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Ask the Allergist

Ask the Allergist

Is My Boyfriend Tracking Pet Dander with Him, Causing My Flare-Ups?

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I started dating someone with a cat. My allergy symptoms have gotten way worse since then. My eczema is all over my body and my asthma flares up more often. My symptoms still persist even if I stop going to his house. Is it possible that his clothes, skin, and/or hair are putting me into contact with the pet dander and continuing my flare-ups?

Yes, it is very likely that there is cat dander on his clothes, and possibly his skin, and hair. This is because the cat is in his home, in areas such as his bed and closet.

Cat dander allergen is very β€œsticky” and tenacious. It can remain on surfaces, such as bedding, clothing, walls, carpets, and upholstered furniture. Exposure to this cat dander allergen can worsen your allergy and asthma symptoms.

Environmental control measures can be taken to help with this exposure. Unfortunately, it may not eliminate this issue. Elimination of this exposure would be ideal, but may not be practical in your case.

You would benefit from a formal allergy evaluation to discuss your symptoms, allergy testing, and possible treatments.

Allergy, Asthma, Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema), 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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