All About Horse Allergies

Allergies to horses are less familiar when compared to cat or dog allergies. However, they do exist and they can cause a lot of discomfort. Horse allergy is caused due to the dander which is produced by the horse. It can cause watery and itchy eyes, runny nose, hives, rashes, and wheezing/sneezing.

What Causes Horse Allergies?

Horse dander is the tiny flakes of skin which is shed by the horses. This dander contains proteins, which can trigger an allergic response. Horse saliva and urine can also trigger an allergic reaction.

People usually experience horse allergy when they ride a horse or come in close contact with the horse. Coming in contact with clothing and horse-riding gear carrying the dander can also cause allergies.

In certain cases, people would be allergic to the mold present in the barn rather than the horse itself. Getting tested can help in determining the hidden allergens which are causing your allergies.

Symptoms of Horse Allergies:

  • Watery, itchy eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing, coughing, wheezing
  • Hives and rashes
  • Itchy skin
  • Difficulty breathing

Allergy Testing:

If you think you have horse allergies, you can get yourself tested. Skin prick test is a simple test which involves placing the horse allergen on your skin. If you are allergic to horses, there would be a weal in the location. In the same way, you can also get tested if any other substance is causing your allergies. You can also get a blood test (RAST) to get yourself tested for allergies.

Preventing Horse Allergies:

Here are a few tips to prevent horse allergies:

  • Avoid close contact with horses
  • Vacuum clean your home, especially the carpets using a HEPA-enabled vacuum cleaner
  • Wash your hair and clothing immediately after you come home. The horse dander can stick to the clothing and cause allergies. Washing can help in getting rid of the allergens
  • Use air filters to get rid of airborne allergens
  • Keep away from the horse riding gear. If a person comes after being in contact with horses, avoid meeting him/her immediately

Treating Horse allergy:

Epinephrine can help in overcoming severe allergic reactions. The horse allergic individuals can carry self-injectable epinephrine such as Epi-Pen. Your doctor can also prescribe anti-histamines and corticosteroids to treat the allergic reaction. However, avoiding horses can help in overcoming allergies to a great extent.

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