by Doris Donnerman
(last updated November 14, 2011)
My brother and sister are allergic to cats. We discovered this a really long time ago when my sister came home from a friend's house with a rash, a runny nose, a congested nose, puffy eyes, and an itchy face. That definitely screamed allergy to us. My brother exhibited those same symptoms not too long after that. So, my brother and sister are allergic to cats. When they went to the allergy doctor, however, we definitely learned something new. Their allergies were not based on the fur, but on something else, as are all other animal allergies.
The dander, saliva, and urine particles that come off your pet are what give you those bad allergic reactions. These particles enter your windpipe and can eventually land in your lungs, triggering other reactions that may or may not be allergy related. With a pet, that dander and other airborne particles are just a part of the package, and if the effects are too negative for you, then you should look into giving your pet away so it doesn't pose a threat to your health.
If you're bent on keeping your pet, then there are a couple of avenues open to you. You should probably talk with your doctor and vet and see what you can compromise. If you allergies are minor, then a prescription or even an over-the-counter drug may be able to do the trick for you. I know my sister gets allergy shots, which allow her to better deal with her allergies; however, her allergies are still severe enough so that she can't spend too much time around cats, or else her allergies get really bad and the effects can last for a few days.
If you own a pet, and you or someone in your family develops allergies, then you do need to figure some stuff out. You do need to be aware, however, that if your allergies pose a significant problem to your health, then you should give your pet away. Consult with your vet and doctor, and see if there's any logical and feasible compromise, but you always need to make your own health a priority. If you having a pet is hindering your own effort at maintaining your health, then something needs to be done. No pet is precious enough for it to be a serious health risk.
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