This past week the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology had their annual meeting in Boston. The Academy estimates that 40 to 50 million Americans suffer from asthma or allergic diseases. Asthma rates alone have more than tripled in 25 years, now affecting 22 million people. A recent article USA Today article titled, “Allergies triggered by ‘things we love’ are rising,” suggests that pets may be having an increased effect on our allergies.
It is estimated that 90% of homes have significant levels of dog and cat hair – even in those homes that don’t have a pet! How can that be? Pet dander is easily transferred from the pet owner’s clothing to other places they visit. Studies were done in Scandinavia and here in the USA have shown that school children without pets still had a measurable amount of pet dander in their home, transferred to them at school from classmates with pets at home.
The bottom line is that it is very difficult to control or reduce animal dander exposure. The widespread distribution of cat and dog allergens was demonstrated in several studies that checked levels in schools and other public buildings. The researchers found high levels of cat and dog allergens in schools and on the clothing of school children. Notably, even children who didn’t own pets were found to have significant levels of allergen on their clothes which they brought into their homes.
What to do About Pet Allergies?
Allergists that see patients with allergies and asthma caused by their family pet typically recommend removing the pet from the home – this is sensible but sometimes emotionally very difficult. Dr. Dana Wallace, the president of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology admits that “in 30 years of practice, I can count on one hand the number who have willingly given up a pet.” I can confirm her experience, but I disagree with Dr. Wallace, who says that allergy shots are the only alternative.
I typically see patients that either have a cat or dog that one of the family members is allergic to, or I see patients that are in a relationship with someone that has a pet that is causing tension. For these patients, I feel comfortable offering them the choice of sublingual allergy immunotherapy, more commonly known as Allergy drops. In my book, Dr. Dean Mitchell’s Allergy and Asthma Solution, I describe how children and adults can reverse their allergies by using allergy drops safely at home. A study published in the journal Allergy in 2007 by Alvarez-Cuesta showed how sublingual immunotherapy to cat dander extract reduced nose, eye, and asthma symptoms.
How Allergy Drops Work for Dog and Cat Allergies
Even the worst allergy cases see a dramatic improvement with this type of allergy treatment and kids love it because they don’t have to suffer through painful shots. Plus it is safe, effective and simple to use in the convenience of your own home.
With allergy immunotherapy or allergy drops treatment, we gradually build up your immune system with protective blocking antibodies through daily doses of the allergen which we gradually make stronger. The stimulation of the immune system creates a shift in the immune balance to block allergy symptoms instead of developing such symptoms. With allergy drops you get small, safe doses of medication that is one hundred times higher which leads to immune protection.
Cat Allergy Treatment Story
A man in his 30’s once came to see me because his fiancée had 3 cats and every time he went to her apartment he started wheezing and needed to use an inhaler to control his symptoms. His fiancée was also a patient of mine and I knew that it would be difficult for her to give up the three cats she had had for some many years. He tested positive for cat allergens, I treated him with allergy drops, and his symptoms abated. The couple got married and now, even with his increased his exposure to cats, his symptoms are minimal and getting better with time. He did the full course of the allergy drops treatment for 3 years and he was able to stop using any medications to control his allergies. Several years went by after he had finished his treatment and, by chance, I ran into him outside my office one day. We exchanged pleasantries and I asked him how he was doing. He responded, “Good and bad.” The bad news was that he and his wife had divorced, but the good news was that he got to keep the cats… “That’s the good news?” I asked. He responded, “Yes, now that I’m no longer allergic to them I didn’t want to lose them…”
I can’t always guarantee results, but I have had a lot of nice outcomes like the one I described above!
Cat and dog allergies don’t have to end badly… Allergy drops can help!
Dr. Dean Mitchell M.D.
Mitchell Medical Group, NYC & Long Island