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Ask the Allergist

Ask the Allergist

How Can My Family Avoid Tracking Cat Dander Into My In-Laws House?

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My in-laws are allergic to cats. Our family has considered getting a cat. Are there things we can do to minimize our children tracking pet dander into their house?

Some people with cat allergies can have very severe allergy symptoms to cats. Symptoms can include swelling and itching of the eyes and nose, stuffy nose, hives, and runny nose. In rare cases, exposure to cat allergens can trigger an anaphylactic reaction, which can be life-threatening. It is important to have a discussion with everyone involved to reach a reasonable, and safe solution.

There are a few measures you could take to prevent any transfer of cat allergens between the two homes. Cat allergens are very sticky. They can be found in places where pets have never been. They can stick to clothing, shoes, walls, and furniture.

  • Change your clothes and shoes when you arrive at your in-law's house. Store the changed clothes and shoes in an appropriate zipped-up bag.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Use an air cleaner with a HEPA filter to help filter out any residual cat allergen in the air.
  • Vacuum your home once or twice a week using a vacuum with a HEPA filter. This helps to reduce the allergens in your home.
  • Use Certified asthma and allergy-friendly air filters to help remove any residual cat allergen in the air.
Allergy, Pet Allergy
Answered by

John M. James, MD, is a board-certified allergist. He is also President of Food Allergy Consulting and Education Services, LLC. He has worked as a medical specialist in the field of allergy, asthma, and immunology for over 30 years. Dr. James received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas and his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Tennessee. He is board certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology.

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