Facts, Prevention, and Relief for Allergies to Horses

Updated
Updated

Cat and dog allergies are very common, but what about horse allergies? They’re more common than you might think. Horses can be found throughout the United States, and though they might not be as widespread as allergies to dogs and cats, there are still plenty of people who suffer from horse allergies.

Horse allergies differ from seasonal allergies because horse allergies can be a year-round issue. If you live near horse stables or if you regularly interact with horses, horse allergies can cause you to have irritating symptoms.

If you have horse allergies, it’s important to identify them so you can manage and treat your symptoms properly. Wyndly can help by creating a personalized allergy treatment plan for your horse allergies. Get your allergy plan today, or read on to learn more about horse allergies.

What Is a Horse Allergy?

Horse allergies are an immune system response to the dander or saliva of a horse. Horse dander, much like dog and cat dander, is the dead airborne skin cells that horses shed. Horsehair isn’t typically the cause of allergies.

Even if you don’t have a horse stable, nearby stables can cause problems for allergy sufferers. Horse dander can travel for hundreds of yards, so even being close to horses can trigger your allergies. Horse allergens have also been shown to be cross-reactive with dog and cat allergens, so if you’re allergic to other pets, you may already be at a higher risk for horse allergies.

Common Symptoms

Horse allergies can bring on several common allergy symptoms. Horse allergy symptoms are very similar to seasonal and airborne allergies, so it can be difficult to determine if horses are the exact cause. However, if you find yourself experiencing the following symptoms when you handle horses or when you’re around horses, you may be able to narrow down the cause.

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing and wheezing
  • Runny nose
  • Congestion
  • Itchy, watery, and red eyes
  • Aggravated symptoms if you suffer from asthma

Horse allergies range from mild to severe. In rare cases, they can lead to anaphylactic reactions, so if you’re experiencing a severe allergic reaction, seek emergency medical attention immediately.

Where Is Horse Dander Found?

Horse dander can be found anywhere near horses. This means horse stables, race tracks, barns, farms, and anywhere someone has a horse. Animals shed dander regularly, and it can easily travel in the air. If you’re around any of these locations or live nearby, you may be exposed to horse dander even if you never directly interact with horses.

Can You Be Allergic to Horse Hair or Saliva?

Horsehair isn’t typically the source of horse allergies. The main cause is a protein that is found in the blood and saliva of horses, which can also be found in their skin cells. Horse saliva and dander are the likely culprits of your horse allergies.

Testing and Diagnosis

It’s not especially easy to identify a horse allergy. While you might assume that you have one if you’ve been around horses and you start having symptoms, that doesn’t always guarantee horses are the cause. You may be mistaking horse allergies for pollen allergies or other widespread allergies like dust, pollution, or mold. You may even be allergic to other pets that you own but not your horses.

It’s best to be 100% certain of your allergy triggers so you can avoid them and treat them properly. An allergy test can reveal all of your allergy triggers and remove any doubts. Wyndly makes allergy testing simple by sending you an easy and pain-free at-home test. Buy your at-home test from Wyndly today.

Let’s look at how different allergy testing options work:

Old-Fashioned Method: Skin Prick Test at Your Doctor’s Office

Skin prick testing requires you to go to the doctor to find out your allergen triggers. It’s often uncomfortable, and it takes time out of your day. You’ll go to the doctor’s office, they’ll administer a test where they prick or scrape your skin with a needle tipped with different allergens, and then they’ll observe the areas they pricked for itchiness, redness, or swelling. All in all, it’s not a pleasant experience. Instead, you can save yourself time and pain by getting an at-home test.

Modern and Efficient At-Home Method

  1. Order Wyndly’s at-home allergy test. We ship our CLIA-certified test straight to your door.
  2. Take the allergy test and send it back to us. Just do a quick finger prick test to provide us with a blood sample and mail it back when you’re done.
  3. Receive your personal allergy profile. Our doctor will interpret your results, create an allergy profile, and walk you through a treatment plan.

Unlike self-diagnosis, an allergy test can reveal the full breadth of your allergies. This way you know exactly what you’re allergic to and how you can treat your symptoms.

Treatment and Remedies

If you’ve identified horses as the source of your allergies, you can take measures to limit your exposure if possible or manage and treat your allergy symptoms. There are several options you can try.

Limiting Exposure

The most straightforward solution for horse allergies is to avoid horses. Of course, if you work with horses and handle them regularly, this isn’t always possible. It can also be difficult to avoid if you live near horses or regularly interact with people who work with horses. The following are some general ways you can try and limit your exposure to horse dander and saliva, even if you deal with horses.

If You Live Near Horses

  • Move locations: This may be one of the more drastic measures, but moving to a location that doesn’t have horses nearby can help you avoid horse allergens altogether.
  • Keep windows closed: Keeping your windows closed can prevent dander from floating in.
  • Get a HEPA filter: Putting a HEPA filter on your A/C systems can prevent horse dander from circulating in your home.
  • Take shoes off: Avoid tracking in horse dander by taking your shoes off when you get home.
  • Wash clothes: When you go outside, you may get horse dander on you. Make sure to wash your clothes frequently and never dry them outside on the line.
  • Vacuum with a HEPA filter: When horse dander does get into your home, you can use a HEPA filter vacuum to cut down on your home’s pollen levels.

    If You Work With Horses or Own Them

    • Avoid kissing your horse or nuzzling your face on them: Petting your horse is going to be hard to avoid, but you should avoid kissing your pet or nuzzling them with your face.
    • Change and shower after handling: As soon as you’re done handling your horse, make sure to wash your hands, change clothes, and shower. You should also throw your clothes in the wash.
    • Let others groom your horse: If possible, have someone else take care of grooming duties. If you have to groom your horse, wear a dust mask.
    • Take medicine beforehand: Take your allergy meds before interacting with your horses.
    • Take shoes off when you go inside: Avoid tracking dander in by taking your shoes off when you go inside.

      If you work with horses, it’s going to be nearly impossible to avoid horse dander. You may need to try allergy medication if you want to manage your allergy symptoms.

      Medications

      If you need allergy medications to manage your horse allergy symptoms, try these options:

      • Over-the-counter allergy medications: OTC allergy meds can easily be found in any pharmacy and work for most allergy sufferers, and there are several options available.
        • Antihistamines: Antihistamines block histamine production, which can cause allergy symptoms to manifest. These can provide you with temporary relief from your symptoms.
        • Eye drops: Eye drops can flush horse dander out of your eyes, preventing itchy and watery eye symptoms.
        • Nasal spray: Nasal sprays can reduce swelling and inflammation in the nasal passage, reducing runny nose and congestion.
      • Prescription medications: If OTC allergy medications aren’t helping, you may want to ask your doctor about prescription options, but these are only short-term solutions.

      Those with asthma may need an inhaler to help with their horse allergy symptoms. If you have anaphylactic reactions to horse allergies, you should consider carrying an EpiPen with you for safety.

      Sublingual Immunotherapy Allergy Drops

      Managing symptoms and short-term relief may work for some people, but if you want long-term allergy relief, you should consider allergy drops, especially if you regularly interact with horses. Allergy drops are a form of immunotherapy called sublingual immunotherapy that retrains your immune system to ignore allergy triggers over time. They work by introducing small, incrementally increasing amounts of your allergen to your immune system. Allergy drops are self-administered under the tongue from the comfort of your home, instead of having to go to the doctor for uncomfortable allergy shots. If you want long-term relief from your symptoms, allergy drops are the best solution.

      Get Long-Term Relief With Wyndly

      When you’re ready to find long-term relief from your horse allergies, let Wyndly help. Our doctors can make a personalized treatment plan for you based on your individual needs. Schedule your allergy consultation today to get started.

      Horse Allergy FAQs

      The following are some frequently asked questions about horse allergies.

      Why do I have horse allergies if I don’t touch horses?

      Horse dander can travel hundreds of yards in the air.

      How do I know if it’s my horse causing my allergies?

      An allergy test can reveal if horse dander is the true cause of your allergies.

      Can horse allergies be fatal?

      In rare cases, horse allergies can cause an anaphylactic reaction. If someone having a severe reaction like this can’t obtain emergency medical care, this can be fatal.

      Do I have to give up my horses if I have horse allergies?

      Not necessarily. There are various paths to managing your symptoms, and immunotherapy may lead to permanent relief from symptoms.

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