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Allergic to Cats ???!

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I am a college student and have lived in the same house my whole life. I smoked cigarettes for two years and have now quit. I've also had cats my whole life. For the last 6 or 7 years (after our cats had a lice problem) my mom has not allowed them upstairs for long periods of time. They live in the basement. so I was never around them or their dander for prolonged periods of time for as long as I could remember.

The summer before I left for my freshman year I felt I would do them a favor and bring all their things into my bedroom and keep them in there. I never experienced any problems. At the end of August they went back into the basement, and I went off to school. The following summer I did not give them refuge in my bedroom, and returned for my sophomore year.
...It is now the present summer and I've been home since the beginning of May. On May 31st I moved my cats into my bedroom. They are 13 years old and you can even see the dry skin on their fur, so they are dander machines. On June 9th I went to a wedding, got drunk, and smoked a pack of cigarettes after having quit for 2 months. (oops) and developed a cough. I guessed this cough was from the cigarettes but unfortunately it is STILL with me along with never ending post nasal drip which began a few days after the cough did. Its clear and thin most of the time but sometimes there's yellow in it. Every morning I do cough and as soon as I get up a glob or two of mucous (probably from the post nasal drip) I'm better, and the only cough I have for the remainder of the day is in order to clear my throat, OR when I'm around cigarette smoke (which is maybe 2 or 3 times a week) my throat gets very irritated. I have not smoked since that wedding. My eyes had been dry a lot and in July I began to officially notice that they were always mildly bloodshot and itchy. As well as my nose and throat sometimes. I also sneeze, but not excessively.

So here's the thing. I've been to my family doctor 3 times. I've been on two separate antibiotics because he said there was "pus" behind my nose so he thought it was a sinus infection. I asked him if he thought I had an allergy and he said my throat did not suggest the typically allergic throat (white lining of the throat?) sooo both times while on the antibiotics I didnt seem to improve, at all.
So, I decided to go to an ear nose and throat specialist who ct-scanned my sinuses. He told me that my sinuses are clear! Yet I still have these symptoms.
He has given me nasacort to take once daily and referred me to an allergist for a skin allergy test which unfortunately won't happen for another week.

The main thing that frightens me is sometimes when I cough OUT I can hear a little tiny wheeze when I position my throat the right way. this also happens when I laugh a certain way (like, a strained laugh forcing the air out when my chin is bent toward my neck) I did have acid reflux which pepcid took care of, I havent had a chest xray nor do the docs think the cough has anything to do with my chest, but the little wheeze which has happened only maybe 3 times is very frightening because, well, let's face it I'm a paranoid person. I immediately worry that I have some deadly lung disease that no one will catch before it's too late. My mom is a nurse and she told me its probably just a strand of post nasal drip vibrating... but I still get scared.

I've removed the cats from my room, regrettably putting them back downstairs (but I built them a fun little playhouse because I love them and I'm still going to play with them even if it does turn out I'm allergic).. and vacuumed as much of my room as I could. I moved my bed and vacuumed under there (I had to empty the vacuumed like 3 times because of all the hair and dust) and I had been sleeping on our pullout in the living room, taking my nasacort, and trying to avoid mycats... =(
I feel like my symptoms have actually improved! But this could so easily be in my head.

I spent the night at my boyfriends last night and he doesn't have any pets. I woke up and coughed up the usual stuff when I brushed my teeth but I felt GOOD and I realized what not being itchy feels like and I noticed a great difference in the amount of coughing I've done today.

ALL the signs probably point to me being allergic to my cats except for a few things...
I have lived with cats my whole life in my house. Ive had contact with cats almost every day until I went to college.
Now, I've heard of college students going away from home and suddenly developing an allergy to their cat or dog which they've been away from for so long. Could this REALLY happen? Has this happened to ANYBODY out there or anybody who anybody knows?Has anybody ever read about this? Do my symptoms sound like an allergy?

I'll know officially on Wednesday! Til then... let me know what y'all think...
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replied August 18th, 2007
Active User, very eHealthy
Congrats on stopping the cigarettes. That's a huge battle!

I think you could really benefit from cleaning out your sinuses with saline solution. Just add a teaspoon of sea salt (no iodine in the salt) to 2 cups of water and you've got it. The best way I've found to clean my sinuses is a complete flush with a tool called a "neti pot". Google it for details. It takes about 2-3 minutes...and I feel wonderful afterward.

Your symptoms could be caused by many things...so take heart, and let us know how that allergy test goes.

Please write back...I'm very interested in your case!

Smile
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