Monday, November 08, 2004

A Homeopathic Solution?

I got a lot of good advice from the About.com Cats forum members. One person even suggested that I try a homeopathic remedy called Bioallers.

I'm not the kind of person who's into health food or alternative medicine. The word "homeopathic" brings up images in my mind of hippies in tie die t-shirts eating wheat germ and listening to Joan Baez records. My idea of a healthy breakfast is a bag of fritos from the vending machine washed down with a can of diet coke. Nevertheless, I was intrigued by the idea of a remedy that is nothing more than condensed cat dander in liquid form.

The idea behind Bioallers is that exposing yourself to cat dander in small doses will build up your immune system and get you "used to" cat allergen. So I took a chance and bought a $9 bottle of Bioallers Animal Dander which I've been taking 3 times a day for the past two months now.

Over the past several weeks, I have conducted numerous experiments, testing my resistance to cat dander.

After I had been taking the Bioallers for a week, I went to an animal shelter and played with the cats for 30 minutes after which I felt nothing more than a slight tickle in my nose after I left. For me, this was a huge improvement, because when I have gotten sick from being with cats, my reaction was intense and nearly instantaneous.

Then, after about a month, I went to visit my Sister-in-Law who has two cats. My SIL's home is a very good simulation of what my apartment would be like if I adopted cats. She lives in a small apartment with a highly-allergic boyfriend, but she has used numerous methods to keep his allergies in check. Among her secrets:

  • Spraying her cats with Nature's Miracle dander-reducing spray on a regular basis
  • Covering her couch with a bedsheet when she is out of the house so cat hair stays on the sheets
  • Vacuuming Frequently
  • Using Air purifiers

I had almost no reaction at all at my SIL's apartment, even after petting her two cats. I sneezed once after petting her black cat, but I had a cold that weekend to start with. My eyes didn't itch at all. Was it her meticulous cleaning? Was it the Bioallers? Am I really not as allergic to cats as I thought? Whatever the case, I felt good about my ability to live with cats after that.

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