In the June 2008 issue of BIRD TALK magazine, you learned about the truths and myths behind bird keeper's lung in "Clearing The Air" by Margaret A. Wissman, DVM, DABVP, Avian Practice. If you think you may have bird allergies, bring this list of questions with to your next visit to the doctor.
Questions to ask your doctor if you think you have bird allergies:
How can I determine if my allergy is directly related to keeping birds?
If I am allergic to my birds, what steps can I take to minimize my allergic response?
What potential health effects can happen if my allergies are left untreated? (Will they worsen or become more difficult to treat later on?)
What are my treatment options? (Allergy shots, medications?)
Are my children at increased risk of developing allergies to birds and/or will this make them more susceptible to bird allergies when they get older?
Cold or Allergy?
People often mistake allergies for colds and vice versa. Here are some subtle (and not so subtle differences between the two):
Colds: typically start with one symptom and turn into multiple symptoms (e.g., you wake up with a cough, later on your nose starts running and then you are congested). The mucous associated with colds usually is yellowish and is more likely to be accompanied by fever than an allergy. People usually get over a cold within a week and colds tend to afflict people in winter months.
Allergies: symptoms seem to appear all at once and seem to linger for an indefinite period of time (for as long as the person is exposed to the allergen). People with allergies typically have clear mucous and sneeze more than those suffering from a cold. Allergies often hit people during spring and fall.