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Cat Allergies - Page 2

post #31 of 73
Originally Posted by AnonymousUser View Post
I bought some Claritin. The pharmacy told me that one of my other medications might not work well with the Claritin, so they told me to see my doctor before taking it. I had to wait to set an appt. about it, so I have it okay'd now.

I'm going to take it tomorrow. As it's an antihistamine, has anyone had problems with it not working after taking it for a few months? I worry about that if I do get a cat. (I'd hate for it to stop working one day and land me in the emergency room because of the reaction.)

- AnonymousUser
When I used to have seasonal allergies, I used to take a rotation of antihistamines because they all stopped working for me after a few weeks. I'd go from Drixorol, to Claritin, to Dimetap (it actually works real good), and then if it got REAL bad I took a Benedryl and went straight to bed.

Every person is different though, you might not have to resort to that, or it might be even worse for you.
post #32 of 73
I used to be allergic to cats, and will still sneeze sometimes, but pretty much got over it. However, I know it wasn't a real smart move on my side, and wouldn't recommend adopting if you are not 100% sure. When I got my kitties, I knew that it was a committment for life, and that I was the one who had to tough it out. Are you willing to maybe be on allergy medicine as long as you have the cat?
post #33 of 73
Hi, perhaps I can help answer some of your questions.

Dander does not cause of cat allergens. The allergen in cats not found in other pets is Fel d1. This is a small protein that can cause reactions ranging from very minor to severe or dangerous. The allergen is created only in the salivary, skin and anal glands. It is found in the hair due to the oils from the skin glands and also from grooming.

Washing the cat prior to spending time with it is much like dressing up fancy for a date. Sooner or later you wind up back in 501 blues. When cats are fully washed with buffered borate shampoo, normal allergen levels begin returning on the hair by the second day.

Levels of feline allergen vary strongly between cats and are much lower in some breeds than others. Another consideration, neutered males and females produce about 1/10th the allergen of non-neutered.

The easiest method of medical testing is to have your doctor send in a blood sample to be tested for IgE reaction to Fel d1 allergen. The test is not as expensive as full skin sensitivity testing, and is far more accurate.

Some folks "tough it out". As people age they do tend to become less sensitive to Fel d1 allergen, but if the cat causes you an asthmatic response, please consider not adopting. Risking damage to your lungs should be thought through carefully, and long term use of corticosteroid drugs may be a poor option when this is the case.

I apologize for not being on the forum often, as my free time has been limited. If I don’t get right back, just send me a PM and I will get back to the forum & reply.

Tom Lundberg
post #34 of 73
That is great information Tom. Thank you.
And I agree, my approach to "though it out" wasn't smart, even though I was lucky and it worked out. Therefore I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
post #35 of 73
Very interesting - I take allergies, and do have to swap occasionally cos they stop working.
post #36 of 73
Thread Starter 
The Claritin helps with the dog allergy. I went to a friend's house with a dog and I had no reaction. I have yet to try with cats, but I will be trying.

I'm thinking a rotation of Claritin, Benadryl, and Dimetapp might work. Is Benadryl as effective?
post #37 of 73
yes i havent tried it but one of my friends is allergic to cats and she use to come down my house all the time and she would be fine so from what i hear benadryl is very good !
post #38 of 73
Originally Posted by AnonymousUser View Post
I'm thinking a rotation of Claritin, Benadryl, and Dimetapp might work. Is Benadryl as effective?
Benadryl is very effective, however at a price. It will make you very drowsy and if you fight it and try to stay awake you feel horrible. It's not something I would take regularly. I only use it for acute allergic reactions and emergencies.

Dimetapp will only get rid of completely blocked up nose, itchy roof of mouth/nose, coughing, that sort of thing. Won't do much for worse symptoms.
post #39 of 73
Thread Starter 
Do you know of any other good non-drowsy meds I can rotate with? Claritin is non-drowsy, and I don't feel any different except that I don't have allergy problems when I take it. (The dry mouth is also not as bad as it's said to be.)
post #40 of 73
I have been allergic to cats for most of my life and have also lived with them all of my life. If your allergies are life threatening in any way, I obviously wouldn't recommend adopting a cat. However, beyond that, I think willingness to tolerate cat allergies tends to depend on how much one loves cats and is willing to put up with at least some discomfort. Allergists can conduct tests to determine what your specific allergies are, and they can discuss your options (e.g., allergy shots). I take over-the-counter allergy medicine everyday and it keeps my moderate allergies under control, but it differs from person to person. I would definitely recommend that you ensure that you can return the cat to the shelter if you do develop unbearable allergies. Please give it a lot of thought and be honest with the people at the shelter about it. For me, it is more than worth the suffering to have my babies, but it is ultimately your decision. If you are allergic to cat dander, the cats will appreciate you taking the time to consider all your options!
post #41 of 73
Originally Posted by AnonymousUser View Post
Do you know of any other good non-drowsy meds I can rotate with? Claritin is non-drowsy, and I don't feel any different except that I don't have allergy problems when I take it. (The dry mouth is also not as bad as it's said to be.)
Zyrtec is supposed to be real good, works better than Claritin. I think it's perscription only though.
post #42 of 73
Thread Starter 
It gets worse. Today, I find out that I'm allergic to cotton. It seems that they get worse and worse. I'm allergic to the material either nylon or vinyl, I can't remember (whatever material is used to make chairs most commonly). That was awhile back.

I was sitting on a cotton sofa and my eyes started itching. I popped a Claritin. I will definitely be going to an allergist soon and getting a prescription. How commonly should they change it? Every two weeks possibly?

Also, the prescription meds seem to be non-sedating from what I've read, so they are non-drowsy. Allegra, Zyrtec, and Singulair all seem like options. (are there any more?)
post #43 of 73

I, like you, am allergic to just about EVERYTHING! I took the skin test two years ago. This is how it works:

The nurse comes in and puts drops of liquid (looked oil based) onto your skin. Two rows of about eight drops. Then she takes a pin and pricks your skin under the drops (new pin for each drop). Some of the samples include mold, dust, pollen, dust mites, cat allergins, dog allergins, yeast, etc. The procedure takes about 30min. She then leaves the room for about 15min, at which time she comes back to check on you.

She then says "Holy Cow, you're whole arm is swollen! I can't even tell where the placebo was!". At that point, you're in tears agonizing over the pain in your arm and wanting really bad to just not be awake (remember, this is only halfway through). Then you just about faint when she tells you she has to give you actual injections of the next allergens (grass and tree pollen) on the other arm. That test goes more or less the same and you're now ready to get violent, only your major weapons (your arms) are pretty useless now. She gives you a very strong prescription for the next to days and the doc prescribes Allegra D which turns out to be just as useless as Zyrtec, Claritin, Flonase, etc. It takes about a week and a half for swelling to go away entirely and about two more weeks for scabs from punctures to completely heal.

OK, so it may not go EXACTLY like that for everyone, but you get my point.

Anyway, I've always been terribly allergic to cats. As soon as I enter a house with cats, I get congested, itchy and my chest gets tight. A friends cat scratched me (playfully) and my arm got inflamed.

Needless to say, I'm the last person to own a cat, right? Well, not really. My allergist said that shots might help and I'm too damn stubborn to listen to reason, so I went to a lady who had siamese kittens, with the full expectation that I would bring one home and begin getting allergy shots. Well, I went into her basement where she kept the kittens in a cage (she was a horrible BYB, but thats neither here nor there) The mama cat and big brother cat were free to roam the basement. My allergies kicked in immediately, but a cute little kitten climbed into my purse and demanded that I take him home. Duke (who still likes to sleep in my purse) has been with us for six months now and I have not had one single allergic reaction to him... Ever! I visit the pet department at Petsmart, and I'm still allergic to the cats there. It just goes to show that Duke and I were meant to be!

Now, this whole blathering of mine is not meant to encourage you to go and get a cat. Especially if you can't afford shots, given the possibility that you may be allergic to the cat. Its more to show that its NOT totally true that if you're allergic to one cat, you're allergic to them all.

But to be a little rational here, I should also add that cats like the siamese have shorter hair and lack a 'down' coat like most other cats. They don't have to groom themselves as much as other cats either, and so it may be that they produce less of the allergen that makes us react so badly. I'm getting a bengal cat soon as well. Same story with their coats.*crosses fingers*

Also, I should add that I don't take any allergy medications, we have carpet in our main room, I don't vacuum a lot, and we only change the sheets once a week. In fact, its not until I DO vacuum that I start sneezing and breaking out. I do believe that Duke and I got lucky

post #44 of 73
If it makes any sense ...lol... going to the chrioprctor has almost eliminated my "allergies" and has helped my restance ( a nice thing with an immune disorder that all the dr s thought was allergies)
post #45 of 73
I take Singulair for my asthma and have since long before it was an allergy med. I have to say, when they started calling it an allergy med as well I was totally surprised because it doesn't do anything for my allergies. I think it's really only for hay fever.

It's really interesting to research your allergies. It usually turns out that you are allergic to one (or maybe in your case more than one) "family" of things. Like I'm allergic to several fruits and vegetables, plus cats, and turns out that most people who are allergic to any one of those things are usually allergic to all of them too.
post #46 of 73
I've read an article about a year ago regarding a candy made out of the extract of Japanese Horsetail (I think). Supposedly although it had extremely variable effects, it always got rid of allergies, and the "treatment" worked anywhere from 30 min, to a day or more. If this "wonder candy" is truly as effective as they say it is, might be worth a shot.

Might be a little tough to come by, but if you can get a homeopathic, or natural remedy instead of a man-made drug, I think it might be the best (don't have to worry about over dose, etc, just take as needed basically).
post #47 of 73
Thread Starter 
With my severe allergies, has anyone had a problem of not being able to breath at all? I'd hope they have antihistamines there just in case I have a severe reaction to something.
post #48 of 73
Thread Starter 
I just had my first experience being in the emergency room with possible (most likely) allergies.

Last evening, I started having problems breathing and talking. I decided to go to the urgent care nearby to have them check it out. Well, guess what... the uregnt care (AKA the doctors office) closes at 6, and it was only about 6:30.

By that time, I found it very hard to breath, so I went to the fire station which was very close. They hooked me up to an inhaler which helped me breath and took me to the nearest open hospital by ambulance. I got in to the hospital and was almost immediately treated (as it is high up the chain and is life-threatening). The cool part was that I didn't have to fill out any paperwork until it was treated - that would have been worse in urgent care, filling out several pieces of paper not being able to breath.

The doctor determined that it was not pneumonia or a chest cold, but most likely an allergic reaction to something. I don't take antihistamines all the time since I am usually not around any allergens, so that could be the problem.

They put an IV in me and kept injecting me with things, including Benadryl. Finally, after a little more than an hour, it was doing good and I could talk fine again. They kept me there for a few more hours to make sure it wasn't going to happen again. After that, they figured it wouldn't happen again and released me. They prescribed a needle with a medication and told me, if it ever happens again, to have someone inject me with it and call 911 immediately since the medication is not very strong and only lasts about 15 minutes.

They told me to schedule an appointment with my regular doctor who would tell me if I need to see an allergist to determine what it is that caused the raction.
post #49 of 73
Thread Starter 
My regular doctor said it's most likely not a food allergy or a medication allergy, but rather an environmental change, such as the candle I lit yesterday. I am going to follow up with him on Tuesday with another appointment.t
post #50 of 73
if you can't breathe, it's called anaphylaxis. My husband is allergic to flea bites and will go into shock. You need to go as soon as possible and get tested for everything. It's just a prick under the skin and very very diluted and they will tell you what you are allergic to.
Whatever causes you to have that severe of a reaction, you need to get rid of and avoid and you need to carry an epipen and an emergency pack of meds that include steroids, benadryl, anti nausea meds. (i think i forgot something in there)
The allergist will of course have something in case something happens to you there.
Usually, the more you are exposed to what triggers you, the severe the reaction will be.

My husband has had 3 flea bites while we've been married and each time it got worse. You need to go the hospital if it's that bad, people die from anaphylaxis.

My husband is allergic to dust and dander and pollen and mold. He had shots and they helped tremendously. Look at us, we have 4 cats

The only meds that worked to keep his allergies under control was allegra. Everything makes him sleepy and claritin stopped working after a while.

ps: that needle they prescribed is probably an epipen and you can self administer that yourself but you need to know how to use it. Please go to the website http://www.epipen.com/Default.aspx and watch the video. Even after using it, you have to go to the ER. Bring the needle (put it back in the container) and let them know you did it.

I can't stress enough how important it is for you to go see an allergist and get yourself an emergency kit to be carried at all times. It could save your life.
post #51 of 73
Thread Starter 
The hospital prescribed me an EpiPen and told me that if I had another reaction to inject it and call 911 immediately. The EpiPen only lasts about 15 minutes, according to the doctor, so the paramedics are supposed to inject more in me.

My hospital papers did say it was anaphylaxis - which included swelling of my tongue and my face. I just read that it can be fatal within minutes - pretty scary. Thanks for the link!

The good thing about going to the ER via the ambulance is that they get it under control first and then make you sign the papers when you're able to do so (when I went in I don't think I could have signed anything). Urgent care makes you sign about 10 minutes worth of papers before going into the room.

My regular doctor also said that he is going to prescribe me several more EpiPens on my next appointment so that I can keep one everywhere. I now carry the 1 EpiPen I've got with me everywhere I go.


post #52 of 73
The epipen doesnt last 15 minutes and they don't necessarily have to give you more. I'm not sure what doctor you are seeing but i would think about switching for giving you wrong information.
You *might* need more but it's not necessarily a definite.
If you are not well enough to sign, someone else can sign or if it's life treatening they will just get oral consent or do it.

You also don't need to call 911, it depends on what's going on. If you are collapsing and can't breathe and you have no one to take you, call an ambulance. If you use the epipen, you should feel better and you can just head to the ER. I took my husband twice to the ER after he used his epipen and all they do is monitor to make sure the anaphylaxis is over and prescribe steroids.

If you go to urgent care and they start making you sign papers, tell them you can't breathe... they take that very seriously.

Having been through my husband and 3 anaphylaxis reactions with him, I can answer a bunch of questions if you have any but the first thing is to find out what caused your allergic reaction.
post #53 of 73
Thread Starter 
That's good to know. The doctor at the ER told me it would only last 10-15 minutes, I guess it's wrong. Even if it did last 10-15 minutes, it's enough time to get to the hospital to get more if I need it.

My regular doctor told me that he doesn't think it was a food or medication that caused it (although on both days I was taking a new medication, but that doctor is going to switch that med for something else), but rather something such as the candle I lit or possibly aerosol sprays.

I'm wondering if it could be some sort of bite possibly. Although I can't feel anything, that doesn't mean anything. I'll check myself over for any kind of strange bite.

post #54 of 73
Thread Starter 
It is also of note that on Wednesday night, the night before I had the shock, I was out of breath. I went to sleep and assumed it was a chest cold coming on. And then, the next day, this happened. Is it usual to have a "mini-shock" the night before?
post #55 of 73
i'm not sure about that, my husband just went straight into shock after he got bit. He used the epipen on himself, I don't do well with needles but if he couldn't have done it, i would have had to.

The 10-15 minutes, i think the doctor meant if you needed more, that's when they would administer more.

Peanuts and bee allergies are anaphalyxis shock and you know how fast those can go bad.

Do you have an appointment for an allergist? I've never heard of scents triggering allergic reactions but then again most people have never heard of anaphylaxis due to flea bites either..not even the allergist until my husband came along.

The first time my husband had a reaction, it took hours for it to get to the point of needed the ER. I was at work and he hadn't told me he wasn't feeling well. By the time I got home, he was covered in hives and they were appearing before my eyes and he couldn't breathe. The next few times, it didn't take long at all. Within an hour, he was in shock.

When we got to the ER, all they did was watch him since he had already had the injection and the pills. If you don't have an emergency case, they will give you the benadryl, anti nausea, steroids. My husband also has liquid steroids in case. If your throat swells up, you can't swallow pills so liquid form was better. The anti nausea he has is a compound that he can just put on his wrist and it gets absorbed in his system but you usually have to get that from a compound pharmacy with a prescription.
post #56 of 73
Thread Starter 
I have a follow-up appt. with my regular doctor on Tuesday, and he is going to give me a referral hopefully. If not, I'll look around for one myself.
post #57 of 73
Thread Starter 
I'll ask my doctor about liquid steroids. At the ER I believe they injected the steroids through the IV, or maybe they injected it via an individual shot - I'm not sure. I know it was an injection though.
post #58 of 73
Good luck with everything, i know how scary it is!
post #59 of 73
Thread Starter 
Thanks Rosey!

Also, I couldn't find any kind of bites on my body. I'm thinking it was the candle since it was the only environmental change at that time. However I am seeing an allergist before I can say anything for 100%. I'm also going to hold off of common allergens (i.e. chocolate or soymilk/soy products).

Is an allergist able to do a food allergy test? It would be good to know if I am allergic to soy products since I am trying to become vegeterian (and I have to hold off now since most vegeterian products are made from soybeans).
post #60 of 73
I'm not sure for food allergies but I found a site that explains that usually they try elimination diet first and then do a scratch test for food.

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