Bird allergy is a normal reaction of your body’s immune system to the feather dander, or more popularly known as feather dust, and droppings or fecal matter coming out of birds.
People who work closely with birds and those who take care of birds as pets are the most at risk to develop bird allergy. Farm workers, bird fanciers and zookeepers are the most common bird allergy patients in hospitals in the US alone.
However, medical statistics reveal that globally, the ratio of people allergic to birds are far lower compared to those allergic to other animals like dogs and cats.
Be also aware that bird allergy is an allergic reaction that indicates the immune system’s efforts to defend you from what it senses or perceives as a health threat. In reality, bird allergy should not be considered as a harmful or deadly disease. Take note that complications to bird allergy kill, not the bird allergy itself.
During the process of an on set of bird allergy, the feather dust becomes an allergen that is not wanted by the body’s system. When it manages to make a contact with your body, it will automatically trigger or cause the immune system to retaliate and produce antibodies or counter substances. Hence, you have the symptoms.
Symptoms of Bird Allergy
People with bird allergies exhibit manifestations or symptoms that are sometimes similar to those for hay fever or allergic rhinitis. It is alarming to know that most of the time, people with this allergy often ignore the onset of the symptoms thinking that these are just petty reaction to some weather or dust elements.
Symptoms for bird allergies can be divided into two groups. One, those symptoms that are considered lesser or less severe. These include watery eyes, sneezing, postnatal drips, sore throat, stuffy nose, coughing, hives itchy eyes and allergic shiners or the presence of black circles in the area below the eyes.
For the more serious form of bird allergies, the symptoms may vary. Take note that suffering from a severe attack of bird allergy can reduce your lung’s capacity, that may potentially pose a detriment not just to your health but also to your life.
Such symptoms may appear in a long term like two years of regular or constant exposure to allergy-causing birds like budgies and pigeons. In some cases, bird allergy appears after as long as 10 to 20 years after initial exposure to allergens.
Such cases are determined by finding the following symptoms in a patient: prolonged coughing, breathing difficulties occasions, occasional fever and chills, weight loss and dry cough that lasts for some time.
How Is Bird Allergy Treated?
Usually, your doctor will have to delve deeper into your medical records to determine or to make sure the disease is pin pointed at bird allergy.
Take note that most or basic symptoms of bird allergy are minor and therefore needs no further and serious medical treatment. Just like other allergies, bird allergy can disappear on its own without the help of any drug or treatment.
Avoiding or discontinuing exposure to allergens, in this case the birds and their feathers, will surely help cease the bird allergy attack.
Physicians often prescribe antihistamines, decongestants and corticosteroids to relieve the person from a bird allergy attack. Antihistamines block symptoms to allergic reactions, not just to birds, but also to all forms of allergies.
Decongestants relieve swelling of the nasal area and stops secretion of mucus or the stuff that runs through your nose when you have a bad cols. Corticosteroids are drugs that treat inflammation due to allergic and other medical reactions.
Allergy shots, of course, will also greatly help to curtail the onset of bird allergy.
The most effective measure to avoid bird allergy, if ever you are allergic to birds, is to avoid getting near these animals. Hygiene is the best combative defense against any form of diseases and will also be effective in fighting attacks of bird allergy.
I think it's funny that for dogs and cats, people sympathize for the pet, and suggest an allergy shot/medication first… Yet for birds, it's more common to suggest "avoiding the problem" aka, getting rid of your birds… Sad.
I was in an urgent care facility today for what seemed like a sudden asthma attack. Xrays and a pulse oxygen rate showed otherwise. The doctor called it a swelling in the larnyx and throat area and prescribed a steroid. The problem returned when I got home to my new bird that was purchased earlier today. Maybe I'm allergic to the bird. How can I know for sure?
Just reading this article confirms what I thought was happening.
I feed birds and squirrels in my back yard, daily. I have noticed this allergy attack such as sneezing, watery eyes, red inflamed eyes, some coughing usually within a few moments to 30 minutes or so after putting out food for them on my unused picnic table. I suspect droppings under the table and I do see some droppings on the table which I do try to stay clear of not to place my hands in or on the droppings. My husband poo pooded my thoughts when I had mentioned this bird poop as a possible allergy producer. I have used Claritin for minimal relief.