Thursday, 2 May 2013

Dust & Cat Allergies

So the inevitable has happened - my skin has flared and left me in a bad way. Ugh.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was going to visit my family up north because I haven't seen them for a while and I needed to sort through my old bedroom. Unfortunately hotel prices were ridiculously high for when I had planned to visit so I stayed with my Uncle who lives in a pet free house. My Mum helped to clean and tidy it before my stay to prevent me from reacting to any potential dust.

For her own home, she attempted to make it a cat-free zone for the duration of my stay; locking the cats in the utility room with the freedom to go outside. I felt so cruel for allowing her to do this as they are rescue cats and became really upset and indeed vocal that they were being abandoned. It was heartbreaking. Cats are my favourite animals after all and I hate the idea of allowing them to be upset, but at the end of the day my health is more important.

Benny boy on the window sill - I hadn't realised I'd got such a hilarious photo of him LOL

My Mum hoovered the entire house, paying close attention to textile areas, such as removing the blinds and placing an abundance of carrier bags and whatever plastic she could find over the top of the bed to stop me reacting.

I didn't enter her house until the second day of my visit to withhold from a potential reaction occurring; loaded up on antihistamines. We even took further precautions by purchasing dust masks and cotton gloves to enable me to look through my belongings without touching or breathing in allergens that would cause an asthma attack or flare of the skin. I looked ridiculous and felt ridiculous that I needed to go to such extremes but they did help to an extent. It wasn't until after an hour of being in the room that I bent down to look through a wardrobe that my poor eyes that had been unprotected had a reaction and all of a sudden I had to be out of there. My eyelids were weeping. 

Me donning mask and gloves

Me when I got home. Annoyingly my phone has made it look less severe than it was but I must stress that my face was clear and pale the day before.

The positives that can be brought to light are that I was still able to look through my things albeit for a short period of time whilst wearing the dust mask and gloves as they minimised my exposure. I should also be thankful that I didn't need to use the EpiPen or need to be rushed to hospital due to the lengths my Mum had gone to make the house more "Jenny Friendly". My asthma did flare whilst I was there but I only needed to take my inhaler a minimal amount of times compared to previous visits where I would take it countless times (naughty, naughty!).

Fortunately I had a text from a colleague last night asking if I could start work 3 hours later today which I am more than thankful for as I am in desperate need of the extra recovery time. A blessing in disguise really!

Hope everyone else's eczema/ allergies are behaving today :)


  1. Cats, man...they are a terrible source of allergens. So sorry they are causing trouble for you.

    1. I know, it's so sad :( I think what makes it worse for me is that I've grown up always having them in the house and to all of a sudden become so allergic for reasons unknown to me, is frustrating as hell.

  2. Hi Jenny, well your Mum certainly went to great rounds creating a dust and pet free zone.Even reading the length she went to is exhausting.I hope you enjoyed her company regardless of that flare up:(You are really great to cope.I really hope you have it under control again.Well I have had a miserable few days...The ugly herpes virus broke out on my eyelid, sides of nose ,in nose and on chin.I blame a hayfever itchy eyes and nose episode for bringing it on.Have started to take photos so when the album gets fuller I shall email them to you and at least you can see you are not alone:))))Overall I feel the antihistamines are not strong enough at the moment so cannot wait for next hospital visit.Take care, Aoibheann x

    1. Hey Aoibheann! She certainly did :) The thing that kind of makes me laugh is that in the beginning my family thought I was just avoiding going home during my duration of University, despite seeing how I reacted when I did go home. I think they were just in denial about my condition, not wanting the extremities of it to be true. I did have a wonderful time with her though and it was also lovely to see my brother's family. My niece and nephew are growing up so fast and I've barely been able to be there to see them.

      I'm so sorry to hear that you've contracted the herpeticum again :( it truly is the worst! Quite scary though that for you it is only hay fever that has brought it on. I find that I have to be really ill and run down before it rears it's ugly head. I hope it hurries up and goes away again soon for you.

      Ah, I look forward to seeing your photos, and I mean that in the least weird way! You take care too and I hope you get some respite xx

  3. Ouch! You poor thing. Your eyes look so sore and itchy.

    I love cats too. It must be heartbreaking for you not to be able to touch them.

    Damned allergies. I wish science could come up with a cure for us all. It always seems the case that we are allergic to things we like!

    Wishing you well and hoping you get some relief soon. X

    1. Thanks Louise :) It does absolutely suck that it has had such an effect on my life, meaning I can't go to some of my loved one's homes because they own pets. Rubbish.

      Hopefully science will make a breakthrough soon. My boyfriend is actually raising money for that very cause by running 1000km :)

      Hope you are well? x

  4. Hi Jenny,

    Ooh, that looks sore :( I found your blog searching for guidance on how to help my 1 year old daughter who flares like your pictures only all over her body - its really distressing! I found it so hard to find things that can soothe her and help her that I decided to collate an online library of products for eczema, where fellow sufferers can add products they have found, and review them so others can know if it works / doesn't work and so on...
    Would love it if you could support us, either by adding products or reviewing them? My email is
    Leyla x

    1. Hi Leyla,

      Thanks for your comment :)I'm sorry to hear your daughter is going through this too. Whilst I think your online library is a good idea, every individual's eczema is different as to what causes it and what exacerbates it. So in that line of thought, medication also works differently for different people. I do think it is a good idea to keep one specifically for your daughter though and I wish you all the best in finding products that do work.

      I will however email you some of the things that have worked/ haven't for me (if I can remember everything!) though.


  5. That was really unfortunate. It must be frustrating to take a number of precautions, only for them to fail eventually. Have you tried using allergen neutralizing substances on your pets? That could help mitigate the effects of the allergen on you, especially considering that your Mom has a number of cats in her house.

    Jessica Finley

  6. Ouch!! It's as if I can almost feel the sting. I have a cat and dogs, and It's a good thing I'm not allergic to them. I feel sorry that you won't be able to cuddle up with the little furballs. Although, I'm very much allergic to dust and pollen and pretty much doing what your mom is doing when you visited but at routine intervals. I also installed a centralized air filter/purifier in my house to control the allergen. It's good that I had mine controlled, but I do hope someday they'd make a permanent cure to auto-immune conditions.

    Dennis Day @