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Allergic to pigs

This young woman is allergic to the subject of her future plans

Lexi Delaney has been around hogs and cattle all of her life. She grew up raising the animals on the family farm near DeWitt, Iowa. Lexi showed pigs in 4-H and FFA, and is now an animal science major at Iowa State University so she can continue her passion for pigs in a future career. But there’s a catch.

Beginning in the summer of her junior year in high school, Lexi started itching when she was around her pigs.

"I started getting a rash and you know, we weren’t sure if something weird popped up and just kind of blew it off and didn’t really think much of it," says Lexi. "And then that next year, that rash came back that summer when we got pigs again. It kind of got worse and started going all over my arms and legs, and we knew, ok, something’s up here."

When Lexi went off to college, the rash went away and again she didn’t think much of it – until she had to visit the swine teaching farm at ISU. Every time she went there, the rash would start reappearing, and became worse.

Lexi found an allergist who determined that she’s allergic to pig dander and pine, which is in the pigs’ bedding. She was given a special medication that should help reduce the symptoms.

But what do you do when you’re allergic to your future plans? You revise them.

"I am an animal science major, and when I knew I’d probably have to pick a career that I wouldn’t be around swine every day, even though that is what I love to do, then I added my double major of ag communications," says Lexi. "I plan to stay in the swine industry and be highly-involved in the swine industry, but hopefully maybe just more from a communications or marketing standpoint rather than being around pigs every day. So I can still be involved without having too many health issues."

Lexi says when you have a passion for something, you just have to find a way around the obstacles.

Learn more about being allergic to animals

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