According to the AAFA (Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America), 15–30% of people have pet allergies, with cats being the most common culprit. Cats produce a substance called Fel D1 in their saliva and urine and under their skin. When exposed to Fel D1, people with cat allergies produce histamine, which causes sneezing, runny nose, congestion, and watery eyes.
If you suffer from cat allergies, you may be hesitant at the thought of being a house guest in a home that has cats. Fortunately, there are a several ways that you can prepare yourself for your excursion into the world of cat-dom. Here are a few ideas.
Start Using Fluticasone Nasal Spray
Fluticasone nasal spray is a steroid that relieves the allergy symptoms by blocking the release of histamine, chemokines, cytokines, leukotrienes, prostaglandins, and tryptases. These are the natural substances that your body releases when your allergy to cats is triggered. Therefore, this nasal spray is more than just an antihistamine, and that means you should find relief when using it. This type of medication can be found over the counter and as a prescription medication.
It's important to use the nasal spray as directed by your physician or by following the package directions. This is not a rescue medication and should be taken on a daily basis. It's a good idea to start using the nasal spray at least several days before you are a house guest in a home with cats.
Pack a Rescue Antihistamine
Antihistamines block histamines in a similar way as fluticasone nasal spray, but they are not steroids. This medication is designed to act quickly to relieve your allergy symptoms. Benadryl is one popular brand and comes in liquid and capsule forms.
Keep a supply of a rescue antihistamine in your luggage. If you expect your allergies to be severe, especially if the house has multiple cats or the person you are visiting isn't a good housekeeper, you may want to keep a dose or two of this rescue antihistamine on your person at all times. This medication can also be purchased over the counter or as a prescription medication.
Be Careful of What You Do
While you are in a home with cats, you'll want to be careful of what you do. Try not to sit on anything soft, particularly upholstered furniture, as cat dander and fur tends to stick on such surfaces. Remember to not touch your hands to your face and to avoid touching your nose and eyes.
Wash your hands regularly while being careful to scrub underneath your fingernails and in between your fingers. Use paper towels to dry your hands so you don't inadvertently use a towel that has cat dander on it. It's a good idea to pack a towel and washcloth for the same reason.
Use a HEPA Air Cleaner
Since you'll probably be spending the most cumulative hours in the room where you'll be sleeping each night, you'll want to be sure that room has as little cat dander as possible. A HEPA air cleaner can remove some of the cat dander from the air. Your host may already have one in their home. If not, there are small models available, and they can easily be placed in your luggage.
If necessary, pack a personal-size HEPA air cleaner to plug in and use in the room where you'll sleep. Keep this plugged in and running throughout each night. If possible, turn it on each evening several hours before you call it a night and crawl into bed. Be sure to clean the air filter in the device before you return to your home.