Boyfriend allergic to GPs (difficulty breathing)

yenivs13

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Sorry if this is in the wrong forum.

The past few weeks my boyfriend has been suffering with wheezing/difficulty breathing whenever I clean out the guinea pigs. He found out a while ago that he’s allergic so he avoids handling them or being near them for too long, but only recently have these symptoms started. I haven’t changed the bedding or cleaning routine. It could however be the quality of the hay (Pets at Home mixed timothy/meadow hay).

I clean the cages with white vinegar. I vacuum/sweep up as much as I can. I also bought a mini air purifier (relatively cheap one from Argos), but not working as I’d hope. The guinea pigs are in their own room, door kept shut and window opened for ventilation.

Does anyone have any advice on what might be causing it and how to prevent it happening? Please help!
 

Siikibam

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I wonder if it’s the hay. A few people on here have had allergies to certain hay types. I would get him to try antihistamines as well as go to the doctor.
 

rp1993

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I would look at the hay, I found pets at home hay to be very dusty and bad for my allergies, hay box although more on the pricey side is a lot better. We have an air purifier too but that seems to work really well for us. Does you hoover have a sealed hepa filter? As if not you could be hoovering up in the piggies room and then unknowingly emiting dust back into the rest of your house. (Watch hoover testing demos on YouTube to see what I mean... one of those rabbit holes)! :))
 

yenivs13

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I would look at the hay, I found pets at home hay to be very dusty and bad for my allergies, hay box although more on the pricey side is a lot better. We have an air purifier too but that seems to work really well for us. Does you hoover have a sealed hepa filter? As if not you could be hoovering up in the piggies room and then unknowingly emiting dust back into the rest of your house. (Watch hoover testing demos on YouTube to see what I mean... one of those rabbit holes)! :))

Thank you for the suggestions! I’ve heard Hay Box is good, I might try those out for a while see if it improves. May I ask what air purifier you have?

I have a feeling the culprit is the hoover as it doesn’t have a hepa filter. I may have to invest in another guinea pig only hepa filter vacuum!

Thanks very much 😊
 

rp1993

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Thank you for the suggestions! I’ve heard Hay Box is good, I might try those out for a while see if it improves. May I ask what air purifier you have?

I have a feeling the culprit is the hoover as it doesn’t have a hepa filter. I may have to invest in another guinea pig only hepa filter vacuum!

Thanks very much 😊

We just have this one: https://www.amazon.co.uk/RIGOGLIOSO...+purifier&qid=1602580228&sprefix=air+p&sr=8-8

Also another thing that’s has a hepa filter!
It’s important that the hoover is also sealed as that’s what stops it from throwing the particles back out the other end, we have a dyson which is obviously a big investment but is one of the best you can get.
I am suffering from a mystery allergy at the moment so I feel your boyfriends pain! I just hope it isn’t the Piggie
 

Free Ranger

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I used to ride as a little girl but we had to stop going as my mum got asthma in mid-life and found the stables environment triggered it. It turned out to be the hay and they told us in the stables it was quite common. I'm not sure if it's the 'quality' of the hay or if it's just hay... although hay dust is probably going to be an issue. I also developed mid-life asthma but luckily I'm OK with hay (so far!)

My nephew was allergic to his cat's fur so mum took her on - now if he goes round to visit it he has to have one of those one-a-day antihistamines (loratadine I think) or he's sneezing all over the place! They're pretty good.
 

Sparklepetal

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You mentioned your hay included timothy - for some people that's the specific trigger, so try buying meadow hay whichever brand you go for. Timothy is the only hay that sets off my allergies. Hope you find a solution!
 

artcasper

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I am badly allergic to dogs so was quite worried about pigs when i got them but the pigs themselves are ok.... i get set off by the hay, i get hives if i don't wash my hands straight after handling it.... If i am not careful i get wheezy etc... I use Natures own hay ... i do take anti histamines every day though for other bits and bobs..

One pig can make me itch but not badly... I hope something works out for your b.friend!
 

Freela

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Look at the bedding you're using too... for instance, I'm allergic to most wood beddings and get wheezy and eye swelling when I have to clean them, but am okay with dust-free paper. It is possible to actually be allergic to guinea pigs, but in a lot of cases the shavings of the hay are the real culprit.
 

Engel

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No bf no problem!

I'm JOKING 😅

Has he tried antihistamines? The likes of piriton can be taken up to 3 times a day.
What substrate are you using? Woodshavings make me sneeze, so do certain paper bedding like carefresh, hemp makes me itch. That could be the culprit.

also hay. Meadow hay has many different grasses in it, could he be allergic to one of them? Or Timothy like mentioned above?

is there anything else new in your house that he could be allergic to? Airfreshners, cleaning supplies, perfume?

hopefully you narrow down what it could be and it eases.
 

yenivs13

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Thanks everyone for your advice!

Just wanted to pick up on a few things being mentioned..

Bedding - I use fleece bedding and Fitch paper bedding for ‘kitchen’ areas.

Hay - I’ve switched to Hay Box meadow hay but he’s still been having issues.

Cleaning - I use white vinegar spray to clean everything. I might try something different in case it’s that. Does anyone have any suggestions (preferably eco friendly)?

Hoover - I’ve stopped hoovering in the GP room now and just use a sweeping brush as its wooden floors. However hay/hair still gets stuck to the carpet that’s just outside the room and on the sofa. Does anyone know if a rubber brush would work to get this off

I’ve been very careful to close the doors and open windows whilst I’m doing the cleaning but it still sets him off, even without hoovering!

I’ve managed to convince him to go to the GP (doctor not guinea pig :D) so hopefully he can get some advice from them.
 

Mikatelyn

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A couple of thoughts:
1. Perhaps you could put a towel under the door to prevent allergens leaking out of the guinea pig room while you are cleaning.
2. HEPA filters both in the piggy room and where your BF is. A cheap way to make a DIY HEPA filter is to put a high grade furnace filter onto a box fan of the same size via tape. (Eg, 20x20inch box fan, 20 x 20 inch high grade filter cartridge).
3. You could be tracking the allergens to him after you are done cleaning. Consider taking a shower changing your clothes so you don't track it throughout the rest of the house.
The most likely allergens causing problems are the grass and the piggy urine. In rodents it's not usually their fur or dander that's the problem, it's urine and saliva.
4. He could take an over the counter antihistamine on your cleaning days.

Hope he feels better soon!
 

Merab's Slave

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I hope you can find a way of dealing with your boyfrien’s allergies.
It must be miserable.
 

swaller

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Sorry to hear this, allergies are miserable. I am extremely allergic to cats, wool, mould and dust and was worried before getting our piggies. For the first couple of weeks of having them I was feeling wheezy, had itchy eyes and throat and was having to take antihistamines but it has since passed. The same happened when we first rescued our dogs - my allergies flared up then disappeared some weeks later. I haven’t researched it but perhaps for some allergy sufferers the reaction can subside following prolonged exposure?
 

Free Ranger

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They found out that people who were allergic to cats could be improved by gradually increasing their exposure to cats... but I don't know how they did it. Maybe they got rubbed with cats a bit? And then a bit more? And like @swaller says it might work for some people but not all people, so toughing it out in the hopes that it will go away might be too much for him. But if he's happy to take antihistamine and give it a shot..?
It's probably scant consolation when your eyes have swollen into watery slits but we learned in college that people who get more allergies are less likely to get worms but you don't really get a choice about that either! :hmm: My sympathies are with you both.
 

Mikatelyn

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Free Ranger, I think you are talking about immunotherapy. This is where you gradually escalate the amount of antigen your body is exposed to via either Subcutaneous Immunotherapy (SCIT), or Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT), usually done with an allergist.
SCIT is done with a series of injections. A common schedule is to go weekly for several years. SLIT is done with daily drops under the tongue, also usually for 3-5 years.
Immunotherapy is really a long term solution to try to get the immune system to stop identifying those allergens as something it needs to attack. In the short term it can actually increase symptoms, then over weeks to months most patients see a gradual decrease in symptoms.
 

yenivs13

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Hi everyone, thanks very much for your kind words and wisdom :)

I don't think he's very good with taking antihistamines every day so I'm going to keep pestering him about that. I like the idea of the DIY HEPA filter! We'll keep soldiering on and hope it improves. I think it's just a case of trial and error!
 

Lavinia

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Some great advice. I noticed nobody answered regarding the rubber brush. I have a rubber brush and it’s brilliant for getting up hay and anything from the carpet!
Hope things improve for your boyfriend.
 
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