Many people suffer from animal allergies, most often to pets like cats and dogs. However, horse allergies may also cause many allergy symptoms which can cause significant discomfort.
The most common allergies associated with horses are those associated with their dander (flakes of skin that horses shed); however, horse urine and saliva may also trigger allergic reactions. For people with severe horse allergies, even contact with an item (such as clothing) that carries horse dander may cause allergy symptoms. Those with asthma are at a higher risk of suffering severe symptoms if exposed to allergens and should therefore take precautions when in contact with any possible allergy triggers.
Symptoms of horse allergies include:
- Irritated or watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Nasal congestion
Asthma patients allergic to horses may suffer an asthma attack including wheezing, shortness of breath, or tightening of the chest. Children with asthma should be carefully monitored to avoid contact with allergens in order to minimize risk of attack. In all cases, an asthma attack should be followed by immediate medical attention.
Causes of Horse Allergies
Like other allergies, a horse allergy is triggered when the immune system treats a substance (called an allergen) as a threat. The immune system responds by releasing histamines which can result in the above symptoms. Antihistamines sometimes lower the effects of allergens, but in the case of extreme allergies other treatments are often needed to attain significant long-term relief of symptoms.
Avoidance with the allergen, in this case horses, minimizes risk, but because reactions to allergens can be severe, even life-threatening (in the case of anaphylaxis), it is important to know what you and your loved ones are allergic to. Knowing what can happen and how to respond keeps you healthy, safe, and prepared for whatever situations may arise.
Dr. Laura Ispas-Ponas is an expert in animal allergies and other immunological conditions. Let our years of knowledge and expert care assist you in overcoming your allergy symptoms. Give us a call to take the next step in allergy relief.