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Lisa, MSN, FNP-BC, CCRN, Nurse Practitioner
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Back in 1992 I had 2 dogs...a beagle and lab mix, but they passed

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I suffer from allergies(since a child) and asthma(was told it is activity induced and environmental.) I am a 35 yr old female. Back in 1992 I had 2 dogs...a beagle and lab mix, but they passed away about 9 nine years aog. Since that time my allergies have gotten worse, and an allergist did the skin test on me. I tested positive for everything except for cockroaches. Last week I purchased a parakeet for my daughter, and for the first couple of days my allergies seemed okay. They have however gotten worse and I have needed to use my inhaler more than usual as my chest feels tight. I am also sneezing and i have had some wheezing. My question is: If I keep the bird will I build up an immunity to it? Or am I better off not being exposed to the animal? On a side note I took my daughter to the pet store on saturday to look at the "allergy free" dogs, but within 15 mintues i broke out in hives and went into a full blown allergy attack.

Thank you,
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Lisa, MSN, FNP-BC, CCRN replied 7 years ago.



Thank you for writing in today. Although parakeets seem like they would pose an insignificant risk of allergic reaction, the truth is that parakeet and bird dander can actually be more irritating than the dander of cats and dogs. At this point, since you are having significant symptoms, chest tightness and difficulty breathing, I would recommend contacting your allergist. At this point, I suspect that the allergist will want to eliminate the bird from your environment. When a person needs to build a tolerance to an allergen, a supervised desensitization should be done. A supervised desensitization is very specific regarding time and amount of exposure. This is a better and safer way to desensitize in comparison to saturating the persons environment with the allergen. As for animals, when you are at the pet store, there are so many allergens in the air. You may want to try exposure to the "allergy" free animals one at a time, rather than in an environment saturated with many animals, types of dander/saliva/etc. I hope this helps. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please let me know. Lisa

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Thank you for your response. I was thinking the same thing, but was hoping I could suffer through it for the sake of my daughter. Since I have allergies she has not been able to have a pet, and I was hoping a bird would be a good option. I was not aware of the amount of dander one produces, and although my daughter will be heartbroken when I have to take her new pet back to the store, my heath needs to come first. It just shocking that one tiny little bird can produce so many symptoms in a person with allergies:(


Thank again!


Expert:  Lisa, MSN, FNP-BC, CCRN replied 7 years ago.
It is really unfortunate. At this point, before you take the pet back, consult your allergist. He/she may have some options. However, given your symptoms, this needs addressed, since your symptoms could get worse. I really hate to see your little one upset. Kids really have a hard time understanding these types of things. I hope maybe your allergist has some alternative options. I hope you feel better soon. Take care. Lisa
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