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Asthma/Cat Allergy

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Question
Sir, I am a 64 year old female with an allergy to cats.  Diagnosed when I was a child to many animal danders and saliva (as well as numerous other allergies, non-food), I was treated for years with desensitization shots.  Today, I take Zyrtec and have a rescue inhaler.  Went with my heart and not my head, and brought a lost cat into the home and I am paying the price -- having a constant runny nose and increased need to use my inhaler.  Other than giving my precious pet up for adoption, can you offer any advice on how I can live comfortably with my pet?  Thank you in advance for any advice you can offer.

Answer
Hi Kathleen,
 Sorry to tell you this, but getting the cat was not a good move. Cat dander is much more difficult to control than dog dander, and can take up to a year to clear it out of your environment. On multiple levels, as in keeping the cat excluded from your bedroom, generally very difficult, you can head on a downward spiral. Lung function goes down at night, and with the dander in your bedroom, it will intensify the reaction, leading to poor sleep quality, and lower energy levels during the day.
 With that said, you may try getting the nasal spray Nasacort that was a prescription medication until just recently, and using it daily. Your doctor would most likely add a steroid inhaler to reduce the increased lung inflammation, as well as the oral medication montelukast.
  Bottom line, getting that cat is like holding your hand above the burner on your oven. ,You are only hurting yourself.

Sorry, I know how important pet companionship can be at this stage of life, but there are dogs with less allergy creating dander, such as Soft Coated Wheaton Terriers, Poodles, and a few others, that may be more suitable.

Sincerely,

Marc

Asthma

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Marc Rubin, RPh Asthma Educator

Expertise

I have worked directly with patients as well as caregivers for over 30 years. Have made presentations throughout Illinois educating school nurses as well as the teaching and coaching staff of public schools about asthma, and how they should respond to these students needs. Presented a public education program on asthma through the US Department of Public Health. Specialize in helping guide asthmatic patients to take control of their disease in order to live a near-normal, fully active life.

Experience

Practicing pharmacist for 40 years, specializing in asthma and COPD for 12 years. Developed nationwide education to nurses, teachers and athletic coaches regarding asthma and exercise induced bronchospasm. In addition, and closer to home. my daughter has asthma, and my son has exercise induced bronchospasm. In addition, I serve on the boards and committees of a number of asthma organizations: Sports, Exercise and Fitness Committee of AAAAI, Population Health Committee and Sports Medicine Committee of ACAAI, Sports Medicine Committee of the World Allergy Association. Board of Directors of the Chicago Asthma Consortium, Board of Directors of the Christopher D. Redding Youth Asthma Foundation, as well as the advisory board of a medical education company, Emmi Solutions. Directly involved in the creation of public education programs for asthma, COPD and diabetes.

Organizations
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology / Sports Medicine Committee, American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology / Population Health Committee and Sports Medicine, American College of Chest Physicians, American Thoracic Society. World Allergy Association, Chicago Asthma Consortium / Professional Development Committee, Christopher D. Redding Youth Asthma Foundation, and Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago: Development Committee for AE-C prep class, and presenter.

Publications
AAAAI PowerPoint on the new guidelines for EIB (Exercise Induced Bronchospasm), AAAAI Powerpoint on Asthma in School Setting for Teachers and Coaches, Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology: Transition guide for teens with food allergies or asthma going out of the home to live independantly.

Education/Credentials
BScPharm, RPh, (NAECB Certified asthma educator in 2002), NIPCO Certified Respiratory Care Pharmacist

Past/Present Clients
Emmi Solutions, Chicago Next Level Health, Chicago

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