are several formulas available for pet allergies at natural food stores. A friend of mine is very allergic to cats and tried one before she came over and it helped her, without the side effects the others can cause. Most of them are homeopathic formulas, so they will only help if you match the symptoms of one of the remedies in the mix.
Hopefully it is a virus you have and not an allergy. The bug my husband has is a stubborn one.
post #11 of 11
Originally posted by Donkey Puncher
I get horrific allergies myself including asthma attacks. Still, I'm hell bent on getting a couple of kitties.
If you have a serious problem with athsma and do not currently have cats, I would suggest that you consider carefully before adopting one (or more). There are some people who simply cannot be around cats without suffering very serious (sometimes life-threatening) health consequences, and after you've made the lifetime commitment to adopt a cat is not the time to discover you might be one of those people.

As a possible solution, try contacting your local shelter or rescue group. Explain your situation, and ask if they need help fostering cats or kittens. Perhaps you could foster a cat or kitten in your home with the agreement that if your allergies become serious you can return him or her to the program. Then, if it works out, you could either keep the foster or adopt another cat. And if it doesn't work out and you become ill, you wouldn't be faced with the heartbreak of a failed adoption.

Hope this helps.

Laurie, I'm sorry but your post about the funny sleeping position discovery has me ROTFL! I'm glad you discovered what was happening!
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