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Author Topic: Can mild allergies get worse?  (Read 374 times)

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Online NachtmahrTopic starter

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Can mild allergies get worse?
« on: February 13, 2015, 10:09:55 AM »
I tried to google this, but everything I found was inconclusive at best.

I have a few friends who have cats, and I appear to have gotten a light cat allergy of some sort. My eyes get red and tear up a little, and I tend to get a bit stuffed up - All in all my symptoms range from none to something similar to a light cold.

I don't visit people all that often, maybe once a week at best. However, I do have a health-anxiety (hypochondria) issue which can really ruin my day when I start thinking about any sort of danger to my health.

So, here's my question: Is it likely/possible that my symptoms will get worse, even if exposure is so limited? Does anyone have a similar issue with cats/dogs/pets in general?

Offline Avis habilis

Re: Can mild allergies get worse?
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2015, 10:22:29 AM »
It isn't impossible, but I found in my case that repeated exposure eventually eliminated my symptoms. I was allergic to cats when we got ours & my nose ran for about three months, but after that I not only wasn't allergic to them, I wasn't allergic to anyone else's. Same thing with my wife's horse.

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Can mild allergies get worse?
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2015, 10:27:36 AM »
I have a mild allergy to cat dander and I'm allergic to penicillin.  Because I lived with a cat for several years I became acclimated to the dander and the symptoms eased.  I have to remember to wash my hands when around a cat in case I touch my face.  Soap and water is what to use as hand sanitizers do not "kill" the dander.

You might - and I stress might - become more sensitive to some allergens if there is a change in their chemical make up or if another substance is also causing a reaction but an allergist is the best one to ask about this as they have the specific training needed to make a diagnosis.

Offline The Dark Raven

Re: Can mild allergies get worse?
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2015, 11:20:17 AM »
In my experience (allergic to basically everything all my life), extended exposure without treatment makes the symptom worse.  If I know I'm going to be around my allergic triggers (pollen, dander, mold, fungus, etc.), I take an antihistamine to head off the histamine response that makes me miserable.

Also, call ahead and tell your friends to put the animals up where they won't get in your face, since you are allergic (or meet at a place where the animals aren't if they refuse).

Online NachtmahrTopic starter

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Re: Can mild allergies get worse?
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2015, 11:34:15 AM »
Well, thanks a lot for your input everyone!

I'm glad that it at least seems that I'm in no real danger - It has calmed my anxiety a bit. Sadly I can't follow the tip you gave me Daylily (About asking them to keep the pet out of the way) because everyone I know generally live in very small apartments. (Apartments where they probably shouldn't keep a pet that needs more legroom than a hamster to begin with)

Offline The Dark Raven

Re: Can mild allergies get worse?
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2015, 11:53:44 AM »
Well, thanks a lot for your input everyone!

I'm glad that it at least seems that I'm in no real danger - It has calmed my anxiety a bit. Sadly I can't follow the tip you gave me Daylily (About asking them to keep the pet out of the way) because everyone I know generally live in very small apartments. (Apartments where they probably shouldn't keep a pet that needs more legroom than a hamster to begin with)

It can be done, but most I know are not willing to do so.  I usually insist we meet elsewhere (or they drive me to the ER -- cat dander shuts down my lungs).

Online NachtmahrTopic starter

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Re: Can mild allergies get worse?
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2015, 11:58:02 AM »
It can be done, but most I know are not willing to do so.  I usually insist we meet elsewhere (or they drive me to the ER -- cat dander shuts down my lungs).

Oh.. Ouch. Yeah, I can see why that would be an issue there - Fortunately my symptoms aren't severe, just slightly annoying. I doubt I could convince any of my friend to lock their cat in the kitchen for hours just because I'd get a runny nose otherwise.. And I wouldn't really feel very god about it.

Offline The Dark Raven

Re: Can mild allergies get worse?
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2015, 11:59:13 AM »
Oh.. Ouch. Yeah, I can see why that would be an issue there - Fortunately my symptoms aren't severe, just slightly annoying. I doubt I could convince any of my friend to lock their cat in the kitchen for hours just because I'd get a runny nose otherwise.. And I wouldn't really feel very god about it.

Then Allegra is your friend. :)

Offline Thesunmaid

Re: Can mild allergies get worse?
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2015, 12:26:47 PM »
Well they can get better...with exposure. So I don't see why they can't be worse. I am allergic to cats...When I was young it was very allergic...and now having cats for a long time I seem to be only mildly...and my mother did not get allergies to anything until she was in her 30's. and now she has to carry an epi pen for bee stings and nuts.

Offline BitterSweet

Re: Can mild allergies get worse?
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2015, 01:47:51 PM »
As you can see, different folks have different expereinces with allergies.  However, I want to point out that cat dander is mildy annoying to most everyone - it's a very irritating substance - so what you're experiencing might not be an 'allergy' per se but your bodies normal response to cat dander.  However, anti-histimanes will work just fine, regardless of the particular term applied to the symptom.

Offline MelisaArtemis

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Re: Can mild allergies get worse?
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2015, 08:33:10 PM »
Mild allergies CAN get worse depending on the severity of the exposure. if you exposed to perpetually increasing allergen in the amount that significantly exceed your tolerance level, then it would get worse. On the other hand though, if you're exposed to the allergen in the CONTROLLED amount that your body can BARELY tolerate then you'd slowly develop immunity to it much like developing natural antibody.

Online NachtmahrTopic starter

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Re: Can mild allergies get worse?
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2015, 05:31:07 PM »
Well, I feel like it's only appropriate for me to wrap this up. I've learned a lot, and while a lot of you had different experiences, there was a pretty consistent theme of 'Yes, if you're too exposed, no (Or: You'll get better) in case of low exposure.'

As it stand any exposure to cats from my side is very limited. I have no interest in owning a cat for myself, because while I can appreciate cute pictures of cats, I have an irrational fear of any cat the size of an average domestic cat or larger. The only time this is a problem is when I'm at a certain friends house who has a cat and sadly isn't able to keep it away from me because of his fairly small apartment. Whether it's an actual allergy or just a dander-issue I don't know - I think I have had similar symptoms when licked by dogs, but I can't confirm that.

Thank you all for the awesome responses - I feel a lot better about going to a cat-owners home already. :)

No further assistance is needed I think.