Talking Allergies

Anyone else gone from itchy eye to skin reactions from cats?
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Author:  lauraprd [ Tue Mar 05, 2013 5:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Anyone else gone from itchy eye to skin reactions from cats?

I'm a first time poster. I stumbled upon this site while looking for options to dealing with an reaction I'm having.

I've had a cat allergy (along with other environmental allergies) for about 23 years. The reaction I deal with from cats is itchy, watery eyes, and the occasional sneezing and coughing for the longer haired cats. Generally a very tame reaction that hasn't required even over the counter meds like Reactin or Claratin. Two years ago, I started using a allergy eye drop for general seasonal issues.

Over the last 6 months, my typical cat allergy reaction has gotten considerably worse and turned into a skin reaction around my eyes, specifically my right eye. I now am on allergy pills daily, have been using the eye drops daily and have a hydrocortozon cream to apply when necessary.

Now here's the kicker. I love cats. I have three cats. I understand that I'm my own worst emeny right now. However, I've already decided that they've put in their tenure (15 years old and live with us the entire time). They are old, sick and not long for this world, so I will adjust my lifecycle until they decide to leave this life.

So my question to the community, what skin care options may be out there to help deal with allergic skin even though that allergy is not caused my skin care products?

Author:  paige H [ Tue Mar 05, 2013 7:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anyone else gone from itchy eye to skin reactions from c

Welcome lauraprd. I am sorry you are dealing with this. I can understand enjoying your cats in their final days (even with the irritation). To minimize irritation if they can be kept out of your sleeping area (we do spend so much time in bed). You could also put an air purifier in your room and keep the door shut. I would shower off every night to rid of any cat dander. I do have much eye rash/swelling.... Not sure why, but as I try to figure out my issue I have used many different things. You have to be so careful around the eyes. I mostly use vaseline, it does not stop the itch though. I have used protopic not bad and it is not a cortizone cream so I feel better using it. I wish you well going through this. Hope you get relief soon.

Author:  lauraprd [ Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anyone else gone from itchy eye to skin reactions from c

Thanks Paige.

I have to say over the last week things seem to be starting to stabalize. I have been trying to keep them away from my sleep area, however, after that many years of shring, they do protest. LOL It does help that I am trying to consciously not touch my face after I pet them and to wash my hands shortly afterwards and that also seems to help.

I also have found that as long as I have a steady stream of the OTC allergy pills in my system, I am better off. I have in the past gotten used to one type and had to swtich every couple of months, so we'll see what happens going forward.

I'll try the vaseline next if I have another outbreak. I've tried the Avene skin line and as it is a pharmaceutical line, the healing properties also seem to be encouraging, even if it is only a few days. (If you want to try it, the Soothing Eye Contouring Cream, the antiinflamatories really helped the swelling I had.)

I hope you are able to trace the source of your issues. It really is uncomfortable when the eyes are not their best and extrememly frustrating when the source is unknown. Good luck to you as well.

Author:  kindletheflame [ Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anyone else gone from itchy eye to skin reactions from c

I became allergic to dogs and cats about five years ago. My allergies to them have gotten steadily worse ... I had a dog and a cat at the time that I developed allergies to them. I had dogs and cats growing up and never had any problems.

At first I just got itchy eyes after cuddling with my cat, but over about three years it got worse. My cat passed away (at 18.5 years) in 2011, and by then my reactions were much worse. Like you, I wouldn't get rid of my cat because he was so old. By the time he died, my reactions had escalated to unbearably itchy, swollen eyes; sneezing fits; coughing; and hives wherever my skin had touched him. I couldn't let him in my bedroom and couldn't hold him without symptoms. My solution was to always wash my hands and face after interacting with him. It helped, but I noticed that after he died my allergies in general improved a lot. :( Recently I've been trying to figure out why I go into sneezing fits every time I sit down at my computer, and I've come to realize my computer chair is the one item of furniture I've had since before 2011 (I used to live with my parents), and my cat used to love sitting on it while I used the computer, so it's probably full of cat dander.

Recently I've noticed that my dog reactions are going in the same direction (explosion of symptoms if I pet a dog for a few seconds, rash if a dog licks me, etc.). I don't currently have pets, and I live in an apartment that has a no-pets policy. I've also started have allergy and asthma reactions when I go to homes with cats or dogs, even if I don't touch them. It's really awful because I love animals, but I can't touch them at all now without having a reaction (although washing my hands and face immediately does help), and I can't go to homes with pets without reactions. This is even when I'm taking extra-strength antihistamines and prescription eye drops and nasal spray, as I have many year-round and seasonal allergies. I don't think I will ever get pets again unless my allergies go away. :(

Author:  lauraprd [ Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anyone else gone from itchy eye to skin reactions from c

Kindletheflame, I'm glad you posted. What you are describing definitely feels like a similar situation to what I've been going through. I'm hoping that I don't end up with the same end as I too love those critters. I never thought that it may get worse after the cats are gone, but that is definitely a possibility. I've seen my grain dust allergy do just that.

It makes me wonder what triggers something like that to escalate out of the blue like that. Why now does it decide to worsen? Any ideas from your own situation?

Author:  kindletheflame [ Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anyone else gone from itchy eye to skin reactions from c

I'm not sure why allergies get worse or better. My allergies have changed throughout the years, and I wish I knew why! I would like to know if avoiding or being exposed to the substance increases or decreases an allergy.

I developed all of my seasonal/environmental allergies as an adult during my student teaching practicum. At first I thought I just had a never-ending cold, but then severe eye irritation brought me to an optometrist who said I had allergies, and things went from there. My allergies seem to just get worse every year or two, which is really quite annoying. I wonder if stress plays at least a partial role, as student teaching is certainly stressful.

I have a theory that my immune system is just hyper-vigilant and attacks everything. I rarely get sick, and even when I get a cold it will usually only last a few days. Yet I have a ton of allergies, asthma, eczema, and an autoimmune disease (Type 1 diabetes). I was born very premature and spent the first months of my life in an intensive care unit, and I've read that being raised in a near-sterile environment may be a cause for both allergies and autoimmune conditions, so maybe this is what screwed my immune system up! It's also, of course, partly genetics, as there are lots of allergies and autoimmune conditions in my extended family, and of my immediate family every member has allergies or related conditions (asthma/eczema) to some degree.

Author:  gwentheeditor [ Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anyone else gone from itchy eye to skin reactions from c

Hi Lauraprd,

How unfortunate, but yes allergies can get worse at any time.

We always had cats as kids, but now my sister in her 50s has become quite allergic to cats. (Fortunately doesn't have one, but hates that she can no longer pet them.)

I think you're on the right track with antihistamines as your main defence. This article from Allergic Living mag might also help: ... at-dander/

Author:  lauraprd [ Wed Apr 10, 2013 11:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Anyone else gone from itchy eye to skin reactions from c

Thanks kindletheflame.
Your theory is interesting, however, it doesn't pass on to my own history. I didn't have the same early childhood health issues that you did and the majority of my family before me did not have the same issues. I also went through a period, with the same animals that I have now, where my allergies were basically allergic responses for several years.

However, if that is the link that gives you the most description and assistance for your situation, I'm happy for you. It's always good when you can have a answer to work with.

gwentheeditor, thanks for the link. This actually made a lot of sense. I grew up on a farm and had cats and dogs from day 1. The allergies developed in my teen years and I do notice that it is the dander that affects me the most.

I have been taking steps to reduce the amount of dander around. The funny part is that originally the moves to central vac and hard surface flooring and leather furniture over the years originally were made to assist my father-in-the with his allergies to the cats. I had no idea that it may actually be helping me at the same time. LOL.

Thanks for the feedback. It really does help!

Author:  kindletheflame [ Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Anyone else gone from itchy eye to skin reactions from c

I think there are probably a variety of factors that can contribute to allergies ... my theory is just based on one area I've read about.

I've also had allergies wax and wane, or appear and disappear completely over the years. I had no pollen or animal allergies when I was a kid, and my food allergies were different. I went through a period as a teenager where I was allergic to cold, and went through a period in my 20s where I thought I had outgrown asthma because it virtually disappeared.

It's all very strange. It sounds like you are taking all the right steps! I try to keep an "allergy proof" apartment so that I have at least one area where I don't have reactions and feel bad, but it's easier said than done sometimes!

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