Curing allergies??

Can it be done? I’m allergic to cats. I grew up having one since birth, and until it died around my 15th B-day I never had any substantial reactions. I suspect that I may have been sensitive to it in the last few years, but we blamed it on hay fever or possibly bronchitis. While the concept of me becoming allergic to something that literally was with me day and night for 15 years is beyond me, I wonder if it can be reversed. I love cats and would like to own one again someday. Now when I’m around them I get slightly asthmatic (I never been asthmatic under any other circumstances) and get very itchy eyes, and irritated skin after I play with them (can’t help my self).

To the point. Why would i become allergic to cats after growing up with one? And is there a way to cure it? How are allergies carried, and developed, and how do they differ from a virus or infection? Is it practical to treat the symptoms for long periods of time?

See the cowgods, hayfever post for how my hayfever went away. My wife was allergic to cats as a kid and had/has asthma. After we married she was about 21 or so, we were adopted by a cat.Wife sorta eased up on it over a month. No allergy no asthma attacks. Eveentually we became the crazy cat lady of the block,lots of them.Over tim we had no cats now after 20 years the cat allergy is back worse than before.Allergies is weird,they can appearout of nowhere it seems,and disapear. Certain irritants make you produce histamines. I think that is it. Go to your doc and have a specific cat test done. (not a cat scan now that’s for if its all in your head) If it is only cat dander you can get a long lasting shot. My wife is allergic to anything cat. The smell of a litter box. That’s when I say it IS in her head,just an association.But there have been a few times we were visiting someone. After 1/2 hour she would get the typical cat reaction. We ask, do you have a cat? No, but the neighbors cat was in here on the couch for 15 mins about three hours ago.

Allergies are famous for disapearing and then reapearing. Throughout my life I have had a “Milk” allergy. I get hives so bad my eyes swell and turn black. My lips and tongue swells. After about 6 months of this it goes aways for years then 6 or 7 years later comes back. It isn’t always milk either. One day at 27 I woke up with Asthma. Where that came from I will never know?

  1. To become allergic to something, you have to have been exposed to it in the past. Your immune system disagrees with it & makes a variety of antibodies against it. Most are IgG; some are IgE, the kind that cause allergic responses. As long as you remain frequently exposed to the offending something (an antigen, actually), IgG predominates.

  2. Over time, however, if you have the genetic predisposition to develop allergies, and if exposure is not continuous, IgG antibodies decline, so that the predominant antibody left is IgE. When re-exposed to the antigen (now an allergen), the IgE symptoms predominate, and a rash, or sneezing, or anaphyllactic shock occur.

  3. This is what happens with poison ivy, bee stings, medication reactions, as well as more common ragweed & cat dander hay fever symptoms.

  4. If continual exposure can be tolerated, eventually the IgG response again predominates, and allergic symptoms subside. This is what your wife did, Mr John. Unfortunately it can be dangerous, because even if the initial symptoms were “nuisances”, there’s no guarantee things won’t progress to dangerous reactions with continued exposure before the IgG protects you.

  5. The best way to de-sensitize someone to allergens is with allergy shots under medical supervision. While traditional teaching has been that these need to be taken for life, recent studies suggest that a course of allergy shots may prove protective for at least several years after stopping them. DISCLAIMER: No one should ever stop taking shots without discussing it with their allergist. Allergic reactions to peanuts, bee stings, and medications can be life-threatening. Wait for more data!

Sue from El Paso

majormd wrote:

My allergist never said I had to take those shots for the rest of my life. Therapy ran for some three years. Then he said we had achieved what we could and stopped. He never said the effect would be temporary either. My hay fever does seem to have gotten slightly worse again, but there are plenty other reason for that (moved to a different area, more stress on the job, two kids, bad food…).

You say it’s “traditional” teaching. My therapy started about six or seven years ago. Is my doctor’s knowledge more up-to-date than yours or less? Are we talking of the same kind of hyposensitization therapy (subcutaneous shots of your fave allergens in increasing doses (up to a certain limit), weekly at first, then monthly)?