October 17, 2010,
M.B. asks from Marysville, WA on July 20, 2010
23-Month Old Son Allergic to Cats and Dogs
I just found out this morning that our son is allergic to cats and dogs, and we have 4 cats and 1 dog. The nurse at the specialist's office says that they don't tell people to get rid of their pets, but the doctor did say that it would be best for him if we did get rid of them. He says that people who are allergic to animals have a 38% chance of getting asthma and since his dad has had asthma all his life, his risks increase. My husband is a huge animal lover, and we've had arguments about the cats ever since our baby was born. I've been feeling like they were a nuisance and cost us too much money. Now I feel kind of guilty and am afraid my husband will throw it back in my face. I'm so sad because I want our baby to enjoy animals, and now his exposure has to be limited. If we keep the animals, it means taking out the carpet in the back room where they stay, constantly cleaning the house, washing his hands and changing clothes a lot, etc. I thought we could just keep the dog, but the doctor says it doesn't matter. Even if we do get rid of all the animals, they say that it can take 2-5 years to get all of the dander out of the house. Has anybody else gone through this and what did you do? I really dread telling my husband this...
J.P. answers from Boise on July 20, 2010
It is hard not knowing how allergic your son is. I am allergic to both cats and dogs and have had them my whole life. If I am away for any amount of time, and come back, I have reactions, but after about 3 days, I am good again. My husband was the same way. He never had a cat before we met and was allergic to them, but he now has no problem. I think that growing up with animals is a great thing, but your son is the priority. If there is anyway to make it all work together, that would be great.
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S.B. answers from Dallas on July 20, 2010
We found out my son was allergic to dogs and cats last year at the same age as your son. he also has several food allergies but his worst allergy was dogs. One of our dogs had just passed away and I seriously cried when the pedi told me he was allergic to dogs - my dog is my other baby! BUT - that being said - there is a lot you can do to make your house safer for your son. We have increased our vacuuming, we try to keep the dog out of his bedroom, we bought Allerpet spray that you can spray on the pets to neutralize their dander, and got an air purifier for his room. All of this has helped immensely - and we have been able to keep our dog. So before you have to give the pets away - you could try some of these things out and see if they will help. Good luck - hope it all waorks out OK!
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S.H. answers from Dallas on July 20, 2010
I had allergies to dogs and cats growing up and my mom had to do extra cleaning so we could keep them. we had special air filters and i chose to continue allergy shots to keep them. now I have my own 2 cats and one dog. my allergies have gotton better and I do not take the shots anymore. I would never forgive my parents if they got rid of part of our family. you made a commitment to the animals you took into your house. so if it means extra cleaning then so be it. what kind of lesson would it be to a child to teach them that if you have to put out extra time and money for something you promised to love then it is better to just dump them. I know you want to do what is best for your son but it is better for him to grow up with animals. It helped with my allergies.
N.W. answers from Eugene on July 21, 2010
In my house, I'm allergic and my daughter had asthma but my kids wanted the cats. Here's how we manage it. Our cats are indoor only, so they don't track in more allergens from outside. They get a bath once a week. They get wiped down in-between with a washcloth and some spray product we found at the pet store. We vaccuum twice a week. We use masking tape and lint brush to get the hair off our clothes. We also have a cat gate made from plywood and self-closing hinges from home depot. It fits across our stairs so the cats stay downstairs where we have hardwood/tile floors. No cats on the carpet or in bedrooms. Our doctor said that keeping the bedrooms allergen free has the biggest impact, since we are closed up in that room for a third of our lives and being in a clean environment 8 hours a day gives your immune system a rest. Something like that. Anyway, our bedrooms have minimal furniture and an air filtering system. Even so, I still find puffs of cat hair floating around and up the stairs, and I have to wash my hands after petting any animal. But for us it's worth it because we love our cats and will probably always have them.
T.P. answers from Portland on July 21, 2010
My daughter was diagnosed with asthma when she was 2 yo. We also have 2 cats, bengals with short hair and almost never shading. We noticed shortly after she start the treatments with steroids that she's getting worse when around cats. She had an asthma attack when she was over night at grandma, who HAD a long haired cat. Now I'm kind of thinking that maybe she actually was allergic to animals even before she had asthma, we just didn't notice. My both cats are only outdoor now and I see a huge improvement in her breathing. We continue with the inhalers as a preventive measure. If i were you I would not let my child around cats and dogs starting "yesterday". You don't want to see your child suffer. When my daughter had her allergen tests done it came negative for animals, but i know what I see. It will take a few months to a year to get rid of the hair, maybe more... We have Dyson, and my MIL had to replace all her carpets. We are going to move next year in a new home and I hope we'll be able to stop the inhalers. Please get rid of the animals before you start regretting. My daughter is 3 and she comes and tells me that she played with the cat and now she needs medication because she cannot breath, it brakes my heart.
R.S. answers from Portland on July 21, 2010
Personally I would value the health of my son over having pets. I'm allergic to cats, dogs, & bunnies and wouldn't as an adult want to live in a house with something that made me sick. I have asthma when in a house with cats for more than 20 minutes.
Find good homes for the animals and throughly clean your house. I would take out the carpets too. You can enjoy animals from afar.
H.S. answers from Anchorage on July 21, 2010
Well I would try one last thing - if it works for you, than you can keep the dogs/cats, it if does not work, than you need to get rid of them for the sake of your child. This is your 'last thing' to try - it sounds nutty to those unfamiliar with this technique, but we tried it and it worked. Google: muscle testing for allergies - you will find a ton of articles on this. Then find someone in your town who will do this, there are NO harmful medicines or injections - nothing of the sort, but this does work for allergies and many other things (like food addictions, etc.) Here I have one link I just found:
M.R. answers from Kansas City on July 20, 2010
Maybe your husband could come to a followup appointment with the allergist and let the doctor break it to him?