Schedule an appointment with an allergist.,
Consider taking decongestants.,
Use corticosteroid nasal sprays.,
Use high-efficiency air filters and purifiers.,
Confine your guinea pig in one part of your home.,
Protect yourself from the most common sources of allergens.,
Wear protective equipment when handling your guinea pig.,
Wash your hands after any allergen contact.,
Ask someone who’s not allergic to handle guinea pig duties.,
Consider finding a new home for your pet.,
Rule out hay/straw allergies.,
Check if wood shavings are the problem.,
Try out other guinea pig foods.
If you suspect you may have an allergy to guinea pigs (or any other potential allergen), the first thing you should do is visit an allergist. An allergist can help you determine whether or not your guinea pig is the problem and advise you on how to limit/avoid exposure and treat your symptoms.Allergists treat both allergies and asthma (especially asthma induced by an allergic reaction).
Your allergist will most likely conduct a round of tests, which may include skin exposure tests, to confirm that guinea pigs are the source of your allergies.
See an allergist right away if you experience prolonged allergy symptoms, coughing/wheezing, shortness of breath, or any other quality of life issues associated with a suspected allergy.
In rare cases, extreme allergies may cause anaphylaxis, a potentially fatal reaction. If you experience vomiting, diarrhea, a sudden drop in blood pressure, difficulty breathing, a swollen tongue or throat, loss of consciousness, or severe hives or skin redness, go to an emergency room immediately.;
, Antihistamines are one of the most commonly-taken allergy medications. They are available over the counter or by prescription, and they come in tablet, syrup, or nasal spray forms.Antihistamines reduce your body’s immune system response to allergens.
An antihistamine can help reduce itchy skin, sneezing, and runny nose.
Common over-the-counter tablets include fexofenadine (Allegra), loratadine (Claritin, Alavert) and cetirizine (Zyrtec).
Common prescription tablets include levocetirizine (Xyzal) and desloratadine (Clarinex).
Frequently-prescribed nasal sprays include azelastine (Astelin and Astepro) and olopatadine (Patanase).
, Decongestants reduce nasal swelling/inflammation, which can make it easier to breathe if you’re experiencing sneezing or stuffy nose. They are often sold as nasal sprays, and can typically be acquired without a prescription.Some over-the-counter allergy medications pair antihistamines and decongestants together in one oral tablet.
Decongestants aren’t for everyone. They can have serious negative side effects for some individuals, including elevated blood pressure.
If you currently have high blood pressure, glaucoma, cardiovascular disease, or an enlarged prostate, do not take decongestants unless your doctor has told you it is safe to do so.
, Corticosteroid nasal sprays are inserted into the nostril, sprayed, and inhaled. This class of medicine is typically administered in low doses and tend to have far fewer side effects than oral corticosteroids.Common nasal sprays that are available without a prescription include fluticasone (Flonase), mometasone furoate (Nasonex), and triamcinolone (Nasacort AQ).
If over-the-counter nasal sprays aren’t enough, ask your doctor whether prescription-strength corticosteroids might help your symptoms.
, If you’re experiencing an allergic reaction to guinea pigs in your home, you may find it helpful to use an air filter or purifier.These products help remove allergens from the air, reducing respiratory problems and potentially reducing contact of airborne particles with your skin.
If you purchase an air filter/purifier, make sure you use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters and air purifiers.
HEPA filters and purifiers have been shown to reduce airborne allergens in some environments.
, If you or a family member are experiencing guinea pig allergies, make sure your guinea pig is not permitted to roam freely around the house. This can help limit or even eliminate exposure to the allergens, which may make it easier to live with a guinea pig in the home for some individuals.Keep your guinea pig’s cage in a designated area that can be avoided. Do not put it in common areas like the living room or kitchen, or in/near your bedroom.
The room where you keep your guinea pig should ideally be uncarpeted for ease of cleaning. Wood, tile, linoleum, or vinyl flooring materials are much easier to clean and will not harbor allergens like a carpet would.
, If you’re allergic to guinea pigs, it’s important to remember that the protein responsible for that allergy is mostly found in the animal’s saliva and urine. However, that protein can be transferred to the guinea pig’s coat or skin during grooming or passing waste, and may be transferred to your skin if you handle the guinea pig or its bedding. Therefore, the urine, saliva, hair, and skin dander should all be considered potential sources of allergen exposure.Exposure to these allergens can cause symptoms immediately, or after numerous days, weeks, months, or even years of exposure.
If you are unable to avoid being around a guinea pig for whatever reason, make sure you avoid contact with these sources of allergens. If contact cannot be avoided, make sure you take protective measures.
, Protective equipment may allow you to handle guinea pigs and their bedding or simply be around guinea pigs without experiencing allergic reactions. Protective equipment may not be enough, though, and you may need to take some type of allergy medication for extra safety.Wearing a dust mask can help prevent bronchial irritation and asthma-like symptoms, if you’ve experienced those symptoms in the past.
Gloves and long-sleeved shirts can help reduce your skin contact with guinea pigs, especially while handling the animals themselves or cleaning their cages.
Do not wear the long-sleeved shirt you wore while handling your guinea pig for other purposes unless it’s been washed since the last time you came into contact with the guinea pig or its bedding.
, Any time you’ve handled a guinea pig, cleaned its enclosure, or handled any materials from inside that enclosure, make sure you wash your hands as soon as possible.It’s important to follow proper hand-washing techniques to ensure that your skin is clean and free of allergens to reduce or prevent a reaction.Get your hands wet under the faucet with clean, running water. The temperature doesn’t really matter, since the point is to wash away allergens and not germs.
Apply enough soap to adequately cover both hands with the lather.
Work the soap between your hands, between your fingers, on the backs of your hands, and under your fingernails. Apply soap to any other part of your body that may have come in contact with allergens (wrists and arms, for example).
Scrub the soap on your skin for at least 20 seconds. A common way to keep time is by singing or humming the “Happy Birthday” song twice in a row while you scrub your skin.
If you’ve been bitten or scratched by a guinea pig, wash the site of your injury with soap and water for 15 minutes or longer to ensure that you remove the allergens from the wound.
Rub your hands under the tap to wash away any traces of soap, which should also remove the allergens your skin came into contact with.
Use a clean, dry paper towel to wipe your hands dry. Discard the paper towel when you are finished.
, Depending on your situation, you may be able to find someone else willing to take on guinea pig duties for you. Ask others you live or work with if they would be willing to take over these responsibilities.If you work at a pet store, let your supervisors know that you’ve experienced allergic reactions to guinea pigs and request that you be excused from handling, feeding, or cleaning them.
If your guinea pig is a pet at home, ask a family member or roommate to take over guinea pig duties. If you can’t find anyone willing to do this, you may have to consider giving your guinea pig to a home where allergies won’t be a problem.
, Though it’s always difficult to part with a pet, you may not have a choice if your allergies are severe. Talk to pet stores and adoption agencies in your region to see if they can help you find a new home for your guinea pig. You should also make sure that any home your pet ends up in is safe by talking to the prospective buyer/adopter and asking about his or her previous pet ownership and animal care experience.
, If you’re experiencing allergies around a guinea pig, there is a slight chance that it may not be the guinea pig itself causing your reactions. An allergist can help you identify whether you’re allergic to some environmental factor, like hay/straw used for the animal’s bedding.Hay and straw often cause asthma-like reactions, including difficulty breathing, increased production of mucus, and congestion in the chest.Many people experience dermatitis symptoms as an allergic reaction to skin contact with hay/straw.Dermatitis is usually characterized by red, itchy, or inflamed skin. It may look like a rash on the skin, usually at the point of exposure., Some people experience allergic reactions to wood shavings that are commonly used as guinea pig bedding. Talk to an allergist, or try out a different bedding material that’s free from any potential allergens.Even if wood shavings themselves aren’t the problem, many people experience allergies to the various coloring, fragrances, and oils added to guinea pig bedding.
Eucalyptus oil and Manuka oil are common additives to guinea pig bedding.
Make sure your wood shavings do not have any of these additives, or try a different bedding material altogether.
, If bedding isn’t the issue, there is a slight chance you may be allergic to the food you’re feeding your guinea pig. Handling food or treats that contain an artificial color or other additives could be what’s causing your reaction, though only an allergist can confirm this for sure.Artificial coloring agents that begin with the letter E, such as E110, are commonly added to dried food and treats.
These coloring agents have produced allergic reactions in some individuals, though again, it’s more likely that you’re allergic to the animal itself or its bedding.
Talk to an allergist to determine the source of your allergies and find ways to treat or avoid those allergens.