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Old 08-14-2007, 10:17 PM   #1
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Allergic To Cats???!

I am a college student and have lived in the same house my whole life. I smoked cigarettes for two years and have now quit. I've also had cats my whole life. For the last 6 or 7 years (after our cats had a lice problem) my mom has not allowed them upstairs for long periods of time. They live in the basement. so I was never around them or their dander for prolonged periods of time for as long as I could remember.

The summer before I left for my freshman year I felt I would do them a favor and bring all their things into my bedroom and keep them in there. I never experienced any problems. At the end of August they went back into the basement, and I went off to school. The following summer I did not give them refuge in my bedroom, and returned for my sophomore year.
...It is now the present summer and I've been home since the beginning of May. On May 31st I moved my cats into my bedroom. They are 13 years old and you can even see the dry skin on their fur, so they are dander machines. On June 9th I went to a wedding, got drunk, and smoked a pack of cigarettes after having quit for 2 months. (ooooops) and developed a cough. I guessed this cough was from the cigarettes but unfortunately it is STILL with me along with never ending post nasal drip which began a few days after the cough did. Its clear and thin most of the time but sometimes there's yellow in it. Every morning I do cough and as soon as I get up a glob or two of mucous (probably from the post nasal drip) I'm better, and the only cough I have for the remainder of the day is in order to clear my throat, OR when I'm around cigarette smoke (which is maybe 2 or 3 times a week) my throat gets very irritated. I have not smoked since that wedding. My eyes had been dry a lot and in July I began to officially notice that they were always mildly bloodshot and itchy. As well as my nose and throat sometimes. I also sneeze, but not excessively.

So here's the thing. I've been to my family doctor 3 times. I've been on two separate antibiotics because he said there was "pus" behind my nose so he thought it was a sinus infection. I asked him if he thought I had an allergy and he said my throat did not suggest the typically allergic throat (white lining of the throat?) sooo both times while on the antibiotics I didnt seem to improve, at all.
So, I decided to go to an ear nose and throat specialist who ct-scanned my sinuses. He told me that my sinuses are clear! Yet I still have these symptoms.
He has given me nasacort to take once daily and referred me to an allergist for a skin allergy test which unfortunately won't happen for another week.

The main thing that frightens me is sometimes when I cough OUT I can hear a little tiny wheeze when I position my throat the right way. this also happens when I laugh a certain way (like, a strained laugh forcing the air out when my chin is bent toward my neck) I did have acid reflux which pepcid took care of, I havent had a chest xray nor do the docs think the cough has anything to do with my chest, but the little wheeze which has happened only maybe 3 times is very frightening because, well, let's face it I'm a paranoid person. I immediately worry that I have some deadly lung disease that no one will catch before it's too late. My mom is a nurse and she told me its probably just a strand of post nasal drip vibrating... but I still get scared.

I've removed the cats from my room, regrettably putting them back downstairs (but I built them a fun little playhouse because I love them and I'm still going to play with them even if it does turn out I'm allergic).. and vacuumed as much of my room as I could. I moved my bed and vacuumed under there (I had to empty the vacuumed like 3 times because of all the hair and dust) and I had been sleeping on our pullout in the living room, taking my nasacort, and trying to avoid mycats... =(
I feel like my symptoms have actually improved! But this could so easily be in my head.

I spent the night at my boyfriends last night and he doesn't have any pets. I woke up and coughed up the usual stuff when I brushed my teeth but I felt GOOD and I realized what not being itchy feels like and I noticed a great difference in the amount of coughing I've done today.

ALL the signs probably point to me being allergic to my cats except for a few things...
I have lived with cats my whole life in my house. Ive had contact with cats almost every day until I went to college.
Now, I've heard of college students going away from home and suddenly developing an allergy to their cat or dog which they've been away from for so long. Could this REALLY happen? Has this happened to ANYBODY out there or anybody who anybody knows?Has anybody ever read about this? Do my symptoms sound like an allergy?

I'll know officially on Wednesday! Til then... let me know what y'all think...

 
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Old 08-14-2007, 11:07 PM   #2
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Re: Allergic To Cats???!

5han,

I too wouold hate to think that you were allergc to cats! I can't imagine my life without at least one running around.

Yes, you can develop a sudden allergy to something that you've been around all your life. But there are other things besides cats that will bring on allergic symptoms. Your bedding may have down or feathers. When was the last time you washed your pillows - they could be full of mold or dust mites? Is your mother using a new washing powder/liquid/softener since the last time you were home? Are you using a new shampoo or soap? Perfumes in all these products can cause lots of problems for lots of people.

I really hope you find out that it's something simple that can be easily changed, and that you don't have to give up snuggling your cats.

--Rheanna

 
Old 08-14-2007, 11:31 PM   #3
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Re: Allergic To Cats???!

Thanks for answering so quickly! and when I DO get the results of my tests a week from now I'll make sure I post.
Let's see... I have nothing made of down, and I did wash my pillows recently because I thought it could be dust or something in them... it made them fluffier but really made no difference in the symptoms. I have all freshly washed sheets on my bed. My mom MIGHT be using a different detergent and I use a type of herbal essences which I did switch to this summer. I'm clueless. There are probably SO many things it could be and it seems like since I spent the night out, I got 50% better in less than 24 hours. I know when I move into my college apartment and start spending week after week there it'll probably disappear because I'm that sure I'm allergic to something in my house. If it turns out not to be my cats I'll be so ecstatic. I'll be so sad if it is them though... but it won't stop me from spending time with them for the remainder of their lives. I can suffer a little bit in order to love them. It will prevent me from ever getting another one though.

 
Old 08-15-2007, 01:26 AM   #4
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Re: Allergic To Cats???!

5han,

Do let us know. If it does turn out to be the cats (boo-hoo), people have said that they have been able to have limited contact, so it may be that you can still see them - just not sleep with them. I try to remember to tell visitors that I live with a cat, so if they have allergies I can keep the cat in another room during the visit, but the cat hair will be everywhere no matter how much I vaccuum. I have had visitors say "thanks for the warning" and they take antihystamines to keep down the symptoms while they are visiting.

Good luck,

Rheanna

 
Old 08-15-2007, 10:32 AM   #5
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Re: Allergic To Cats???!

Cat fur is not the thing that gives you allergies. It is the little flakes of dander on their skin.

There are these wipes that you can wipe them down with that supposedly moisturizes their skin so the skin won't flake. Also, I used to give my cats vitamin E (gelcaps) just squeeze out the liquid and mix it in with their food (about 200 ml/IU or whatever the measurement is-- a few times a week).

 
Old 08-15-2007, 06:22 PM   #6
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Re: Allergic To Cats???!

Ive also had a cold sore which goes away and comes back ever since I started taking the nasacort... which is immunosuppressive... and i think that's probably why I got a cold sore? grr. I used to get them a lot when I was little so I have probably had the virus in my blood for a long time. I hope I can't give it to my boyfriend...

 
Old 08-18-2007, 01:45 PM   #7
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Re: Allergic To Cats???!

Hi,
Several years ago I was diagnosed as having a cat allergy....I told dr he needed to do something because my cat Bud is my baby and I was not going to give him up, I had had him for 6 years and loved all cats very much.

The Dr give me shots for about 7 mo there was more shots to go but they were making my eyes itch so I decided to stop them on my own.
They must have worked...I sleep with my Bud everynight sometimes right under my chin.

So ask about shots and love your cats!!!

 
Old 08-18-2007, 09:12 PM   #8
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Re: Allergic To Cats???!

thanks dear!!! i'd love to keep loving them. I love sleeping with them. The most affectionate one curls up right at the back of my neck every night... Probably why I have such a bad reaction! haha

Listen, Ive always noticed this but always thought it was normal, but when I get scratched by a cat my scratches puff up and itch, and today one of them scratched me again and I paid very close attention to what happened-- itching, puffiness, and red blotching around the scratches until I washed it with soap and water. I think this confirms the allergy? We'll see after my skin scratch allergy test on Wednesday anyway. I'm excited to see what I'm allergic to.... and I'm a nerd for that.

 
Old 08-20-2007, 08:02 AM   #9
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Re: Allergic To Cats???!

hopefully the results pan out well.. but to let you know I'm allergic to cats and live with 3 of them, so it IS possible to cohabitate.. it just takes lots of cleaning, good air filters and a daily Allegra! =)

 
Old 08-20-2007, 08:10 AM   #10
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Re: Allergic To Cats???!

If you also have asthma, there is an injection available that enabled me not just to put up with my cat allergy ( score? 99/100) but rendered it gone. It is called Zolaire and wow...

Unfortunately, I had to put my cat ( hairless at that) to sleep so I no longer take the injection. And since she has left us, I am allergy free. I still miss her though and would love another. But the price of the medication is greater than my need for feline company!

 
Old 08-20-2007, 03:27 PM   #11
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Re: Allergic To Cats???!

aww! so sad about your cat. That sounds like an amazing injection. I don't think I am asthmatic as I never had any trouble breathing or closing of my windpipes. I just have to pause and catch my breath after all the coughing.

 
Old 08-20-2007, 03:28 PM   #12
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5han HB User
Re: Allergic To Cats???!

I mean I thought I COULD be asthmatic but now that I think about it it's probably not an issue. Thanks everyone for all the replies by the way =D

 
Old 08-22-2007, 03:39 PM   #13
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Re: Allergic To Cats???!

so I just thought I'd tell this story-- because, I'm a little bored.

I went today to the allergist for my allergy test! But it never happened, BECAUSE, I've recently come down with this terrible cold or flu. I don't know what it is but it's knocked me right on my butt. (Its been very rainy and cold here for days so that doesn't help either.) Since Monday I've just been WAY more tired than usual, and I have had this constant lightheaded/heavy headed roller coaster or elevator feeling, and building congestion. Right now I have a headache coming on too from the pressue. Last night I took Aleve- Cold and Sinus for this problem, and it did alleviate my symptoms somewhat... gave me a runny nose so I was at least draining. When I told the allergist I took the medication because I wasn't feeling well, she decided against testing me for allergies because my immune system is already weakened due to me being sick. Then, she VERY kindly got me in to see the ENT in the building within 5 minutes. He looked at my nose, told me I am "definitely congested"... looked at my throat and told me it was red. I'm also all achy and having like fluctuation between being too hot, and having chills. I haven't been this sick for a long time, and if it wasn't for the lightheaded/dizzy feeling, and the tiredness, I wouldn't have even known I was sick because I am just so used to post nasal drip, coughing, and being stuffed up from my allergies! So yeah. I'm pretty much miserable.. still don't know what I'm allergic to, and won't know until I feel better. Ugh. I'm just having horrible pressure all throughout my sinuses. And I'll probably throw up before this is all over because of the constant whooziness. What a summer.

 
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