Dear Readers:

Many readers expressed opinions — and offered tips for coping on Pet and Full Allergy testing we know that allergies when visiting friends and family during the holidays or just visiting friends in general. Thank you for many wonderful suggestions to help others with similar allergies. Here is a sampling: It took a few months, but it is amazing. There are no pharmaceuticals involved whatsoever. I highly recommend that people with any allergies look this up online. NAET treatments are noninvasive, drug-free solutions and have worked for me and my friends for years on many different types of allergies, especially if you have a pet allergy.

No More Dear Annie:

You suggested that “Allergic” ask her aunt to board the cats and pay the expense, but anyone with a cat allergy knows, myself included, that cats leave dander everywhere. It’s impossible to remove it because it’s not the cat fur that Pet allergy sufferers are allergic to; it is the dried cat saliva proteins (so gross, I know). Cat owners’ homes become covered in those ultra-fine saliva particles, and it’s hard to escape them.

Instead of spending money on boarding, suggest that she check if her hotel has a party room to book or if there is a cabin or Airbnb option near her aunt’s house where she could book with her parents. She’d get more time with her ageing parents; she wouldn’t spend the day alone; it would be cat-free; and as a bonus, the holiday would not be at her aunt’s house with her outdated patriarchal rules. It’s a multi-win situation. Hope this helps her have a happier holiday! —

A New Site Dear Annie:

I empathize with “Allergic to Thanksgiving.” I’m a lifelong allergy sufferer who has only improved in recent years with modern antihistamines. I once spent a Christmas in France outside Paris (literally) at my sister-in-law’s house, where I was too allergic to their cat for me to be in the house. I sat outside a glass door in 30-degree weather, read a book and waved occasionally. Has “Allergic” discussed this with a board-certified allergist? Many modern treatments can greatly reduce one’s histamine reaction to allergens.

Cat dander has a very light molecular weight — think invisible, microscopic dust blowing through the house. Removing and cleaning the cat will not clear the remnant dander, especially in winter if the house has thick rugs, curtains, and sofas. “Allergic” has to decide whether she wants to bear another year’s exposure to an allergen that will likely lay her low for a couple of days. Could she meet some of her relatives in a different location the day after? —

Allergic and Empathetic

Dear Annie, I wanted to contact you regarding your advice for a full allergy test to the woman experiencing great difficulty with her allergies at her aunt’s home on Thanksgiving. You suggested her aunt board the cats. My husband suffers from a severe cat allergy. Well-intentioned people are falsely under the impression that simply removing the cats to another room while the person with allergies is there will do the trick. It does not. The cat’s dander is everywhere, regardless of how clean the home is. You cannot vacuum it out of existence. My mother used to put her cats in the bedroom, to zero effect. Then, my husband would leave every holiday and be sick for days. My only suggestion is to go out for Thanksgiving dinner or have it somewhere cat-neutral. —

I’ve Been There. I Found Out I had severe pet allergies after adopting my dog. Here’s how I Beat Them.

Growing up, my family never had pets because my dad had asthma, and my sister had pretty bad allergies herself. I’ve always suffered from severe seasonal allergies but never had issues around friends’ pets. In college, I lived with a cat I was allergic to, but I could manage my allergies if I washed my hands after being around him.

Seven years later, I finally adopted my first dog and all the fur, dust and dander that came with him. That’s when the allergies hit. It was early 2013. I’d just purchased my first condo and had been watching the local rescues for my perfect dog. One day, I came across this smiling face, and after a few meet-and-greets, I was the proud pet parent of KC. I finally had the dog I’d always dreamed of, and the first few days were great. But as KC settled into our home, my allergies started coming on. A few sneezes turned into more sneezing, itchy eyes, and a runny nose.

These symptoms became the norm. It was hard, and I wondered if I’d made a huge mistake. However, KC was my buddy. He’d been rescued from a kill shelter, moved across the country, and finally ended up with me after a few weeks with his foster. I wasn’t about to give up on him, so I set out to learn how to manage my allergies. I decided to make an appointment with an allergy doctor. The allergy tests came back off the charts, and the doctor wondered how I made it through the spring and summer.

Shot or no shots?

My Full allergy tests indicated issues with grasses, trees, flowers, dogs, cats, and horses. I decided on allergy shots, but it would take two to three years to start seeing their benefits. Luckily enough, my insurance covered this treatment 100%. Had this not been the case, or had I not also suffered from bad seasonal allergies, I would have managed my dog allergies differently for the long term.

Allergy shots have been life-changing for me, but I will never be 100% allergy-free. I had to wait 3 years for the full effect, which meant I needed a plan to manage my allergies to my dog in the meantime. Here’s what worked for me. Allergy Medication. By far, the most important thing I did to manage my allergies was take the proper medications.

Improved quality of life

For the longest time, I didn’t want to take medications, but after seeing the doctor, it was made very clear to me that Zyrtec and Flonase would improve my quality of life. I found affordable generic versions, and my symptoms dropped significantly after a week. KC and I were free to rough house, watch Broncos games, and do everything together. I even let KC come and go from the bedroom as he pleased. He now sees the bed as his bed that I am allowed to use.

I know that if I ever forgot any part of my allergy medicine during peak season, even for a day, I’d notice a significant increase in symptoms. My Life Today. Three years of Full allergy Tests and shots flew by, and I’m no longer on them. While my allergies will never be completely gone, the shots helped immensely. I still take a Pet allergy test every night in the spring, but for the rest of the year, I don’t have to think about it. Following my routine above, life was great for the three years I received shots. My allergies didn’t hinder me, and I could happily co-exist with a dog in the house. I’m confident that if I had decided against allergy shots, I would have successfully managed my allergies and had a dog with no issues.