Budgies aren’t hypoallergenic because they produce a small amount of feather dust, a substance that’s an irritant for people with breathing and respiratory problems.
This won’t be the case for everyone, but it can result in sneezing, coughing, a runny nose, hives, or itchy eyes, which are common budgie dust allergy symptoms.
People can be allergic to budgies due to feather dust (dander), which is a fine, powdery substance between the feathers and skin that becomes airborne when budgies flap their wings.
This can cause allergic alveolitis or parakeet dander pneumoconiosis, which is more likely to manifest if you have asthma or a breathing disorder.
You’ll know you’re allergic to budgie dust if you display adverse reactions when spending time around budgies. Also, you can ask your doctor to perform an allergy blood test (an IgE).
Budgie Allergy Symptoms
Budgies don’t produce as much feather dust as other parrots, but they produce some dust. Here are the most common feather dust allergy symptoms:
- Sore throat
- Redness of the skin
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Itchy eyes
- Watery eyes
- Reduced lung/breathing capacity
- Having breathing difficulties
Am I Allergic to Budgies?
You may react when playing with budgies, cleaning up after them, or spending time together. If your budgie explores your home, anywhere their feather dust has traveled can trigger allergies.
You can visit your local healthcare provider and get an IgE blood test. The test will detect whether you’re allergic to budgie feathers by measuring the amount of allergen-specific antibodies in a blood sample.
However, budgies’ feathers aren’t a major source of allergies in and of themselves. Most allergic reactions people have to budgies are due to dander, which spreads around the house during wing flapping.
Can Budgies Affect Your Breathing?
If you already have asthma or another breathing disorder, budgies can harm your breathing.
Even people without these conditions may find it difficult to breathe around budgies because various allergic disorders can be caused by the allergens dispersed into the environment by feather dust.
The most common disorders can affect your breathing negatively, although they can be even more damaging to your health.
Here are the most common allergic disorders caused by budgies:
Alveolitis is a lung disease that causes inflammation of the alveoli, which are tiny air sacs inside the lungs. It also irritates the bronchioles, the tiny channels through which air inside the lungs flows.
The most common culprit for allergic alveolitis is avian dust (dander). Avian dust can be inhaled by people who are exposed to birds regularly. The main symptoms of allergic alveolitis are:
- Tightening of the chest
- Breathing difficulties
- Dry throat cough
- Increase in sweating
- Body aches
- Drowsiness and fatigue
Some of the more chronic symptoms of allergic alveolitis are:
- A crackling sensation during breathing
- Increase in bluish-green pigment in complexion
- Prolonged lung damage if left unaddressed
According to the International Journal of Medicine, allergic alveolitis is common. However, most people, including bird keepers, are unaware of the symptoms.
Parakeet Dander pneumoconiosis
According to the Annals of the American Thoracic Society, parakeet dander pneumoconiosis is mostly caused by inhaling avian dust. It may cause lung damage and can be fatal at certain ages.
It occurs when avian dust from the surrounding air gets inhaled into the lungs and travels through the pores within the walls of the lungs. The severity of the disorder depends on the size and shape of the dust and the persistence of the patient’s exposure.
Acute symptoms of parakeet dander pneumoconiosis include:
- Oxygen deficiency, which manifests as breathing difficulties and decreased lung capacity
- Persistent dry throat
- Nasal congestion
Chronic symptoms of parakeet dander pneumoconiosis include:
- Prolonged lung damage due to progressive massive fibrosis
- Lung failure, which can lead to death if acute symptoms are left unaddressed
- Tuberculosis-like symptoms
- Prolonged inflammation and infection in the lungs can lead to heart failure.
According to the University of Florida parakeet dander pneumoconiosis isn’t common enough that it should discourage bird-keeping.
Can You Be Allergic to Budgies?
You can be allergic to budgies, but these allergies can come in different forms, including:
- Hay grass
More specifically, you may have an allergy to bird feathers, which will flare up after exposure to budgies and their feathers.
What’s more, people who have asthma can be negatively affected by budgies. Like other birds, budgies carry a powder-like substance between their feathers and skin.
When budgies flap their wings, these fine particles become airborne, entering your:
Those with allergy problems or asthma will experience symptoms upon exposure to dander.
Budgie dander refers to fine avian dust particles between a budgie’s feathers and skin.
When budgies flap their wings, play with one another, or move around a lot, the tiny feathers break off the skin and release dander into the surrounding air.
These extremely fine avian dust particles persist in the environment long after being dispersed. Therefore, if you’re consistently exposed to budgies, especially in a tight and poorly ventilated indoor space, there’s a high chance that dander could make its way into your eyes, nose, and lungs.
For many people with allergic issues, exposure to dander can lead to a flaring up of symptoms, such as:
- Red, watery, and itchy eyes
- Redness and itchiness of the skin
- Dry cough
- Runny or congested nose
However, for some people, prolonged exposure to dander can lead to more serious disorders, including parakeet dander pneumoconiosis and allergic alveolitis.
Budgie Allergy Test
If you’re experiencing persistent allergic reactions from exposure to your budgies, seek a budgie allergy test to determine whether you’re allergic to budgies.
In medical terms, this test is an allergen IgE blood test and can be ordered by any medical lab or healthcare provider.
Budgie Dust Allergy
Avian dust is another term for dander. Many people with general allergic problems can experience serious allergic reactions to exposure to budgie dust, including:
- Redness and itchiness of the eyes
- Redness and itchiness of the skin
- Runny or congested nose
- Dry throat and dry cough
- Reduced lung capacity
- Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
It’s possible to be allergic to budgies, but it’s uncommon unless you have a pre-existing sensitivity. Even the serious conditions that may result from budgie dust aren’t common enough to make budgies a dangerous pet to own.
You can avoid negative symptoms by cleaning your budgie’s cage. Likewise, giving a budgie a water dish so it can bathe itself will minimize the dust your budgie produces.