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Animal Dander and Cockroach Allergy

Proteins secreted by oil glands in an animal's skin, as well as the proteins present in an animal's saliva, can cause allergic reactions in some people. Allergies to animals can take two or more years to develop and symptoms may not subside until months after ending contact with the animal. Symptoms include sneezing, congestion, and itchy and watery eyes. Treatments include avoiding exposure to animals that cause your allergies when possible. Medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, nasal steroids, or others may be helpful. Immunotherapy may be recommended if your allergy symptoms are chronic.

Cockroaches can cause similar symptoms. The treatments are the same.

Help prevent allergies to pet dander by removing the pet from the home, or at least the bedroom. Keep pets off upholstered furniture and wash the pet weekly. Cockroach allergy prevention includes keeping trash in closed containers and taking it out regularly.

Insect Sting Allergy

Everyone who gets stung by an insect will have pain, swelling, and redness around the sting site. However, people who are allergic to stings can have a severe or even life-threatening reaction. Symptoms of an insect sting allergy include extensive swelling and redness from the sting or bite that may last a week or more, nausea, fatigue, and low-grade fever. On rare occasions, insect stings may cause a full-body allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Symptoms of anaphylaxis may include difficulty breathing, hives, swelling of the face, throat or mouth, wheezing or difficulty swallowing, restlessness and anxiety, rapid pulse, dizziness, or a sharp drop in blood pressure. For people who are severely allergic to insect stings, the medicine epinephrine should be administered soon after being stung to prevent the development of a life-threatening situation.

Minimize exposure to insects by not wearing brightly colored clothes and scented cosmetics and by keeping insecticide available, wearing shoes outdoors, and avoiding outdoor garbage. If you do get stung, try to remove the stinger safely. If you are at risk of anaphylaxis, use epinephrine (an epi pen) and call 911. An oral antihistamine, like Benadryl, may be taken to reduce itching, swelling, and hives, and a pain reliever may be taken and ice pack used to dull pain caused by the sting. These measures should not replace epinephrine in a case of anaphylaxis although they can be used in addition to it. Occasionally, corticosteroid medicines are used to decrease swelling and inflammation.

Because most exposures are accidental and cannot always be predicted or prevented, allergy shots are the recommended treatment for individuals with insect sting allergies. They can help prevent anaphylaxis with future stings.

Insects that cause allergic reactions include various bees, fire ants, yellow jackets, hornets, and wasps.

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