As in can a wizard have an allergic reaction to allergens produced by cats, hippogriffs, or to any other substance?

As we know, allergies have a genetic component, so maybe the "wizard gene" also prevents the immune system from going overboard?

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    I don't know if JKR's world would stand to such scrutiny, but is the presence of magical characteristics enough to produce substances that could be so distinguished — i.e. some magical component to a chemical element — from mundane or nonmagical substances? – can-ned_food Jul 13 '17 at 15:13
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    @can-ned_food I don't think there's a 'magical substance' or 'magical element' which you can isolate, just creatures who are able to chanel 'magic'... but there can be a wizard who is allergic to dragon dander or saliva but is perfectly fine with the more or less similar proteins produced by the Komodo... – user68762 Jul 13 '17 at 15:45
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    From Rowling: I decided that, broadly speaking, wizards would have the power to correct or override 'mundane' nature, but not 'magical' nature. Therefore, a wizard could catch anything a Muggle might catch, but he could cure all of it; he would also comfortably survive a scorpion sting that might kill a Muggle, whereas he might die if bitten by a Venomous Tentacula. Similarly, bones broken in non-magical accidents such as falls or fist fights can be mended by magic, – ibid Jul 13 '17 at 19:56

HP Wikia points that Hagrid said cats made him sneeze in Philosopher's Stone:

‘I know I don’t have to. Tell yeh what, I’ll get yer animal. Not a toad, toads went outta fashion years ago, yeh’d be laughed at – an’ I don’ like cats, they make me sneeze. I’ll get yer an owl. All the kids want owls, they’re dead useful, carry yer post an’ everythin’.’
Chapter 5 "Diagon Alley"

As @ibid points out, Rowling had mentioned that Hagrid is allergic to cats in a 2004 interview:

Saskia: Hagrid mentioned he's allergic to cats in PS why has he never sneezed when Crookshanks was around?

JK Rowling replies -> He's never around Crookshanks very much. I'm allergic to cats and I can be in a room with one briefly. But of course, Crookshanks isn't all cat. Read 'Fantastic Beasts...'!

(Since Kneazles and cats are different species, Rowling might be saying that Hagrid does not have an allergic response to Crookshanks because he's part-Kneazle.)

The Ministers for Magic article on Pottermore (another hat tip to @ibid) indicates that the 26th Minister for Magic had died of allergy to a magical plant:

Wilhelmina Tuft
1948 – 1959
Cheery witch who presided over a period of welcome peace and prosperity. Died in office after discovering, too late, her allergy to Alihotsy-flavoured fudge.

This establishes that a half-giant wizard can be allergic to normal cats. Since Kneazles don't appear to be very common, I think it's not too much of a stretch to assume that wizards and witches in general can be allergic to non-magical animals.

We can also see that a witch was allergic to a magical plant. There's not mention of "allergy" or "allergic" in suitable context anywhere else in the books, so it remains unknown whether the peanut butter imported from Muggles needs a disclaimer.


To give a short and simple biology lesson. An allergic reaction is not a disease. It is where the bodies immune system reacts abnormally to a substance, termed an allergen. These are things that are generally considered harmless, and the cause is genetic (I won't get into the complexities). So nobody is allergic to Belladonna, but you may be allergic to Tomatoes.

Taking this into account, wizards and witches in the Harry Potter universe are still, ostensibly, human. So it stands to reason that they would still stand the same chance of having an allergy.

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    In Fantastic Beasts, Newt remarks that Jacob's (a Muggle's) physiology is slightly different. It's also a widely known fact that wizards and witches live much longer than humans (e.g. Dumbledore was ~150 or something). this suggests that some things we know about biology (and especially genetics) do not apply there. For instance, their long lifespan must mean their telomeres are more durable (is that the term?) or can regenerate. – Gallifreyan Jul 9 '17 at 17:01
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    I would say that there is a huge gap between a mage (muggle-born or otherwise) and a non mage (Muggle and Squib alike). It's not a stretch for me to accept that this difference in abilities comes with a relatively minor modification that is slightly improved immune system. – Gallifreyan Jul 9 '17 at 18:48
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    I can understand where that comes from. But does it go so far as to mean that muggleborns and squibs are genetically different from their parents to the point where their immune system is so different? The same genetic randomness of antibodies that causes allergic reactions, is also what creates natural immunities (like how some people were able to survive serious diseases such as Spanish 'Flu). Saying they do not have this randomness is very different from saying that they express a higher level of telomerase en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telomerase – KittenWithAWhip Jul 9 '17 at 18:52
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    Yes, it's common knowledge that allergy is the abnormal reaction of the immune system to harmless substances. But in scientific papers it's still called 'allergic disease' for example : The Genetics of Asthma and Allergic Disease: a 21st Century perspective link – user68762 Jul 13 '17 at 16:02
  • I think we need to better define exactly how different a wizard is, genetically speaking, from a muggle before we get further into this question. And even if they were incredibly different, all Animalia have immune systems. There is still no evidence that I can see for their being so different as to have a functionally crippled immune system. Please do correct me if I am wrong. – KittenWithAWhip Jul 13 '17 at 16:28

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