On allergies and asthma… I’m not a dog hater!

Fido (winter)
Yeah, he’s cute, but I don’t want him in my office. (Photo credit: Hlusta)

Will someone kindly tell me why we have done things like banned peanut butter in schools because of severe respiratory allergies in children, but more and more companies are signing on to the “bring your pet to work” bandwagon?

Ummm… for the record, unless you keep Fido in your (closed) office with you (and your office has an amazing air-filtration system), and never ever parade your furry friend through the office, he’s dropping dander everywhere. I don’t care how clean he is, or how much you brush him, or how “hypoallergenic” a breed he supposedly is. For me, and many others like me, he’s a trigger.

On a good day, when there are no other allergens and irritants around, I can handle dogs in small doses. I make sure to keep my distance. I wash my hands if I touch them. I make sure I’ve got an inhaler handy, just in case.

On a bad day, where there are other things going on, like pollutants, other allergens, lots of stress, recovering from a cold, etc, the very presence of something furry can send me into coughing fits and breathing spasms that my regular medications cannot touch.

Which means I am absolutely miserable until I can regain control of my breathing.

If I’m lucky, getting away from the irritant and taking my meds is enough. If it’s just a little bad, I can up the meds a bit and give it some time. When that fails, and it does fail, I’m stuck coughing, hacking, wheezing and not breathing until I can get to my doctor for something stronger – and that means steroids. Lots of steroids. Which means I don’t sleep. And other less than pleasant side effects.

But apparently, that’s OK because pets in the workplace are stress reducers! All the studies say so!

Apparently, children with allergies and asthma count, but adults with these conditions do not. Much like the child in school, I don’t have a whole lot of choice. Many employers are not exactly understanding and accommodating of the restrictions severe reactions place on their “pet friendly work places”. The choice becomes be an asshole about the situation, suffer and live (if you can call it living) on massive meds, or change jobs.

This is the life of an adult with severe allergic reactions and asthma.