Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Have Allergies? Me Too!

I've got horrible allergies. And asthma. My worst allergy is to bee stings. I have to carry an epi-pen with me everywhere. The second worst?  Cats.

I have three.

That's right - I'm allergic to cats and I still have three.  Inside the house.

Here are my tricks:

1) Air filters are my besties. Best friends ever. I have one in the living room, one in the bedroom, and one in our den.  These are the areas we hang out in the most (by "we" I mean the entire family, including our pets).

2)  Bedroom door closed.  The minute we get up in the morning, everyone is ushered out, and the door remains shut.  This keeps the cats off my pillow.  I do fine with them sleeping in the bedroom, but they can't be up near my face.  They're fine with that.  They each claim a spot - Eowyn between Daddy's legs, Wednesday wedged between the two of us, and Pip at our feet.

3)  Dusting and vacuuming are done every other day. If I'm doing them, I wear a mask.  When I finish, I go out for a few hours (to allow the air filters to do their job!).  We have hardwood floors so it's very easy to see when the cats are shedding.  One of the many reasons we settled on an American Staffordshire Terrier is the no shed factor. She doesn't ever shed. To quote Taylor Swift, "Like ever."

4)  Throws. Throws are the cornerstone of our living room.  We have nice furniture, but only the guests get to see it.  It's much easier to pull the throws off the furniture and throw them in the wash twice a week than it is to clean the furniture.  They're inexpensive too.  Warm in the winter.  Can't say enough about them and how much easier they make my pet owning life.

5)  Steamer.  We bought a Shark Steamer and it's the best invention ever.  This picks up any extra dust or dander on the hardwood floors.  We steam the floors once a week.  We have a two bedroom house and we can steam these floors (EVERY room) in under and hour.

6)  Long sleeves.  If I'm going to snuggle with my pets (and I love to do that!), I have to have long sleeves on.  They prevent hives.

7)  Wash your hands! This one isn't always followed - and the consequences aren't as drastic now as they were the first few months we got each cat.  But they're still there.  If I touch my eyes, they burn like crazy. If I touch my skin, I get welts.  So once I'm done petting, I must wash my hands.

8)  Antihistamines. Benedryl helps with the adjustment period.  After a few months, they stop making me sneeze and triggering asthma attacks.  Then, I can lay off the benedryl.

I can't imagine my life without my pets.  They enrich my life in a way that my allergies and asthma do not.  That unconditional love is worth what I have to go through to begin with.  Now, if I go visit friends who have a dog that sheds or cats, I still react to their pets.  But once I get home again, my chest relaxes and the sneezing stops. 

It's very workable and it doesn't take much.  Air filters just have to be vacuumed or wiped down every so often.  You have to clean your house whether you have pets or not.  Laundry has to be done and it doesn't take much to do an extra load here and there.  And how hard is it to close the bedroom door?

What about you - are you allergic to your pets?  How do you work around the allergies?

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