What Is a Mouse Allergy? And How Do You Know If You Have One?

What is a mouse allergy?

A mouse allergy is caused by your immune system identifying mouse allergens as a threat to your body. When you come into contact with mouse excrete, your body releases histamine. This triggers allergy symptoms like itchy eyes, coughing, and sneezing. It can also trigger allergic asthma.

Nobody likes allergy symptoms. They keep you indoors and from doing the activities you love. Allergies can make you feel miserable for weeks or months at a time, and, in extreme cases, they can even pose a health risk.

For those dealing with pests and those considering rodents as pets, a mouse allergy can pose a problem. Keep reading to learn about mouse allergies, their symptoms, and how to take control of your allergy symptoms.

What Causes an Allergy to Mice?

A mouse allergy is caused by proteins found in the substances mouse excrete, like mouse urine, saliva, and dander. While the proteins mice excrete are harmless, a mouse allergy occurs when your immune system has mistakenly identified mouse allergens as a threat.

When you come into contact with mouse allergens, your body raises its defenses against them and releases the chemical histamine. The release of histamine causes the allergy symptoms associated with an allergic reaction to try to get the allergens out of your body.

Can Mice Trigger Allergic Asthma?

Mouse allergies are particularly associated with allergic asthma. Asthma is a medical condition caused by the narrowing and swelling of the airways, while allergic asthma is a condition triggered by allergens. It is the most common type of asthma, making up an estimated 60% of asthma cases.

For some people, asthma is a minor nuisance. For others, it can be life-threatening. Its symptoms can include:

  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing or wheezing that worsens with the cold or flu
  • Insomnia caused by wheezing, coughing, or shortness of breath

Additional Mouse Allergy Symptoms

Mouse allergies can also cause allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever. Hay fever symptoms include:

  • Itchy eyes, nose, ears, or mouth
  • Sinus congestion and pain
  • Runny, stuffy nose
  • Post-nasal drip
  • Excessive sneezing or coughing
  • Watery, red eyes
  • Rashes or hives

What Is Laboratory Animal Allergy?

Mouse allergies were first detected in lab settings when researchers developed allergy symptoms after handling mice in their studies. What’s now known as “laboratory animal allergy” (LAA) became a common condition, affecting between 11-44% of people working with mice and rats in labs.

It is important to note that LAA can also be caused by rabbits, guinea pigs, and other animals in laboratories and research facilities. You also don’t have to be in a lab or even handle a mouse to experience mouse allergy symptoms. Mice shed their dead skin and hair, and the allergens stick to dust particles, which can become airborne and enter your airspace. If you have a mouse infestation you can come into contact with mouse allergens which can trigger your allergic symptoms.

Where Are Mice Found?

Mice can be found just about anywhere. One study indicates that mouse allergens are present in as many as 82% of U.S. homes. Even if you don’t see mice sneaking around, it doesn’t mean they’re not present. They can be found in homes, schools, restaurants, stores, and many other indoor environments.

Can You Be Allergic to Mouse Droppings or Saliva?

The protein that causes mouse allergies is most commonly found in mouse urine, hair follicles, and dead skin. These substances can become airborne when they mix with dust and other particulates, so you don’t have to be actively handling mice to experience mouse allergies.

How to Know if You Have an Allergy to Mice?

If you think you might be allergic to mice, it is essential that you take an allergy test. Mouse allergies are common airborne indoor allergens. Indoor allergies can be difficult to identify since you could also be reacting to other indoor allergens like dust mites, cockroaches, or mold.

An allergy test will help you find a treatment plan that works best for your allergies. At Wyndly, our at-home allergy test identifies allergen-specific IgE antibodies to determine what allergens are causing your symptoms. Order your at-home allergy test from Wyndly today!

Treatment and Remedies

Once you’ve determined mice are the reason for your allergies, you can take steps to reduce and even treat your symptoms. There are several remedies and treatments you can try.

Limiting Exposure

The first measure you may want to take is to limit your exposure to mice. This will be easier for some people than for others. If you have mice in your home or your building, you’ll want to make sure to get rid of them. If you have mice as pets or you work with them, you may need to take other steps to reduce your symptoms.

If Mice Are in Your Home

  • Cut off water sources: Ensure you’re not doing anything to attract mice to your home. Cut off water sources by fixing leaky faucets and improving ventilation in damp areas of the house.
  • Cut off food sources: Be sure to take out the trash often, keep crumbs and food off countertops, store food in sealed containers, use a lid on your trash, and remove clutter and other easy hiding places. Don’t leave food in pet bowls.
  • Use traps: Use traps to get rid of mice and remove them from your home.
  • Seal holes: Seal holes and easy entry passages into your house. If you’ve rid your home of mice, you don’t want to make it easy for them to get back in.
  • Deep clean your home: Once you’ve removed mice, it’s a good idea to do a deep clean so you can get rid of any allergens the mice left behind.
  • Consider using an exterminator: An exterminator might be necessary if you have an infestation or if you’re having trouble getting rid of the mice on your own. Contact your local pest control to help handle the problem.

If You Work With Mice or Keep Them as Pets

  • Keep cages clean: Be sure to keep their cages as clean as possible.
  • Vacuum often: Use a HEPA filter vacuum to get rid of allergens.
  • Use an air purifier: An air purifier can help cut down on the allergens in the air.
  • Avoid touching your face: Keep your hands away from your mouth and nose when handling your pet.
  • Wash hands after handling: Wash your hands thoroughly after handling the mice, and wear gloves if possible. 

Medications

Often, limiting your exposure to mice may not be enough to manage symptoms, especially if you work with them. In that case, you have a variety of options for allergy medications.

  • Over-the-counter allergy medications: The most common option will be over-the-counter allergy medicine. Over-the-counter (OTC) medication can help you with a variety of symptoms, and it can provide temporary relief for most people. There are several common OTC options.
    • Antihistamines: Antihistamines work by inhibiting the production of histamine. They are effective for relieving a wide range of common allergy symptoms.
    • Eye drops: If you have itchy or watery eyes, eye drops can be a quick fix to flush out allergens and provide some relief.
    • Nasal spray: If you have stuffy or runny nose symptoms, you may want to try nasal sprays. These help to reduce inflammation and swelling in the nasal passages.
  • Prescription medications: Occasionally, you may not get any relief from OTC medications. In that case, you may want to talk to your doctor about possible prescription options instead.

Sublingual Immunotherapy

If you want long-term relief from your allergies, the best path is to try allergy immunotherapy. With immunotherapy, you can train your immune system to ignore common allergens, instead of reacting with an immune response. With sublingual immunotherapy, this is achieved through small, gradually increasing doses of an allergen substance administered under the tongue. Unlike allergy shots, sublingual immunotherapy doesn’t require you to get shots or go to the doctor. You can take them in the comfort of your own home and find lifelong relief from your mouse allergies.

Looking for a Long-term Solution to Your Mouse Allergy?

If you’re tired of the watery eyes and itchy nose that come with mouse allergies, there is a solution that offers long-term relief. At Wyndly, we use sublingual immunotherapy to help your body create a tolerance for your specific allergens. With time, your immune system become desensitized and stops reacting to allergens. This results in long-term allergy relief.

Take our quick online assessment today to see if Wyndly is right for you and to get one step closer to a life without allergies!

Mouse Allergy FAQs

We have answers to some frequently asked questions about mouse allergies.

Why do I have mouse allergies if I don’t have mice?

Mice allergens are present in many homes, whether you’re aware of them or not. Also, mouse allergens may be present in other places you frequent, like the office, a friend’s or family member’s home, or a retail store.

How do I know if it’s mice that are causing my allergies?

The best way to determine if mice are causing your allergies is with an allergy test.

Do I have to quit my lab job or give up my pet mice to find relief from my allergies?

Not necessarily. If you’re looking to find relief from mouse allergies, you can manage your symptoms in various ways. Immunotherapy may also help you to treat your allergy symptoms for good, allowing you to train your immune system to ignore these substances.

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