You love cats but your sinuses hate them. Your skin probably hates them, too. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be around cats or even have one yourself. You may never get rid of your cat allergies but you can manage them. So put away your tissues and say “Here, kitty kitty.”
Visit an allergist to confirm you have cat allergies, if you continue to be around cats. An allergist will conduct blood and skin tests to confirm your pet allergies. Once diagnosed, he can tell the severity and decide on a course of treatment with you.
Take an over-the-counter antihistamine. If you reaction is mild and not asthma-inducing, you may be able to manage your allergy through medication. This may be a good treatment if you don’t live with a cat but are around them occasionally. Take the antihistamines hours before your exposure to the kitties. If these are not strong enough for you or you live with a cat, this may not be your best option.
Get allergy shots. If you really love your cat and want to make this work, a quick shot weekly can be worth it. Shots will expose you to the allergen to desensitize you to the cat allergen. Also, you probably won’t have to take shots forever. After a course of treatment, which can last a few years, you may just get rid of that allergy after all.
Don’t let your sleepy kitty snooze in your bedroom. Think about it: If he sleeps on your bed, his dander is all over it, and that’s what makes you allergic. Close your bedroom door when you’re not home and take away his run of the house. If he’s not in the room, neither is his dander.
Get rid of carpet. This may be a big expense, but you want to keep your cat and not suffer, right? Buy some attractive throw rugs and runners that you can often throw in the washer. Also, clean your house religiously and use HEPA filters in your vacuum. Investing in a HEPA-filtered air cleaner will help, too.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Francine Richards is a licensed multi-state insurance agent with years of human resources and insurance industry experience. Her work has appeared on Blue Cross Blue Shield websites and newsletters, the Houston Chronicle and The Nest. Richards holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Maryland.