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Rat Allergy - Treatment Options?

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I have just started volunteering caring for animals at a local wildlife park. I absolutely love it, and have already applied for a paid job with them that is pretty much what I want to do down to the ground. I have a whole host of food allergies, including a severe nut allergy (which the park are aware of and ok with, which I manage by avoidance). I have kept rats as a child, but in the past three years (my housemates three years ago had some) I've had almost no contact with them. Lo and behold, yesterday I was in the rodent house and fed and cleaned out the rats, and had a (minor) chest reaction, where my chest felt tight, a bit of a cough and a bit wheezy for about an hour afterwards (I had already taken an over-the-counter allergy and hayfever relief tablet an hour before). I ignored the reaction and finished off cleaning the rats anyway (I seem to be fine with the other rodents, with the exception of a bit of a sniffle around the chinchillas, but since I get bad hayfever, that's nothing I can't handle).
To say I am frustrated is an understatement. This is what I have been passionate about doing since I was a very young child, giving up on it is not an option for me, I have worked hard my whole life and it's incredibly important to me. What options do I have that do NOT involve giving up the job? If I get the job, avoiding the rats isn't really an option either, although I'm fine with other people handling them, apparently I just can't myself. Has anyone else ever been in a similar situation and managed to find a way around it?
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replied March 16th, 2013
Rat Allergies
I have 8 rats, as a result of an unintentional pregnancy. I clean out there cages every day, although I have severe allergies because of it. My nose is constantly plugged up, and I am constantly sneezing, even when I am not near the rats. When I handle the rats my skin gets red, irritated, and itchy. When I handle my rats I usually wear garden gloves. You might try taking Claritin D. Not the regular Claritin that they keep on the shelf. This one is kept behind the counter and you need to be 18 with an ID to get it. Its usually about $15-$20 for a box of 15 pills, and you can find it at Wal Mart, Costco, Target, or anywhere with a pharmacy. I took it for a few months and it helped me greatly! Although recently I have become immune to it, so I am going to my doctor to see if they can prescribe another allergy medication for me to take. I also take Afrin nose spray. It helps clear my nose up a bit so that I can breathe easier. I hope this helps you!
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replied January 8th, 2019
Hello and welcome to EHF !

I went through your query and i want you to know that with exposure to rodents and other animal, proper precautions and complete vaccination should be done. As health is first priority. I am sure your passion and your profession does not mix and dont take you into some health concerns.

Take care
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