Can You Be Allergic to Reptiles?
Reptiles can offer a unique and enjoyable pet-owning experience, fostering a unique bond that brings pleasure to both owner and pet. However, it is important to note that people can be allergic to reptiles. Allergies to reptiles are more common than people may think, and people who suffer from these allergies need to take special care around reptiles.
What Causes Reptile Allergies?
Every animal has a different set of allergens that can cause an allergic reaction in humans. Reptiles carry a variety of proteins in their fecal matter, saliva and even skin, scales and feathers that can cause an allergic reaction in some individuals. The most common allergen in reptiles is skin and fecal matter, as these components of a reptile are difficult to eliminate. These allergens are often released into the air, causing people who are sensitive to them to suffer from an allergic reaction.
Symptoms of a Reptile Allergy
There are several common symptoms of a reptile allergy. These include:
- Runny or itchy nose
- Itchy and watery eyes
- Difficulty breathing
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention right away. A physician can diagnose an allergy and work with you to create a plan to manage your symptoms.
Diagnosing Reptile Allergies
When diagnosing a reptile allergy, a physician will first ask a few questions about your health history and exposure to reptiles. They may also want to perform skin tests, blood tests and possibly other tests. The physician may then be able to diagnose the exact type of the reptile to which you are allergic.
How to Treat Reptile Allergies
The best way to treat an allergy to reptiles is to avoid exposure to them. This may mean you need to keep your reptile in an area of the home away from your bedroom, or keeping them outside. If you have an indoor reptile, you should make sure to clean the enclosure and surrounding area regularly, and use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to capture dander and other contaminants.
In addition to avoiding exposure, medications like antihistamines and decongestants can help ease the symptoms of a reptile allergy. However, it is important to talk to your doctor before taking any medications. Your doctor may also recommend immunotherapy, which consists of injecting small doses of the allergen over a period of time to desensitize the body to it.
Reptiles can be a great and rewarding pet, but it is important to consider any allergies one may have. People who suffer from allergies to reptiles should work with their doctor to find the best treatment options to maintain their health and lifestyle.