Animal and Insect Allergy

Animal and insect allergy is more common than you think. Most appear during childhood, but some appear later in life. Very often, allergic reaction starts after we acquire a new pet. However, sometimes, we have difficulties pinpointing the animal or insect we are allergic to.

Animal and insect allergy is an adverse reaction that occurs when we come in contact with a specific animal or insect. It is driven by our own body’s immune system. In other words, your immune system does not like the particles on the animal/insect you come in contact with, therefore produces antibodies against these particles, known as immunoglobulin E (IgE).  The next time you come in contact with the same animal/insect, your immune system will release a huge amount of chemicals into your bloodstream causing an allergic reaction. Even a tiny amount of the animal/insect particle can trigger an allergic reaction.

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Signs and Symptoms
  • Common animal and insect allergy symptoms:

    • Rashes, hives, itching of the skin
    • Sneezing
    • Runny or congested nose
    • Coughing
    • Watery, itchy or red eyes
    • Facial pain (from nasal congestion)
    • Wheezing
    • Difficulty in breathing
    • Lightheadedness
    • Dizziness

    Severe animal and insect allergy symptoms (Anaphylaxis):

    • Swollen tongue and throat
    • Tightening of airway
    • Difficulty in breathing
    • Severe wheezing
    • Drop in blood pressure
    • Rise in pulse rate
    • Severe dizziness
    • Loss of consciousness
Treatment and Management

There is no cure for animal/insect allergy. Therefore, it is important to see a doctor and get yourself tested to identify the animal/insect you are allergic to so you can avoid it in the future.

What you can do:

  • Get yourself tested to pinpoint the exact animal/insect you are allergic to.
  • Avoid contact with animal/insect you are allergic to.
  • Keep your pet out of your bedroom and restrict it to only a few rooms. Establish a pet-free zone.
  • Remove carpeting and dander-attracting furnishings.
  • Do not pet, hug or kiss the pet; if you do, wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Use High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) cleaners, let it run continuously in a bedroom or living room. This can reduce allergen levels over time.
  • Regular use of a high-efficiency vacuum cleaner can reduce allergen levels.
  • Get your friend/family to bathe your pet at least once a week.
  • If necessary, get rid of your pet you are allergic to (We know this is a difficult one).
  • If you have experienced anima/insect allergy reaction before, your doctor may prescribe oral antihistamine or injectable adrenaline (in severe cases) for you to carry with you at all times.
  • If you have a animal/insect allergy, it is strongly advisable to wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace, or carry a medical alert card that lets others know that you have an allergy in case you have a reaction and you are unable to communicate.


    If you experience animal/insect allergy symptoms:

    • SEE A DOCTOR immediately.
    • Inform someone (family, friends, work colleagues). It is best if you can get someone to go to the doctor with you.
    • If you experience any of the severe symptoms mentioned, go to the EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT immediately.
    • If you have antihistamine or injectable adrenaline with you, use them en route to seeing a doctor.
    • Do not delay seeing a doctor because animal/insect allergy may be life threatening.




Allergens to Test for:

  1. Cat
  2. Dog
  3. Guinea Pig
  4. Rat
  5. Mouse
  6. Honey Bee Venom
  7. Cockroach