Dear Readers: Many readers expressed opinions — and offered tips for coping — on the subject of allergies when visiting family and friends during the holidays, or just visiting friends in general. Thank you for many wonderful suggestions to help others who suffer from similar allergies.
Here is a sampling:
Dear Annie: I read your column all the time, and this is the first time I have written to you. When my husband and I moved to a rural community in 2003, I was very allergic to cats and horses. My nose would plug up; my eyes would water; I would be sneezing and blowing my nose constantly whenever I was around animals. I was miserable!
Then I discovered something called Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Techniques. Through a NAET practitioner, I was desensitized and no longer am allergic to these animals. It took a few months, but it is amazing. There are no pharmaceuticals involved whatsoever.
I highly recommend that people with any type of allergy look this up on the internet. NAET treatments are noninvasive, drug-free solutions and have worked for me, and for friends, for years on many different types of allergies.
— No More Animal Allergies
Dear Annie: You suggested that “Allergic” ask her aunt to board the cats and pay the expense, but anyone with a cat allergy knows, myself included, that cats leave dander everywhere. It’s impossible to remove it because it’s not the cat fur that allergy sufferers are allergic to; it is the dried cat saliva proteins (so gross, I know).
Cat owners’ homes become covered in those ultra-fine saliva particles, and it’s hard to escape them.
Instead of spending money on boarding, suggest that she check if her hotel has a party room to book or if there is a cabin or Airbnb option near her aunt’s house where she could book with her parents.
She’d get more time with her aging parents; she won’t spend the day alone; it would be cat-free; and as a bonus, the holiday would not be at her aunt’s house with her outdated patriarchal rules.
It’s a multiwin situation. Hope this helps her have a happier holiday!
— A New Site
Dear Annie: I can empathize with “Allergic to Thanksgiving.” I’m a lifelong allergy sufferer who has only improved in recent years with modern antihistamines. I once spent a Christmas in France outside Paris (literally) at my sister-in-law’s house where I was too allergic to their cat for me to be in the house at all. I sat outside a glass door in 30-degree weather, read a book and waved occasionally.
Has “Allergic” discussed this with a board-certified allergist? There are many modern treatments that can greatly reduce one’s histamine reaction to allergens.
Cat dander has a very light molecular weight — think invisible, microscopic dust blowing through the house. Removing the cat and cleaning is not going to clear out the remnant dander, especially in winter if the house has thick rugs, curtains and sofas.
“Allergic” has to decide whether she really wants to bear another year’s exposure to an allergen that will likely lay her low for a couple of days. Could she meet some of her relatives the day after in a different location?
— Allergic and Empathetic
Dear Annie: I wanted to reach out to you regarding your advice to the woman who was experiencing great difficulty with her allergies at her aunt’s home on Thanksgiving. You suggested her aunt board the cats.
My husband suffers from a severe cat allergy. Well-intentioned people are falsely under the impression that simply removing the cats to another room while the person with allergies is there will do the trick. It does not.
The cat’s dander is present everywhere, regardless of how clean the home is. You just cannot vacuum it out of existence.
My mother used to put her cats in the bedroom, to zero effect. My husband would leave every holiday and be sick for days after.
My only suggestion is to go out for Thanksgiving dinner or have it somewhere cat-neutral.
— Been There