For years I worried people thought my extreme avoidance of allergens was melodramatic. Over time I realized I simply have to take care of myself and not worry about what other people think. One too many trips to the ER to get nebulized after pet-friendly birthday parties, sleep overs, even renting (and subsequently having to relinquish an apartment whose previous tenants had cats) finally made me the vigilant and self-protective person I am today.
I can't even set a toe in a house with a cat or dog, sit on furniture that once belonged to a pet owner or ride in cars covered in pet hair. My coworkers with cats make me sneeze when they sit close to me for long periods. I always call ahead to hotels to ensure my room has not recently been occupied by anyone traveling with a pet.
My dad is dating a vet and my mom fell in love with a man whose furniture is covered in dog dander from decades of pet ownership. My boyfriend's parents, many of my friends, aunts, uncles and coworkers have cats and dogs. It's an endless battle and can be quite anxiety provoking. I just meet people at restaurants, have friends over to my place or stay in hotels. Fortunately, I think people are starting to get a better grasp on the potential severity of allergy attacks, due in large part to a culture-wide acknowledgement of anaphylactic food allergy reactions.
You just need to explain that it's not as simple as taking a Benadryl or Prenidsone and educate your friends and family. No one who loves you wants you to be filled to the gills with Presnidone, voluntarily shutting down your own adrenal glands, or miserable with several days of residual sneezing, itchy eyes or wheezing just to go to a dinner party-