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Allergies and intolerances

DD had positive skin prick test to cat

22 replies

Goofymum · 06/08/2010 21:46

HELP! My DD aged nearly 5 has always been severly allergic to nuts. She also had an egg allergy but has strangely now grown out of it completely. She has yearly skin prick tests and never showed a positive result for anything else. However, yesterday she went for her regular test and she still has the nut allergy but also has now developed sensitisation (positive skin prick test) to cat and to all types of pollen. We got 2 kittens a couple of months ago and obviously the new sensitisation to cat is down to her exposure to our new cats. However, she shows no signs or symptoms of asthma and has never had asthma, only episodes of wheezing that stopped a year and a half ago. She doesn't even show signs of allergy to the cats even if they scratch her she doesn't come up in hives. Now, here's where I need advice. The consultant said the she has a very high chance of developing asthma even if she is showing no signs of cat allergy now (apart from the positive skin prick test). He says get rid of the kittens. BUT I have since looked at alot of scientific research and the link for developing asthma in sensitised children is not clear. Only evidence that asthma will get worse with cat exposure if the child already has asthma. Any advice? Of course if DD had asthma had the cats made her wheezy I would rehome the cats. Am I crazy to even question the doctor's judgement. Shd I get a second opinion?

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CarGirl · 06/08/2010 21:48

I would wait and see, I'm very allergic to cats and have owned cats for 10 years! Only time I had asthma was a friends kittens 18 years ago!

I do get skin reactions from being washed or scratched by them, get sore eyes and that's on antihistamines.......

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Al1son · 06/08/2010 21:54

Is she likely to develop other serious allergic reactions? Perhaps anaphylaxis or urticaria if she continues to be exposed at current levels?

I can see that it would be upsetting for everyone to have to re-home the kittens but I wonder if she'll at least have a chance to be be less allergic to cats if she's exposed less now. I may well have got the theory completely wrong so feel free to dismiss this.

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Goofymum · 06/08/2010 21:59

Thanks CarGirl. Are you allergic to anything else?
The reason I'm even debating rehoming is

a) because it's not actually that easy to rehome 2 cats (even Cat Protection said they couldn't take the kittens and had a 3 month waiting list to take just 1) and

b) because even tho we've only had the kittens for 6 weeks my 2 DDs are besotted with them and would be heartbroken to have to leave them. If the evidence was clear that constant exposure will definately lead to asthma then no question. But that link is not definate, especially in one without asthma currently.

Why isn't it ever easy?

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Goofymum · 06/08/2010 22:05

Al1son, actually the doc didn't answer that question but it's an interesting one. He was more concerned about developing asthma than developing cat allergy symptoms. I wonder why she had a positive skin prick test but no allergic response to our actual cats!

We have made initial enquiries about rehoming with friends and in the meantime will try Petal cleanse and other ways to minimise exposure. I think I will also have to get a second opinion.

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TheHeathenOfSuburbia · 06/08/2010 22:07

Well, if you've looked at all the research stuff, and I haven't, not sure I can say anything useful!

Was there any medical/allergic cause found for the wheezing before? Could that have been asthma already? they can't officially diagnose it till the DC can do the blow-as-hard-as-you-can test (as I'm sure you know)(DD is 3 and in this situation, on occasional Ventolin for wheeze but not officially asthmatic)

As a cat-allergic asthmatic myself Grin I would worry that she will gradually get worse with more exposure - and it'd be kinder to rehome the animals when they're young rather than be forced into it a couple of years down the line...

How big was the skin-prick reaction?

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CarGirl · 06/08/2010 22:08

I'm allergic to all the routine skin prick tests

Silver Birch trees which has given me oral allergy syndrome
Cats
dogs
trees 1 2 3
grass 1 2 3
pollen

etc etc etc

Previous cat died had a break of a year or so got new cats the first 3 weeks were difficult my breathing was affected, my nose streamed I thought they may have to go back. Then I adjusted and all is fine. I have found that constant exposure has made me react less to all cats. Whereas those bleedin room air freshner things have my dying with 20 minutes - perhaps I should get one of those too Confused

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LilRedWG · 06/08/2010 22:11

I became allergic to cats at the age of 11, but have always found that I can tolerate my own as long as he doesn't get in my face too much and I wash my hands after stroking him. I did find that when we moved abroad for a couple of years and then moved back to him it took a few months to build my tolerances to him back up.

I have no asthma and a few weird allergies - sticking plaster, cat, supposedly gentle skin/hair care products (Simple, Pears etc.) but all are pretty mild.

No advice on the kittens I'm afraid, but wanted to give you my story so that it may give you the confidence to suck it and see. I may be worth asking him the percentage chances of asthma with or without the kittens. If it is only a tiny difference then you may decide to keep them.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

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ThatVikRinA22 · 06/08/2010 22:12

my son was tested and was supposed to be allergic to cats, dogs and house dust mites. he was chronic asthmatic.

not much you can do about dust, really, except dust more!

he took a low dose antihistamine as i really didnt want to rehome the pets. it worked.

im not sure how accurate the skin prick things are really - he had a blood test.

when the consultant gave us the news i (in jest i hasten to add!) turned to DS and said "well son, looks like we might have to rehome you..."
Grin

well i made the consultant laugh anyway!

we kept our pets! and DS!

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CarGirl · 06/08/2010 22:14

Forgot, house dust mites too and plasters etc etc

I think it works on the whole desensitisation principle. If you get rid of the cats then it's probably more likely she will have a chronic reaction the next time she comes into conatct with one.

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Goofymum · 06/08/2010 22:29

Eeek, am even more confused now. I think there's no right answer and everyone's different. It's a risk but how big a risk and is it worth it. yes, LilredWG It would be good to know the level of risk for both options.
The HeathenofSuburbia, DD was diagnosed with a viral wheeze which got quite bad and shje was hospitalised once. But she hasn't wheezed for over a year now and was never diagnosed with asthma or given a brown inhaler cos she only wheezed when she had a cold.

CarGirl -v interesting what you say about a break from the cats could mean even worse reaction next time she comes into contact with one - we had a cat who died when DD was 2. She never showed allergy and had a negative skin prick test then. She then had a 2 year break from cats and now has a sensitisation so that could be your theory at work!

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CarGirl · 06/08/2010 22:34

Isn't that what happens with severe food allergies and bee stings.

First time they react, 2nd time they tend to have an anyaphaltic reaction? That is the impression I have, certainly what happened to my friend each time she accidently had nuts the reaction got worse and worse and worse.

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TheHeathenOfSuburbia · 06/08/2010 22:47

Interesting question about the stop/start exposure... I grew out of my asthma as a teenager, but from visiting friends with cats it gradually came back (though I didn't really notice) until I had one quite big attack staying at a cat-owning friend's one night (and of course I had no Ventolin!). Now I start to wheeze within ~30 mins of going into a house with a cat, depending on carpet/hard floor etc.

It's a tough call, isn't it; when push comes to shove you can never really predict what way an allergy will go. Between OOH visits for DD's chest, and allergy appointments (dairy), we must have seen a dozen drs, all with different opinions on her treatment and likelihood of getting worse/growing out of it.

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Goofymum · 06/08/2010 22:47

Yes, good point. I think whilst we're trying to rehome the cats we'll have time to do a bit more research and also see if DD develops a wheeze or sneeze! If she doesn't and we are struggling to find a good home (that we can visit) than we'll stop looking.

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CarGirl · 06/08/2010 22:48

I think once you rehome the cats she will react to them unfortunately.

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Goofymum · 06/08/2010 22:58

So, CarGirl are you saying keep the cats, keep her exposed and she'll keep her sensitisation at bay? Rehome and she'll have a very bad reaction if ever she comes into contact with a cat again? Interesting and very attractice proposal.

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CarGirl · 06/08/2010 23:04

I think that is what could happen, it's certainly what happened to me with my guinea-pigs - was fine with them even after I had developed all my other allergies, gp died a few years later got another one and I was very allergic.

Same happened with the cats and now again I am fine unless licked or scratched IYSWIM.

If she doesn't develop a wheeze/any asthma indicators keep them if she does they will have to go pronto.

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edam · 06/08/2010 23:11

I have a feeling (but no handy links to back it up) that the sort of progression to anaphylaxis you see in food and bee sting allergies isn't as likely in fur/feathers/grass/pollen etc. allergies. Might be worth asking Action Against Allergies for more info.

Actually one large reputable study showed a child who lives with a cat that is allowed into the bedroom before the child is one is far less likely to develop allergies, oddly enough. As are children who live on farms, younger siblings and children who go to nurseries as babies - early exposure to infections and allergens seems to have a protective effect on many people. Sadly not in your dd's case though.

But to add to the anecdotes, my dh has asthma/eczema and multiple allergies to everything except food, bee stings and latex, yet became desensitised to our own cat very quickly. And to our next cat after that one. Still horribly allergic to anyone else's cats or dogs though, has to load up on antihistamines and inhalers before we visit households with pets.

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Goofymum · 06/08/2010 23:18

I am inclined to agree with you, CarGirl.
Edam - Has your DH had a skin prick test? I'm interested to know if that would still show up as being sensitised even with no symptoms, like my DD. Was he/you worried about getting a cat cos of his asthma?

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CarGirl · 06/08/2010 23:22

It's like when I developed oral allergy syndrome - so to apples, pears and others due to silver birch tree. The clinic told me to not eat them I was like Shock pregnant and battling constipated, after a few months of melons, bananas and not a lot else I carried on eating the fruits I'm allergic too (along with antihistamines) and they rarely bother me now. Bizarrely I found organic fruit bothered me less, completely illogical but def seems to be a link to how itchy or not my mouth/lips get.

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PixieOnaLeaf · 06/08/2010 23:28

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn

edam · 06/08/2010 23:30

Not recently, Goofy, but he's clearly still got asthma/eczema and is reacting to grass and pollen and fur and feathers and all. (His prime reason for buying this house was that the garden is paved - he used to get asthma attacks when I moved the lawn if he left at window open.)

Yes we were worried about getting a cat when dh finally gave into my decade long campaign to at least try (he really didn't get pets having not had any as a kid for obvious reasons) it was like a switch had tripped - he was determined and I was the one being cautious.

Made the mistake of 'just going to see' a cat in need of a new home. I was trying to pull dh away saying 'let's go home and see how you are' and he refused to leave without the poor moggy. Grin He did react to her for about a week but tried to hide if from me, the poor besotted animal lover.

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Goofymum · 06/08/2010 23:51

Pixie, we do keep a ventolin with her epipens. Thanks for your advice too.
Thanks for everybody's help. Think for now I will keep cats for now, keep them clean, buy some petal cleanse, keep them outdoors and if DD ever shows signs of wheeze then up our ante with the rehoming.

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