ZocdocAnswersCan I still have cats even though I am allergic to them?

Question

Can I still have cats even though I am allergic to them?

My allergist says I have a cat allergy but I own two cats. I never had any problems with them as far as sneezing or anything. Can I still keep them? Will it do more and more damage to me if I keep the cats and I have an allergy?

Answer

This depends quite a lot on what types of allergic symptoms you have and what complications they have given you. I suggest that you ask your allergist specifically what they think, as they will be the ones most able to give you a good answer, since they known your specific situation well. If, for example, you have asthma, and the asthma is made worse by your allergy to cats, then this is a serious problem. Asthma flares are a leading cause of death and hospitalization, even in otherwise healthy people. For many people, getting their asthma under control requites eliminating exposures to allergens, such as pet dander. On the other hand, if you just have mild allergic rhinitis (nasal allergies), then it is unlikely that your allergy will cause significant serious problems for you. However, if you continue to be around cats, you will likely continue to suffer from the symptoms, such as sneezing and nasal congestion and itching. Talk to your allergy doctor at your earliest convenience. They will help explain to you the risks and benefits of continuing to be exposed to cats, and they will be able to make a recommendation about what they think you should do for your health.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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