Testing for allergies

My 5 yr old daughter has asthma with the symptoms being mainly night-time coughing and some daytime coughing occasionally. She has the brown and blue inhalers plus a steroid nasal spray. I am keen to get her tested for some common allergies particularly cats as I'd hoped to get a cat. I seem to be fobbed off quite a bit by the doctors about getting allergy testing done so wondered if you well-informed people could tell me 1) if it's worth getting her tested or whether it will just tell me she's allergic to dust in which case I will be a slave to cleaning! and 2) if it's really common that asthma sufferers tend to be allergic to cats (she had a sleepover at a friend's house at the weekend and the friend has a cat. I noticed my daughter coughing more but she does have a cold so I suppose I want a definitive answer). Thanks for any advice

6 Replies

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  • Hi VanWestGold,

    I'm afraid that cats, more correctly cat dander, is a very, very common trigger for asthmatics. The same is true of house dust, or more correctly dust mites.

    I've suffered from asthma pretty much all my life (I'm now in my fifties). I am allergic to both cats and house dust; cats are not allowed in this house. I don't consider myself a slave to housework, but then I know what having a full blown asthma attack is like. I've been on the receiving end of an emergency call out to a doctor at 4am in the morning when the bed I was sleeping in (in a friend's house in student digs thirty odd years ago) turned out to be riddled with dust mites. Yes, I have to hoover and dust my house on a weekly basis, but I'm all too well aware of what could happen if I don't; in the UK alone 3 people die of asthma every day.

    I know it seems hard, but the consequences of not living within the limits set by the condition can be devastating.

  • Hi I dont know if you can eliminate the dust and spores that are around as well and anything else you could be allergic to. I think you just got to have a good plan of action and things to do and take as soon as she feels something bubbling. Any animal and their dander can affect her, as can the weather, I am always worse in the rain as it releases spores. I have been in friends houses and had no idea what I have been allergic to. I know what you mean by the limits I have been retired from my job that I studied for so hard, twelve years early cos of my asthma.

  • You can't completely eliminate dust, you can only reduce it to manageable levels.

    I had just started on a follow up post to the one I did above when your post came through, so I'll make the points I was going to make in that one here:-).

    Night time coughing and/or wheezing is not uncommon in asthmatics. There are a few things I do to help with this:

    1). Don't put radiators on in an asthmatic's bedroom. Actually, we don't have radiators on in any bedroom in the house. Radiators are very effective dust traps and having them on radiates any dust caught in them round the room along with heat. Also, my understanding is that dust mites thrive in a warm environment. For elsewhere in the house you can get radiator brushes to help manage radiator dust, but make sure you dampen them before using them, or you will just dislodge the dust and it will fly around in the air before settling somewhere else.

    2) Wipe down any condensation that has formed on the windows overnight to discourage mould. Mould is another common trigger for asthmatics and it likes a damp environment. Also open bedroom windows every morning (even if it's sub zero outside) for ideally at least an hour to air the bedroom thoroughly.

    3). Every morning, throw back the bed clothes, and hump up pillows to form an arch so that air can circulate round them to air out the bed thoroughly.

    4) I know it's tempting to do so, but don't store toys etc under the bed. Firstly they act as dust traps, and secondly they impede air flow when trying to air the bed.

    5) ideally put down hard flooring in an asthmatic's bedroom to help minimise dust levels.

    6) wash soft toys regularly (particularly toys that your daughter likes to take to bed).

    We also keep bedroom doors shut during the day to keep them cool. I acknowledge that the thought of going to bed in a cold bedroom in the winter is not enticing, so what we do is to open the bedroom doors about an hour before bedtime to allow warmth from the rest of the house to take the worst of the chill off.

    Hope some of this helps.

  • I have a cat and wouldn't be without her. I was allergy tested years ago and is not complicated procedure. Prior to getting the cat I double checked that I wasn't allergic. I agreed to look after a friends cat whilst she went on holiday for a week. Had no ill effects. Some cats (depending on breed) cause less effect than others. Even though I was certain I would be ok I deliberately chose a short hair cat so she would leave less fur around!! I also have wooden floors that can be cleaned easily and quickly.

    Hope you are able to sort a pet that suitable for you and your daughter.

  • Our daughter, who started asthma when very small, is now in her thirties. She adores cats and so we had them, but it did affect her asthma a bit. She looked into Siberian cats that often are less allergenic, and it has worked for her. She can cuddle with this cat with no ill effects. However, even though the breed is known for it, some are more allergenic than others, so even with them test it with one before getting one. Some breeders allow people to come and test.

  • Try testing for sure . Try a diary free diet with her also theres always triggers that atleast make it worse

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