Allergic to Dogs and Allergies in Dogs Resource

Allergic to Dogs Symptoms | Congestion Complications – Fever, Warning Signs, Polyps

As we have discovered previously, allergic to dogs symptoms can vary in type, frequency and severity and one particular symptom of allergies can be congestion.

Avoid Aggravating Factors

From an holistic viewpoint concerning dog allergy treatment, the adage ‘prevention is better than cure’ should always be borne in mind.

One facet to achieving this is by trying to avoid aggravating factors that can lead to excess mucus production and other complications associated with congestion. Examples of aggravating factors include:

  • Environmental irritants e.g. smoke/smoking.
  • Exposure to various common allergens e.g. dust mites.
  • Congestant foods  e.g. dairy produce.
  • Pharmaceutical cough mixtures that contain cough suppressants. The body has evolved the cough mechanism in order to help remove foreign matter and help prevent the build-up of allergens, irritants, mucus and infection in the airways and lungs. Coughing is only the symptom of an underlying condition and can be categorized as either being a productive cough (produces sputum i.e. mucus or phlegm) or non-productive cough (no sputum). Suppressing the coughing action can result in creating more problems than it appears to solve.

Congestion Complications and Warning Signs

Although decongestants, both pharmaceutical and natural, can play a useful role in treating minor congestion and thereby lessen the risk of developing a secondary infection, one still needs to apply common sense and remember that such an approach is not a panacea e.g. natural decongestants represent a complimentary approach and are not a solution to all problems related to the topic. Minor congestion may be symptomatic of, or lead onto, more serious conditions that can require medical assistance and pharmaceutical drugs such as antibiotics. Therefore, if you are concerned or observe the following symptoms, always consult a medical practitioner:

1- Fever (Pyrexia)

Fever Allergy Complications

What is Normal Body Temperature?

The normal range for body temperature depends on the individual in question, where the thermometer measurement is taken and other factors such as the time of day, ambient temperature, the age and sex of the person, and more. Figures quoted on this topic vary depending on one’s source but Sund-Levander et al. 2002 suggest the following for healthy adult men and women:

Ear 35.4–37.8 95.7–100
Mouth 33.2–38.2 91.8–100.8
Armpit 35.5–37.0 95.9–98.6
Rectal (most accurate method) 34.4–37.8 93.9–100


A figure of 37°C (98.6°F) is commonly cited as being the average normal body temperature and the normal daily variation is 0.5°C (0.9°F) (HPIM 18th ed. pp.4012)

What is a Fever?

Definitions on what constitutes a fever (pyrexia), again vary depending on one’s source:

Ear ≥37.2 °C (≥99 °F) n/a Wikipedia
>38.3 °C (>101 °F) n/a WebMD
Mouth ≥37.7 °C (≥99.9 °F) n/a Barone 2009
>37.8 °C (>100 °F) n/a WebMD
n/a ≥37.5 °C (≥99.5 °F) NIH
Armpit ≥37.2 °C (≥99 °F) n/a Wikipedia
n/a ≥37.2 °C (≥99 °F) NIH
Rectal ≥37.5–38.3 °C (≥99.5–100.9 °F) n/a Axelrod and Diringer2008
≥37.5–38.3 °C (≥99.5–100.9 °F) n/a Laupland 2009
>38.3 °C (>101 °F) ≥38 °C (≥100.4 °F) WebMD
n/a ≥38 °C (≥100.4 °F) NIH
Other types: Forehead (temporal) n/a   Plastic strip thermometer If >39°C (>102 °F)
recheck using a more accurate method
Pacifier n/a   Pacifier thermometer If >39°C (>102 °F)
recheck using a more accurate method
Not specified ≥38°C (100.4°F) >37.5°C (99.5°F) NHS
>37.2°C (>98.9°F) Morning n/a HPIM
>37.7°C (>99.9°F) Evening n/a HPIM
>37.2 – 37.5 °C (>99 -99.5 °F) n/a NIH

37.2°C is 98.96°F. This is approximated by the above sources to either 98.9°F or 99°F.
38.3°C is 100.94°F. This is approximated by the above sources to either 100.9°F or 101°F.
≥ means greater or equal to i.e. at or above
> means greater than
n/a information not cited for the given source

Fevers and Seeking Medical Advice

The point at which one should seek medical advice can vary depending on the nature of the fever and the person affected. Two people with the same temperature may respond or feel very differently; therefore you should always trust your instincts and seek medical advice if you are worried. Always put safety first and this is especially so with the young, elderly, pregnant women or those with underlying medical conditions.

A temperature of 38.8°C (102°F) that lasts more than one to two days, or, a figure of 39.4°C (103°F) or greater, are often cited as representing ’cause for concern’. However, suggestions for when one should seek medical advice do vary depending on one’s source. For example:

  • use a color coded system for identifying risk of serious illness in children based on fever and various other traits e.g. activity or respiratory. In general, green signifies low risk (usually indicative that home care will suffice), whereas amber (intermediate risk) and red (high risk) denote that assessment by a healthcare professional is required. In particular, potentially life threatening conditions and the need for urgent professional assessment are shown by the color red. In combination with other symptoms, a temperature ≥39°C (age 3-6 months) and fever for ≥5 days is assigned an amber color, whereas a temperature ≥38°C (age <3 months) receives a red color.
  • The National Institutes of Health recommends calling a doctor immediately if:
CHILD (rectal) ADULT (rectal)
  • Younger than 3 months:
    ≥38 °C (≥100.4 °F)
  • 3-12 months :
    ≥39 °C (≥102.2°F)
  • Under 2 years :
    Fever more than 1 to 2 days
  • Older child:
    Fever more than 2 to 3 days
  • ≥39.4°C (≥103°F), or
  • Fever more than 2-3 days


  • Fever spikes to >40.5 °C (>105 °F) and cannot be brought down readily with medication, or anyone with a fever who
  • Has pre-existing medical conditions, or
  • Who has recently travelled to a third world country, or
  • Who has other unusual symptoms or cause for concern


  • An alternative source suggests the following :
CHILD (rectal) ADULT (rectal)
  • Younger than 3 months:
    ≥38 °C (≥100.4 °F)
  • 3-6 months:
    ≥38.3 °C (≥101 °F)
  • 6+ months:
    38.8 °C (102 °F) to 39.4 °C (102.9 °F) that lasts more than 2 days or rises
6+ months: ≥39.4 °C (≥103 °F)


 What Causes a Fever?

The current medical view is that fevers associated with allergies are not directly due to the allergic reaction itself but occur as a consequence of allergy symptom complications e.g. bacterial secondary infection associated with congestion (See also Can Allergies Cause a Fever (Pyrexia)?).

Fevers are caused by pyrogens (pyro + gen = heat generating) and these substances can be categorized into 2 groups:

  • Exogenous pyrogens originate outside the host and include pathogenic microbes such as viruses, bacteria, yeast and their products e.g. endotoxins found in the cell wall of Gram negative bacteria. External pyrogens trigger the formation of endogenous pyrogens inside the host.
  • Endogenous pyrogens or cytokines are chemicals e.g. interleukin-1, interferon gamma, that are produced primarily by white blood cells called monocytes and macrophages within the host in response to a variety of agents e.g. autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, inflammation, infection, microbes (such as bacteria and viruses) and poisons. It is believed the presence of pyrogens (such as the bacteria that cause secondary infections) interfere with the brain’s thermostatic control mechanism associated with the hypothalamus gland. The outcome is that the person’s body temperature rises above normal until cooling mechanisms are triggered e.g. sweating, shivering.

The process of elevating the body temperature appears to bring certain advantages:

  • Microbial pathogens such as viruses and bacteria have adapted to operate optimally within the normal temperature range of their host e.g. a human. Increasing the body temperature beyond its usual range may inhibit their growth or kill them.
  • Triggers an increased production of monocytes and other phagocytic cells. Phagocytic cells engulf invading microorganisms.
  • An increased heart rate facilitates delivery of monocytes and other white blood cells to where they are needed.
  • Metabolism is increased and chemical reactions occur more rapidly aiding cellular repair.

Treating a Fever

A fever can be indicative of both a viral and bacterial infection but whereas viral infections tend to be systemic and affect various parts of the body simultaneously, a bacterial secondary infection tends to be localized and accompanied by heat, pain, redness and swelling e.g. sinus, ear or lung infection.

Medical assessment will determine whether a person needs antibiotic treatment and the specific type required to treat a bacterial infection; antibiotics do not treat viruses. Furthermore, blood tests and culturing of samples may be necessary to help rule out other conditions whilst helping to confirm the identity of the bacteria causing the infection.

In addition, the following can all play a role in tackling a fever:

  • Antipyretics (lower fever) such as ibuprofen (especially effective in children – Perrott et al. 2004) or acetaminophen (paracetamol). Do not give aspirin to anyone below the age of 19 due to the risk of Reye’s syndrome.
  • Correct hydration.
  • Analgesics (painkillers) to tackle headaches or pain.
  • Using a fan/air conditioning to help reduce temperature whilst improving comfort.

2- Other Warning Signs

Other Warning Signs Allergy Complications

  • Breathing becomes difficult, labored or unusually rapid
  • Chest or abdominal pain
  • Coughing up blood
  • Extreme listlessness or irritability
  • Mental confusion
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Severe swelling of throat
  • Unusual headache, sensitivity to light or stiffness of neck
  • Unusual skin rash

3- Polyps

Polyps Allergy Complications

Finally, a complication of persistent nasal congestion due to allergies and allergic rhinitis is the risk of forming small, non-cancerous growths (polyps) that can impede airflow and mucus drainage. 

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