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Feathers add a luxurious feel to everything when added to your beddings and pillows. Feathers add comfort and warmth, especially during the year’s colder months. However, there may be better ideas than having feathers in bedding for some individuals.

Feather allergy means that you get specific symptoms upon inhaling or touching feathers. Feather allergy symptoms can range from mild to severe over time. Feather allergy, although rare, affects many people who suffer from other allergies, like dust.

It is especially common in those who suffer from dust mite allergies and pollen allergies. Because it causes hay fever symptoms, people with asthma can be triggered to have an asthma attack upon inhaling the scent of feathers.

Can you be allergic to feathers?

Yes, you can. Feather allergy is an overreaction of the immune system upon contact with feathers. Once feathers trigger your immune system, it causes the release of antibodies, which then cause allergy symptoms.

Feather allergy is caused by dander in feathers, which triggers your immune system. When birds shed feathers, there is some piece of their skin still left in the feathers, and this is what triggers your immune system.

Dander contains proteins from animal skin, which are common allergens. According to studies, most feather allergies are not true allergies but are caused by mite allergens in feathers {1}.

What are the symptoms of feather allergy?

Feather allergy symptoms are similar to other allergy symptoms. These include:

  • Runny nose
  • Itchy eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Congestion
  • Hives or skin irritation
  • Difficulty breathing and asthma
  • Postnasal drip
  • Sinus pressure
  • Decreased sense of taste and smell

Feather allergy symptoms severity can vary from person to person. These symptoms can vary in severity depending on one’s sensitivity level and exposure to the feathers.

Most people have severe symptoms of feathers at night when sleeping because most people tend to have feathers in their bedding and pillows. While sleeping, they have more exposure to these allergens.

The most severe symptom of feather allergy is anaphylaxis. This is an extreme reaction to feathers that needs urgent care. If not, it may result in death. People prone to anaphylaxis have an EpiPen prescribed by a doctor for such occasions. However, even after administering adrenaline through an EpiPen, you still need to visit a doctor for observation incase symptoms reappear. 

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How to manage feather allergy

The best way to manage feather allergy is to avoid feathers. If you’re still unsure of your feather allergy and are only guessing it, you need to take an Allergy Test to confirm. Confirming an allergy is the first and easiest way to start managing it and preventing more allergy symptoms.

You’ll find that products like comforters, pillows and clothing often contain feathers, and you must avoid those with feathers. You can use alternatives like allergy-proof covers with a membrane preventing feathers from coming into contact with your skin.

You must avoid any feather products when you’re sure of your feather allergy. When purchasing clothes and other products, read labels to ensure they don’t have feathers.

If you want to reduce your feather exposure further, vacuum regularly using a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner. You can also use a mop of damp cloth afterwards to ensure that feathers will be in the air in your home.

When suffering from feather allergy, avoiding exposure to birds is also necessary. If you have a bird pet, you must give them away. If you live on a farm with birds, you must also find ways to ensure your rescue exposure. Managing contact with feathers is easy if you’re not sharing a house with birds.

How can I treat feather allergy?

The first is to take an Allergy Test to get a proper diagnosis. Allergy tests help you determine the cause of your symptoms so you can be able to manage those symptoms. Once you have your diagnosis, moving forward and dealing with your condition is easier.

There are different ways you can treat feather allergy. Of course, it doesn’t go away after treatment, but these forms of treatment help ease your symptoms. These include:

  • Allergy shots
  • Antihistamines
  • Nasal spray

If you experience severe symptoms, your doctor may recommend a stronger medication like inhaled corticosteroid or leukotriene modifier. Medications like allergy shots help your body be less sensitive to feather allergens. You can either get shots for immunotherapy or take oral medications. The duration of immunotherapy treatment is one year.

Antihistamines and decongestants are the most commonly used allergy medications as they help manage sneezing, stuffiness, and itchy and runny nose. Corticosteroids, on the other hand, help treat the inflammation in your nose. 

Final thoughts

Managing feather allergy is quite simple once you’ve taken your Allergy Test. Once you’re sure you have a feather allergy, you can work to keep the environment clean by washing and vacuuming it often.

By avoiding exposure to feathers, you will live without symptoms of feather allergy. You can consciously avoid feathers and birds, allowing you to live a more comfortable life free of allergy symptoms.



  1. Kilpiö, K., Mäkinen‐Kiljunen, S., Haahtela, T., & Hannuksela, M. (1998). Allergy to feathers. Allergy, 53(2), 159-164. (