Living with Cats and Eczema
Like many with eczema I am particularly sensitive to cats and the allergens they produce. As a kid we had to get rid of our pet, Zippy, because of this. Once I moved off to college my parents decided it was time to adopt a few cats and try the whole pet thing once more. At first, I wasn’t a fan, but I quickly began to adjust and love our new forever friends despite my allergies. Living with cats can be a challenge but I’ve learned to manage my symptoms with the help of a few tricks.
No cats allowed!
First and foremost, the cats are not allowed in my bedroom. I keep my door shut at all times in order to curb their curiosity of this unknown domain. If the door is shut, they can’t roll all over my bed, sleep on my clothes, or get into general mischief. I also don’t want them getting into my topical steroids. I’m not sure how it would affect them, and I don’t want to find out.
Cleaning up after the cats
You must clean weekly! This part can be a little frustrating and tedious but it is extremely necessary to avoid allergy symptoms. As a seasoned cat owner it comes to no surprise that they leave fur all over my home. We have three cats so that issue is compounded. Every day I see a new clump of fur on the floor that needs to be attended to. My suggestion is to purchase a handheld vacuum for the day-to-day maintenance and then do a deeper clean on the weekends. Don’t forget to clean all the furniture that they sleep on!
Washing away the allergens
After playing with my fur babies I always wash my hands or bathe. Whichever route I choose always depends on what time of the day it is. If it’s first thing in the morning or just before bed I tend to take a shower because it makes the most sense for me. If it’s during the day I just wash my hands because it is easier and less time consuming. Either way, cleaning the cat allergen off your skin will minimize your allergy symptoms and make you feel better in the long run.
Take your medicine
Last but not least, take your allergy medicine every single day. In my opinion, this is the most important thing you can do to control your allergy symptoms. Personally, I take a mixture of oral allergy medication (Zyrtec, Allegra, and Benadryl), medicated eye drops and a nasal spray. Sometimes I even apply a topical if my allergies are causing a flare. I know that regimen is intense but it’s the price I pay to spend time with my cats.
At the end of the day I recommend finding a system that works best for you. If your allergies are mild you may be able to get away with a fraction of the suggestions that I have presented. If they are worse, you may want to investigate some additional solutions.
Have you taken our Managing Treatment and Medication Survey?