Your Allergy Symptoms and How Pet Dander Air Purifiers Can Help!
Aerobiology is the study of airborne particles that cause allergic reactions in sensitized people. Typical reactions include upper respiratory problems like allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, and asthma. About 25% of Americans are affected by these kinds of illnesses. What's the culprit?
Areoallergens consist of pollen, biogenic waste, mold spores, and occupational allergens. According to the Asthma Center, the most significant types are proteins and glycoproteins with a molecular weight of 10,000 to 60,000 Daltons. This includes particles that are airborne and lightweight so they can travel great distances in the wind.
Outdoor allergens include tree pollen, grass pollen, weed pollen, and fungi that thrive on plants decaying in soil. Indoor allergens include mold, dust mites, German cockroaches, and animal dander.
Dust mites are found in high concentrations in the temperate zones, particularly in people's beds. They like bedding, drapes, carpet, and upholstery. These eight legged, microscopic creatures are most common on your pillow. The best way to control the presence of dust mites is to:
- Encase mattresses, pillows, and comforters in dust mite proof covers
- Wash bedding weekly in hot water
- Limit your use of upholstered furniture
- Replace curtains and blinds
- Keep indoor humidity at less than 50%
- Vacuum weekly
German cockroaches are common in apartments that are heated. They produce potent allergens that are associated with asthma. The best way to control them is to:
- Remove food and water sources
- Use pesticide bait traps
- Wash down surfaces, floors, and walls with detergent
- Seal cracks in walls, flooring, molding, and around under-sink water piping
Dog and cat dander occurs through the desquamation of skin cells. It's ongoing and can accumulate in households in great amounts if not managed on a regular basis. Air cleaners are ideal for removing airborne dander. Unless controlled, dander remains in homes for many months, leading to persistent asthma and allergy symptoms. Ways to control pet dander include:
- Keeping pets out of bedrooms and off furniture
- Wash bedding weekly in hot water
- Bathe your pet once a week
- Use a HEPA vacuum to clean carpets and rugs
- Use a pet dander air purifier to capture airborne particles
Over half of all homes in the U.S. have a cat or dog as a pet. They're family members and play a significant role in daily living. Unfortunately, many animal lovers get pets only to discover they're allergic to them. Suddenly they're faced with the daily discomfort of allergies and the problem of how to deal with their symptoms.
Did you know that about 5-10% of Americans are allergic to pet dander? Pet dander clings to local reservoirs like curtains, upholstery, rugs, clothing, bedding, and even air ducts. Pet dander allergies can lead to hard-to-control asthma symptoms.
Most people think pet fur causes pet allergies; however, that's not quite true. Airborne saliva and urine proteins are sources of allergens. Sebaceous glands in the skin produce protein-based allergens. As pets bathe, desquamated skin cells and saliva, which are rich in water-soluble protein, are released into the air. When this fur is shed, it causes these allergens to collect about the room.
So how do you keep the pet you love and control your asthma and allergy symptoms? Follow the steps mentioned above and also consider:
- Neutering your male cats and dogs to lower allergen production
- Washing your hands after contact with your pet
- Keeping your hands away from your nose and eyes when around your pet
- Placing filters on room ventilation grids, to keep allergens trapped in air ducts
- Using electrostatic cloth like Swiffer to clean floors and walls and capture pet hair and dander
- Trying immunotherapy, an allergy injection that can actually lower one's sensitivity to a pet
Other forms of treatment might include
- Oral antihistamines
- Nasal sprays
- Eye drops
- Nasal sinus rinse
- Asthma medication as recommended by your doctor
Unfortunately, pet allergies are unpredictable. They can fade or increase overtime and exposure. The prominent cat allergen is Fel d 1, and it's found in saliva, blood albumen, urine, dander, and sebaceous gland secretions.
Cat allergies are more common than dog allergies and can be more severe. 25% of allergy sufferers can be extremely hypersensitive.
Cat allergens are produced in large amounts, especially from non-neutered males. They're small in size, lightweight, sticky, and mobile, so they can be carried by pet owners anywhere. You can inadvertently carry them with you to work, a hotel, or any other place outside of the home.
Dog dander contains high levels of Can f 1 or Can f 2 allergens. Like cats, allergens are higher in non-neutered males. Long-haired dogs, working dogs, and dogs that typically develop a second winter coat cause more indoor allergy pollution than short haired dogs. So how can a pet dander air purifier help?
First, it must have a HEPA filter. If you're using a central air conditioning and heating system, use a HEPA filter to help capture pet dander allergens.
Also, cover bedroom vents with cheesecloth to reduce the spread of allergens even more. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends using an air cleaner for at least four hours per day.
Try to find one with an electrostatic filter, too. These are very good at removing particles the size of animal allergens from the air. An air cleaner will not remove allergens stuck to surfaces. For this, you must wipe down all household surfaces including furnishings, walls, countertops, windows, and other hard surfaces with an electrostatic cloth and cleaning substance.
There are ways to keep the pet you love and minimize allergy and asthma symptoms. Measure you symptoms, talk to your doctor, and decide the best course of action. You might have to make a few adjustments, but overall, it's a priceless effort.