I think I am allergic to my hens

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Tecalli, Sep 3, 2009.

  1. Tecalli

    Tecalli Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 5, 2009
    State College, PA
    I've had my 3 hens for 2 months now, and this week I've had a severe reaction to them three times. My lip swells to about 3x the usual size and takes almost a day to go back to normal. I've never had any reaction to the hens before this week. I am alleric to cats, dust, mold, etc. and my symptoms then are sneezing and watery eyes. With my hens there is no sneezing or watery eyes, just this not at all attractive lip swelling.

    Since the first time it happened I've been paying more attention to what happens before I get the swelling reaction. It doesnt happen all the time. Tuesday evening I cleaned the coop, held the girls, had one on my lap petting her and nothing. But then definitely a reaction last night. It seems to happen when my hen Ester flies up on my shoulder so I'm thinking its a reaction to some dust or something she has on her that comes in contact with my lips when she flies up. Taking Benadryl didn't seem to do much. I also tried a steroid (prednizone, my father is a physician and I took it after consulting him) that I have when I get severe asthma and that made a difference, but the swelling was still there.
    Has anyone else experienced something like this or have heard of it?

    I'm now attached to my three girls so getting rid of them is not an option. I'm now trying to figure out how best to manage this allergy or whatever it is. Any ideas on what could be causing it could help. Or any pointers to information etc.
    I teach 200 undergrads Tues and Thurs at 8am, and lecturing with hugely swollen lips is really not the way to go. One student thought I had gone overboard on the collegan injections.
    Any and all suggestions appreciated! Thanks.
  2. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have some allergies and often it's caused by a gradual exposure to something. You meed a med that works for you. Claritin works for me, benadryl not so much. Hopefully if you take the meds before going to the coop and eventually find a regimen that works you should improve.

    A friend of mine with many animal allergies takes shots to increase her resistance. She went to an allergy clinic to be examined and to arrange this.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2009
  3. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    My pulmonologist told me that our bodies often have a delayed reaction--often as much as 24 hours. So it is possible that it is a coincidence that your handling the chickens has occurred shortly before your lips swell.

    However, I would take any facial swelling very seriously. Are you using any product with your birds that you could be reacting to--anything from sevin or permethrin dust to the food you feed them or their bedding? They may have lice or mites to which you are sensitive.

    You need to call your doctor and alert him/her to what is going on, and ask for suggestions on medicine that will help. You should also consider bathing each of your hens (with three that shouldn't be too difficult), maybe with one of the shampoos that is supposed to help reduce allergens in cats or dogs. See if that helps.

    Inventory the products you are using with them, and try to rule out each product one by one.
  4. Chicks R Friends NOT Food

    Chicks R Friends NOT Food Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2009
    Chariho RI
    You said you're allergic to dust, does that include dust mites? I know that chickens (and feathered pets in general) can carry dustmites, which is why I'm allergic to my chickens. Luckily my lips don't swell.

    Here is a site for more information about that: dust mites
  5. HollyTree

    HollyTree Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 15, 2009
    Little Rock, Arkansas
    Maybe wear a dusk mask when around them may help?
    Not fashionable (they won't care), but maybe you could enjoy your girls without swelling. Just a thought..[​IMG]
  6. Tecalli

    Tecalli Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 5, 2009
    State College, PA
    Thanks for the responses. I have purchased some dust masks to wear when around the hens. Looking unfashionable with the chicks is definitely preferaable than teaching with very swollen lips!

    I am feeding my hens Purina starter food. The coop has pine shavings from TSC. I also generously sprinkle DE in the coop and in their run.

    Dust mites is a very good possibility. I am going in for a full round of allergy testing but was was advertised to try and identify some possibilities so their are less rounds of testing.
  7. wildorchid053

    wildorchid053 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 12, 2009
    syracuse area, ny
    when i bought my parrot i saw online. can't remember where but it is a wipe and you wipe down your bird with it .. they have it for cat dander too.. maybe the vet can help you
  8. lavandula girl

    lavandula girl Chillin' With My Peeps

    You probably already thought of this, but do you go out to the coop at a specific time, say, right after dinner? Is it possible that you are eating something different, that you're allergic to? Or, if you go in the morning, have you switched toothpastes, or face cleanser?

    The skin of our lips is very sensitive compared to other skin, on our face and body. I was just thinking that it may be a contact reaction, rather than a breathing reaction.
  9. Tecalli

    Tecalli Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 5, 2009
    State College, PA
    Hi, we were trying to establish a pattern so I did go at different times of the day. Its not something I eat because its usually before breakfast or before dinner.

    Its definitely a contact allergy rather than a breathing allergy. As you mentioned, something is touching my lips, which is more sensitive than other areas of my face, and I am reacting to it. I have tried touching my lips with clean pine shaving, DE, and their food- no reaction. I've also tried their feathers which they have dropped- no reaction.

    The idea of wipes is definitely one to investigate further. I'll give my vet a call and see if she knows what kind I can try.

    I just returned from cleaning their coop, picking one up and holding her, and petting another when she was in my lap- no reaction. But no one flew to my shoulder today since I was careful not to offer it (we are going out with friends tonight).

    Thanks for all suggestions!
  10. oletymer

    oletymer Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 29, 2012
    I know this is an old post but I have had several rashes on my left side , under my arm and forearm, well I guess when I carry my favorites around thats where I tuck them... under my left arm and left side and forearm....Well that explains it[​IMG]

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