Ask Alice

Dear Alice,
    I think I might be allergic to my cat. Is there anything I can do?
-- Ah Choo

Dear friend,
    Many people are allergic to their cats but they continue to live happily with them. Your success at achieving this will depend on your willingness to make changes and how severe your allergy symptoms are.
    It is important to realize that while you may be allergic to your cat, you may have other allergies as well. Sometimes people find that they have trouble with their "cat" allergy, only when they are having problems with their "ragweed/grass/mold/etc." allergy. For these people, there are only a few weeks out of the year when medication is needed to make them comfortable. The rest of the year, the cat causes no allergy symptoms.
    Some allergy doctors recommend "getting rid of your pets" as a first step in dealing with allergies. If your doctor advises this, you need to make it clear that the cat is part of your family and it is staying. There are doctors who will work with you to make you as comfortable as possible when they know that you are committed to keeping your pet. You should consider changing doctors if your doctor insists the cat must go. If you are undergoing desensitization with allergy shots, talk to your doctor about including material from your own cat in the shots.
    Here are some suggestions that should help you live with your cat.

Good luck,
-- Alice

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