Just like with other animals, chickens are capable of triggering allergic reactions in some individuals. Always bear in mind that the saliva, urine and skin cells of feathered animals can instigate symptoms such as runny nose, itchy eyes and rashes. The excrement of chickens can also trigger allergic reactions in some highly sensitive individuals. Additionally, an allergy to live chickens can aggravate the symptoms of conditions such as asthma, rhinitis and eczema.
Even though there are no statistics to determine the number of individuals suffering from bird allergies, millions of individuals all over the world are allergic to animals. If an individual was frequently exposed to live chickens and develops symptoms, there is a possibility that he/she is allergic or highly sensitive to live chickens.
How do allergies develop?
The immune system of an individual who is allergic to live chickens or other animals reacts to the invasion of foreign particles by generating antibodies called IgE antibodies. The IgE antibodies interact with the allergen along with the immune cells of the body. The mast cells trigger the release of histamine and other inflammatory chemicals that trigger the distinctive allergy symptoms.
In most cases, an allergy to live chickens develops during childhood. Nevertheless, it is also possible for an individual to end up with the allergy as an adult. In some circumstances, allergies develop only after repeated exposure to live chickens. The usual routes where live chicken allergies enter the body include inhalation via the nose and via direct skin exposure especially when chickens are being handled.
Once an individual develops undesirable symptoms after being exposed to chickens, it is best to consult a doctor so that proper assessment and testing can be carried out. The testing is carried out in order to determine the exact allergen responsible for the reactions.
Management of an allergy to live chickens
The ideal way to cope with an allergy to live chickens is to avoid exposure to the birds. In case this is not possible, an allergist can provide the suitable recommendations to relieve the symptoms.
The allergist can recommend medications such as nasal sprays, antihistamines or corticosteroids. If possible, minimize exposure to the airborne particles that instigate the allergy symptoms by using a mask or respiratory and protective clothing when working with live chickens.
The signs and symptoms of animal allergies can be drastically reduced after a course of immunotherapy or allergy shots in order to establish resistance to the allergen. This approach is suitable for achieving long-term relief to the symptoms triggered by the allergen.