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HELP! Desperately need advice re. animals and allergic MIL!!! Long!

(8 Posts)
loopennyloo Mon 04-Feb-13 13:41:12

I'm really hoping I might be able to get some sensible advice here from people with experiences of allergies. This isn't directly my problem but I seem to have become embroiled in it and am sure there is a solution.

So, my MIL is allergic to animals. She is asthmatic and when she was a child she had a v bad reaction to a horse and was hospitalized. As far as Im aware she hasn't had a reaction like that to any animal since- she is now in her 60's. But it does aggravate her asthma- she says quite seriously.

She seems to talk a lot about how bad her reactions are yet I have never seen this- she says she has hayfever but again I've never seen her have any symptoms and although she seems to avoid going to houses with pets she does sometimes make exceptions and seems ok for short times.

We got a kitten a couple of years ago after I had done a lot of research about how to lower the allergens- we bought a hepa hoover and anti-allergy wipes for the cat and made sure she was outside/in the utility room when MIL came round. When we told her we were getting a cat she cried. She said she'd never be able to come round again, couldnt babysit etc etc. After she calmed down she said it was very upsetting we hadn't considered her and that she was worried the children would think she is mean if she doesnt cuddle the cat.

Two years on, she comes over, babysits, we forget to shut the cat out and all is fine. She's never had a reaction. She doesnt cuddle the cat but of course thats fine.

My brother in law and his wife (who have a v v strained relationship with his parents) has got a labrador. My in-laws haven't been to their house since theyv'e owned it as they havent been on good terms. However they've just had a baby and my brother and sister in law say they want to make more of an effort so my niece can get to know her grandparents. Not only has my MIL said she will never be able to set foot in their home because of her allergies, she has also said if they met up in a park/cafe she wouldnt be able to hold the baby because that alone would trigger a reaction if the baby had been touching the dog.

Now, what I would like to know is could this possibly be true???!!!!!! Can someone have that much of a reaction?

And if so surely there is something that can be done to relieve the symptoms even temporarily? She says anti-histamines won't work but I'd have thought they would have some effect.....? I think someone needs to tell her the facts of what she can do to manage this situation but I've tried to do a bit of on-line research but can't find much useful stuff about dog allergies and what the sufferer can do ie medication etc. Obviously she's not going to go in and pat and cuddle the dog but she is in danger of wrecking the relationship with her son aughter in law and granddaughter if she carries on like this. I would so appreciate any words of wisdom on managing dog allergies and on managing allergies of family members!

mistlethrush Mon 04-Feb-13 13:44:59

I have a friend who is allergic to dogs - however, our short-haired dogs were not too bad, and she was able to stay at the house provided she had antihystamines. We clearly stopped the dog going up to be petted, and had a very good clean before she arrived.

However, this is not your problem - I would stay out of it unless you invite your in-laws over for a visit (without the dog) whilst MiL is going to be around anyway.

Wheresmycaffeinedrip Mon 04-Feb-13 13:52:23

My dp is allergic to cats and he doesn't need to go near them to get a reaction so it sounds very strange that she's never had a reaction at yours.

I think she's probably more fearful than anything else and no one can blame her after the horse incident. But there r dogs everywhere even on buses and trains so she would have had a reaction to one at some point. hospital treatment is anti histamines and steroids afaik so that bit doesn't make sense.

Perhaps they could visit at hers and change clothes??

Baffledandbewildered Mon 04-Feb-13 15:49:00

Very odd I have severe allergies that hospitalise me, but unless the baby is sleeping in the dogs basket and being wrapped in the dogs blanket I think she is over reacting .

CiderwithBuda Mon 04-Feb-13 16:01:03

Well I get hay fever and def get symptoms. It gets quite bed sometimes but is def treatable with anti-histamines.

I am also allergic to cats and they can bring on asthma in me. But just some cats. Not all.

And we have two labradors. When we got the first one I did react badly when she was shedding a lot but I went to the doctor and was prescribed tablets called Singulair which worked well. I bought a Miele Cat and Dog vacuum cleaner too.

Haven't had a problem since.

But that is me and not your MIL! She sounds a bit over emotional?

loopennyloo Mon 04-Feb-13 20:51:22

Thanks so much I really appreciate yor thoughts.Cider, those tablets sound like an interesting possibility.

Yes, unfortunately she is a bit over emotional and I would quite like to stay out of it but we see quite a lot of her and lately the theme of most our conversations is how she can get things back on track with her son and daughter in law. To be fair my brother and sister in law are quite self centred people and havent been very nice to her (or us) in the past but we all need to move on. But she does go on and on about how incosiderate they are and says that the dog is their way of 'keeping her out of their lives'

Anyway, I just want to be able to give her some sensible advice re. the allergy so that doesn't keep coming up as such a big issue. So thanks all.

Ilisten2theradio Tue 05-Feb-13 17:59:16

I am allegic to as far as I know all things furry. I have a definite problems with dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs that I know about ( various friends with pets). If I am visiting I will take antihistamines. It works to an extent so I can manage a few hours in the house ( also it depends on how much they have cleaned up too). I do find that visiting MIL who doesn't have pets, when SIL and DN visit I get tight chested and think it is due to the cat hairs(or dander or whatever it is causing the reaction) coming in with them.
I take antihistamine now when visiting.
I remember a thread a while back about someones DH reacting badly with asthma after she had visited family with a dog/cat(?) and despite dropping all her clothes at the front door and having a shower and washing her hair immediately he still had a very nasty asthma episode. So to answer your question it is possible but varies hugely from person to person.

looseleaf Mon 11-Feb-13 20:18:00

DH reacts to cats and for him it's frightening as he's had terrifying asthma attacks in the past and anything that begins to affect his airways can be quite panic-inducing.
Whether or not your MIL is reacting now I think it'd help the situation to talk more openly - eg explain why pets are important to you and emphasise how you really want her to be ok too and how can you all support her eg outline again the steps you've already (and very kindly) taken etc and ask how she is in the house? As if you were in her shoes and even if she's exaggerating or in the event it could be psychological she may still be feeling no one is looking out for her / welcoming her etc and on most things with in laws I'm a believer in biting my lip and accepting differences where possible as it's worth it for them to feel welcome? Mind you it depends what they're like as mine deep down had hearts of gold and all sorts of paranoias/quirks but they meant so well despite these (and my MIL had a chronic cat phobia as it happened but I'd have made sure that was therefore important to me too). Sorry bit off allergy topic but just another perspective as I miss my MIL a lot !

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