Question: We recently discovered that our son (he's 4) is allergic to our house cat, but we don't want to give up the pet. Are allergy shots the best way to go, and do they pose any long-term risks?
Dr. Hibberd's answer:
You need to give up your pet cat. Your 4-year-old child is allergic to your cat, or at least to pet dander. You need to make alternate living arrangements for your cat — or your child.
When avoidance management has failed, immune therapy with allergy shots might be considered, but it would be a travesty to subject your child to allergy shots when you haven't even tried minimizing your child’s exposure to an allergen.
Often immune tolerance develops as our immune system matures. Some people who were allergic to cats as children can be comfortable in a house full of cats as adults.
Immunotherapy is for those with advancing symptoms despite avoidance and are not to be used for your convenience so you can have a cat at home.
Allergy shots have their place for use in children. How foolish (and sad) would you feel if your child had a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction because you decided to keep exposing him to a known allergen. I believe your choices are clear.
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