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A question to all those with allergies and asthma

ancientgirl
March 6th, 2008, 10:07 AM
As some of you know, I have allergies to my cats and just recently developed asthma because of this. I'm doing well, I take my allergy medication daily and my asthma medication. The last couple of weeks, I've had a very stuffy nose and been sneezing. My boss asked me if I was okay and I told him that it was just partly allergies and also partly the constantly changing weather down here in Florida.

He then told me that even though he knows I'm not getting rid of my cats, it's not healthy for me to live like this. That eventually it will take a toll on my health blah blah blah.

I don't feel "ill". Yes, the constantly stuffy nose is annoying but like I said, I know a lot of it has to do with the weather. I can deal with taking the medication. I've added Zyrtec along with the Singulair, and it works well in combination with it. And if I take my puff in the morning from my inhaler I'm good, and I've also got my rescue inhaler. All in all, it's not bad.

My question is, I know some of you also suffer from this too and have for longer than me. Do you guys feel like you are getting worse? Do you feel that you are able to control and keep your illness to a comfortable level? How long have you been allergic and asthmatic and lived with pets?

My babies aren't going anywhere, I'm just curious because I know I'm not the only person in the world living this way. I get tired of hearing this from people, I really do. I know they say these things with the best of intentions because these are people that care about me, but they don't realize it does me more harm than having them not say anything. I constantly feel like telling everyone, "You say you love me and care about me yet you prefer I not live with my beloved pets who have brought me incredible joy and happiness."

Recently I was out with my best friend, and I was sneezing. She turned to me and said "Do you know why you've developed asthma?" I told her yes I was aware of it, and can you believe she said "Darn, I was hoping I'd be able to rag on you about it." :confused: I stopped, looked at her and just said "Gee, I'm sorry I ruined it for you. I know you really wanted to make me feel like crap." She realized her insensitivity and apologized, but still she thought about it. I don't get why people feel the need to always want to make me feel bad about my living with my cats.

At the end of the day, I come home to four little warm bodies wanting nothing more than to see me and be with me. I can't say the same for those who are always telling me to get rid of my babies. Maybe they're jealous, maybe they think I'm crazy, whatever. I'm getting to where I'm not letting it affect me like before, which is good. Soon I'll be at the point where I can just tell them to stick their good intentions where the sun doesn't shine and leave me alone about it. I thank the lord for my brother and father, they are actually the only two that have never once even so much as lectured me about anything having to do with the cats.

Anyway, I digress. I just wanted to know how you all handle your health.:D

BMDLuver
March 6th, 2008, 10:22 AM
I've had a cat since I was 3. I worked with horses and now with dogs. I'm allergic to cats, dogs, horses, birds, rodents... basically anything with feather or fur. I also have environmental allergies etc.. I can't remember a time when I was able to breathe properly through my nose. I have an emergency pump and a super emergency pump to combat bad days. Weather changes I find the hardest. Would I give it all up, nope... I do much better being exposed to the allergy daily than removing myself from it. I was away at university, would come home for holidays and have to head in to the hospital by day two for oxygen and a broncho dialator inhaler treatment. I love animals so life without them would be incomplete.. I've had xrays over the years to make sure that my lungs are in good shape. Never a problem to date with that. Don't know if that helps you or not but you sure aren't alone out there! :grouphug:

ancientgirl
March 6th, 2008, 10:37 AM
It does help a little. When you have x-rays of your lungs what do they look for? For the most part my breathing is fine since I started using the morning inhaler.

BMDLuver
March 6th, 2008, 10:49 AM
It does help a little. When you have x-rays of your lungs what do they look for? For the most part my breathing is fine since I started using the morning inhaler.

Basically for discoloration or any changes or abnormalities. As I"ve been like this for almost 42 years as I age they need to keep a better eye on things. :o

ancientgirl
March 6th, 2008, 10:57 AM
Okay, that makes sense. Thanks!

I know it's hard for people who aren't really "animal" people to understand why we put ourselves through this. But I can't imagine not being able to experience the joy of coming home to my little ones.

I denied myself having the company of a pet for so long, and years ago gave one up because I just didn't know there were things that could help.

krdahmer
March 6th, 2008, 11:32 AM
I was diagnosed officially with asthma at age 2, but most likely suffered from it since birth. Allergies about the same, given my family history with allergies and asthma neither were a shock to my parents. So the only pets I had growing up were fish and a rabbit that lived in a condo outside. The only time I had some natural relief was when I was in highschool and lost over 70 lbs, I no longer needed any meds for either, of course I also had no pets at the time. Other than that short period of time, I have been on every medication for both that you can imagine. I got my first cat at 21, and can't believe how much I was missing out on! At first is was hell on my allergies and breathing and I had quite a few emergency trips, but I'm stubborn and wasn't gonna let that deter me from enjoying my new little kitten. It took about 5 years from there to find a med combo that worked (like you, I take singulair, and inhaler, advair, and rescue inhaler in purse for emergencies- which I have not had in over 2 years now). I still have problems when I go to someone else's house who has pets, but in my own home with my cleaning regime and the tollerance I believe I have built up to their individual dander, I have a pretty normal go of it... (I still have a deviated septum so I have to wear breathe right strips at night, but that I'd have with or without the kitties)... and of course I get weepy and red when I get fur in my eyes... but then who doesn't?

My goal is to once again lose a large amount of weight, this time for good so that I can lessen or get rid of all these meds, but if I don't it's not the end of the world... I am happy to trade a few pills and puffs for the years of joy these kitties bring to me. And people do make comments to me about my health, especially family who know how much I suffered when I was a child, but the ones that meet the cats, suddenly have no more to say on the subject. It's almost like they understand immediately why I do it. I can tell you from experience that losing a little weight, even if it's just an extra 10 lbs you're carrying can make a big difference to your asthma. I've lost 40 over the past two years and have cut my puffs in half already. (I try to take the least possible meds to maintain a normal level of function.)

I too get my lungs xrayed now and then, usually when I am having trouble or sick (been a long time now since I've had to... around the time I added cat 4 and took in all the kittens). And I see my doctor regularly for all my health issues, so everything is closely monitored. I wheeze most days, and cough up phlem a lot, but never to the point where it keeps me from doing anything. Just the price I pay for having these beautiful creatures.

And really they're our lives, if we want to spend them sneezing, coughing and wheezing to enjoy the company of our beloved pets... what business is it of anyone else! (especially those that don't even have pets!)

Oh and I read a study that said that women who avoid pets and allergens when pregnant are more likely to have a child with asthma and allergies. (My mom did this thinking it would help me to not inherit the asthma and allergies... who knew!)

ancientgirl
March 6th, 2008, 12:01 PM
I believe I have built up to their individual dander, I have a pretty normal go of it... (I still have a deviated septum so I have to wear breathe right strips at night, but that I'd have with or without the kitties)... and of course I get weepy and red when I get fur in my eyes... but then who doesn't?

I think I've grown used to them too. I had a few bad days when I got Maks and Kiska, but now I'm fine. And yes, the fur does bother my eyes, but as you said, it does most people.

I can tell you from experience that losing a little weight, even if it's just an extra 10 lbs you're carrying can make a big difference to your asthma. I've lost 40 over the past two years and have cut my puffs in half already. (I try to take the least possible meds to maintain a normal level of function.)

I too get my lungs xrayed now and then, usually when I am having trouble or sick (been a long time now since I've had to... around the time I added cat 4 and took in all the kittens). And I see my doctor regularly for all my health issues, so everything is closely monitored. I wheeze most days, and cough up phlem a lot, but never to the point where it keeps me from doing anything. Just the price I pay for having these beautiful creatures.

And really they're our lives, if we want to spend them sneezing, coughing and wheezing to enjoy the company of our beloved pets... what business is it of anyone else! (especially those that don't even have pets!)

Oh and I read a study that said that women who avoid pets and allergens when pregnant are more likely to have a child with asthma and allergies. (My mom did this thinking it would help me to not inherit the asthma and allergies... who knew!)

I'm trying to lose weight too. I know I'm heavier than I was when I first got Vlad and Oksana, and I wasn't near as bad then. I was wondering if losing some weight would help my asthma in general, so what you said answered that question. I get the phlegm in the morning too but not all the time. The thing is, I'm actually more stuffy and sneeze more when I get to work! Maybe I'm just allergic to my job :D

onster
March 6th, 2008, 01:12 PM
*onster puts her hands up*

Ive had allergies as far as I can remember, but the asthma only really started when i got hazel, tho there were signs of it before...but nothing a few deep calming breaths wouldnt take away.

So far Ive had 2 visits to the ER for emergency masks..not fun.

In terms of it getting worse, no not really. I got used to my cats (its bad all over again with new ones) and I do have my inhaler...I only take that 'when needed' (sometimes every day...sometimes once a month).

For me I find that weather is the biggest factor that triggers wheezing, phlegm etc. If its reallly cold or reallly wet I wheeze pretty badly :shrug:

As for nasal congestion...people who hear my voice when im not congested think Im sick :laughing:. Ive gotten used to it, doesnt bother me at all anymore....dont even bother with claritin/anything. Guess I have a mild case? :shrug: I also know my limit though...we have a fairly big house (2 floors + basement) and a 2nd cat nearly killed me. I cant get another cat...thats for sure. :sad: Oh and some days I give myself a break and close my bedroom door when I sleep...just so i can sleep without a furry on my face, lol

Love4himies
March 6th, 2008, 02:12 PM
There are studies that show those who live with pets live a longer life.

My husband has allergies to cats and so he constantly has a stuffy nose, can't breath, etc, etc. When the doctors tell him to get rid of his cats, he says he can't he loves his wife (me) and wants her to stick around:laughing:. And, yup, you guessed it, they all flock to him and sleep on his lap, on his pillow, on his clothes:D.

He uses a puffer (don't know what it is) and benadry, but his allergies only get really bad when there is a new cat in the house. It takes about a month to get used to them.

http://jezebel.com/361604/animal-magnetisms

http://www.healingmusic.org/Library/Newsroom/ACatsHealingPurr.asp

http://www.tiscali.co.uk/lifestyle/pets/features/pets-and-livinglonger.html

If people keep bugging you about your allergies, tell them they are not helping you because you will have to get another cat to help relieve the stress of their unsolicited advice:D.

ancientgirl
March 6th, 2008, 02:36 PM
Onster - I have noticed that my allergies have been worse during the colder wet days here. After one of my clients told me he was suffering from allergies because of the weather (and it was mango season) I realized that it wasn't just the cats that were making me like this.

Love4himies - Thanks for the links. I know when I get home and spend time with my sweeties I always feel less stressed. I look forward to coming home to them. I think people just feel the need to try and control someone else's life because their lives are in chaos. I'm working hard to just turn them off in my head once they start shelling out advice. :laughing:

aslan
March 6th, 2008, 03:04 PM
Hey ancient, I too am allergic to cats and dogs, etc. I have been for aslong as I can remember. Usually you build up a tollerance to the animals who live with you. I grew up with asthma and was finally diagnosed last spring with copd..Luckily my doc is a pet owner and understands. Aslong as the house is kept clean i'm usually pretty good. My spouse sasys she can tell by my breathing if its heavy duty cleaning time. Don't let a doctor tell you to get rid of your fur babies. They don't always know everything. Remember thalidamide(spelling)?

ancientgirl
March 6th, 2008, 03:13 PM
I find the end of the month particularly bad for me. That's when I know I need to bathe them. I've also been vacuuming more frequently and dusting. Not to mention, it helps me also to change up their litter every two weeks.

I just knew there were others here who've lived with their allergies longer and really suffer no major health problems because of that. I hate when people try to scare you by telling you your health will be affected in a bad way.:frustrated:

phoozles
March 6th, 2008, 05:13 PM
I'm allergic to my cats too (actually, at an allergy test, I found out I'm also allergic to grass, and trees.. the allergist asked me if I had problems eating an apple.. it was odd.. and, for the record, no I don't :D)

For the past couple of weeks I've been chronically stuffed up. That's about it - I have aches and pains, but no other cold symptoms. I still think it's a cold, because I know it's not my allergies - no itchy eyes, etc., but I'm a little worried that it's my sinusitis coming back. I've had sinus surgery twice to remove palops (sp) from my nose. I had a cat scan done, and I read the report when my doctor wasn't looking - it said that they hadn't seen anything like it before! :eek:

They, of course, told me to get rid of my cats (at the time I had four of them), and I told them that 1. no way and 2. I didn't really think it was allergies, because they were different symptoms.

Anyway, if you are stuffed up, I can relate. I'm hoping this goes away soon, because I REALLY don't feel like having surgery again - although being stuffed up is pretty detrimental for a job where you talk for a living. :shrug:

ancientgirl
March 6th, 2008, 10:06 PM
Yikes, I hope you don't need surgery again. I can't even imagine what that must be like.

But you know, what you said made me think. It's so easy for others to just simply blame allergies on one specific thing when we may be allergic to lots of things.

Yeah, I'm allergic to my cats, but I don't think they are the only things I'm allergic to, so that's why I've been telling people lately that the weather is also to blame. And I CAN"T get rid of THAT! So there!:D

phoozles
March 7th, 2008, 03:47 PM
The first surgery wasn't too bad - but I think that's because they didn't do it right. :rolleyes: The second one was rough!

It's true, with changing temps, and seasons, different allergens come into play, along with regular ol' colds and sniffles. If find that the moment someone sees you grab a kleenex or sneeze they say it must be those cats, but seriously, it could be anything. :shrug:

Dirty looks when someone suggest the pets should be given away seem to do the trick :thumbs up

ancientgirl
March 8th, 2008, 04:12 PM
Yeah, like there aren't a million other things that could be causing your sneezing.:frustrated: