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Thread: Guinea Pig Allergies! Help!

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    Cavy Slave
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    Guinea Pig Allergies! Help!

    I just got allergy tested, and was told I am allergic to guinea pigs and to hay.

    Any tips on how to handle these allergies?? I take a Claritin a day and use a steroid nasal spray. I will start steroid shots in a month or so for the grass/hay allergies but not guinea pigs.

    How do other guinea pig owners handle life with pigs when you are allergic?????

    Thanks!

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    Cavy Slave kanojochan's Avatar
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    Re: Guinea Pig Allergies! Help!

    Is it a specific type of hay that you're allergic to? I'm allergic to timothy hay and when I switched the orchard grass, my world was all gravy again. See if you do better with different types of hay.

    As far as your allergies to the piggies, wash you hands/arms/wherever you come into contact with them after handling. Maybe use a towel or blanket to hold them so you're not in direct contact with them all the time.

    Also, an air purifier would be a great help in filtering out allergens. And odors, too!

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    Cavy Slave LucidCavies's Avatar
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    Re: Guinea Pig Allergies! Help!

    I would suggest switching hay and try an ointment if it is hives that are doing the damage

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    Cavy Slave RainyDay's Avatar
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    Re: Guinea Pig Allergies! Help!

    As a teen, I had mild allergies to guinea pigs. Whenever I handled them or cleaned the cage, I would get a rash that took anywhere from a few hours to several days to go away. A few years ago my doctor put me on some meds and a fancy injection thing that's completely kept the allergies away. Even if you are only allergic to piggies and hay, trust me, cutting back on dust helps. A few things to try:

    -Clean the cage often. Personally, I found contact with dirty bedding to cause the worst rashes. Wear gloves when cleaning the cage. You can get a small handheld vacuum and suck up poops daily.

    -Keep the cage in a nice, open, airy room. Open windows and doors during the cooler parts of the day, and try an air purifier. Designate "piggy free" areas of the house, where pigs never ever, ever go. Don't keep the cage in your bedroom. That is a foolproof way of worsening your allergies, and increasing the number of sleepless nights.

    -If you aren't using it already, try fleece. Shavings=dust. Dust=bad. I'm actually fine with shavings, but recently switched and there really is a positive difference.

    -Choose good, clean, soft, sweet smelling hay. No dust, no mold. You'll find that everyone's allergic to bad hay, but less people are allergic to good hay. Try different varieties to see if there's one you aren't allergic to.

    -Decrease piggy to skin contact. Try handling using towels/cuddle cups, like an above poster suggested. Wash your hands often. Garden gloves are your new best friend.

    -Keep the piggies clean and make sure their skin is healthy. Mites, skin fungus etc are bad bad bad. I brush mine with horse face brushes, a slightly stiff brush and a very soft goat hair one. Less dead skin and loose fur is good. You can brush them outside if you want.

    -Last and most importantly (I don't care if I've said this already), CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN. Clean is your friend. Your absolute best friend. Clean is GOOD. You love clean. I love clean. We all love clean. Dust is bad. Loose fur is bad. Dirt is bad. Bad bad BAD. Yes, I'm a neat freak, but it helps my allergies SO much. Sweep and vacuum and wipe the piggy area as often as you can.

    Good luck! I know how icky allergies are.

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    Cavy Slave PrincessAngel's Avatar
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    Re: Guinea Pig Allergies! Help!

    Do you have the list of the allergens they tested? I'm allergic to all grass EXCEPT Timothy and Orchard grass which is extremely weird! The most common hay allergy is Timothy, I'm extremely allergic to bluegrass (my pigs will never get that luxury hay!). I am also allergic to my pigs but only a little. I have an air filter in my room. It's a Holmes brand, we them onsale at walmart for maybe $30 or $35, the actual filters are kinda pricy but they work extremely well.

    The only time my allergies get really bad is if my bale of hay has a lot of weeds or bluegrass/bermuda in it. As far as the guinea pigs I keep them away from my face and neck, and really any skin, they make me itch and I get hives. Do depending on how severe your allergies are determine your course of action with your piggies! I'm not sure how your allergic graded reactions, but mine was from 0-4, 4 being worst and guinea pigs are a 1 and some hay and the weeds found in hay are 3.

    As much as I hate allergies, I hate tagging meds more. I take benadryl if I am having a bad reaction (I'm super allergic to all trees and am not supposed to eat raw fruit but sometimes do, it's not worth it!) And I take the steroid nasal spray mostly in spring. Other than that I find most allergy meds don't work. Benadryl is definitely my go to, never fail drug of choice! Claritin, allegra, zertec, do nothing. Keeping the pigs cage clean helps and keeping the area around them clean helps too.

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