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Your Ultimate Guide to Pets, Allergies & Air Purifiers for Pet Dander
Did you know that an estimated 35 million Americans suffer from allergies? According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America 15-30% of people with allergies have allergic reactions to pets.
You'll find pet dander on just about every furry critter you bring into your home. In fact, pet dander is carried on clothing; and for this reason, can be found virtually anywhere. It floats in the air and sticks to most surfaces.
But it's not the pet hair or even the flaky dandruff-like dander that causes allergies to act up. It's a specific protein in the dander that causes a reaction.
WebMD reports that one of the main causes of pet allergies is protein. Dr. Chui, associate professor of pediatrics and medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin says that "with any allergy, from hay fever to peanut allergies, it's always a protein in the substance that you're reacting to."
Pet allergy producing proteins called allergens are also found in your pet's urine and saliva. Add this to the fact that these proteins are airborne and ever-present explains why people have allergy symptoms just by walking into an empty room.
Luckily, you don't have to give up your fuzzy companion. There are ways to enjoy your furry friend and control allergy symptoms at the same time. This helpful guide offers a few tips on keeping your allergies under control in an easy way.
1. Remove Traditional Carpeting
Carpet is a breeding ground for all sorts of bacteria and dust. But it also captures pet dander. It collects in the corners, along baseboards, and under door jams. The best solution is to remove any installed carpeting if you can and replace it with wood or tile flooring.
Wood and tile flooring is easy to clean. You can use rugs to create warmth and add decorative style to any room and you can keep them clean easier. Most throw rugs are either washable or dry cleanable.
2. Learn to Love Housework
If you insist on having carpeting, invest in low pile carpeting and steam clean it often. If you live in an apartment where the carpeting cannot be removed, then vacuum daily. Invest in a pet friendly vacuum cleaner too. Vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters are ideal. They capture particles as small as 0.3microns.
If you own multiple pets, it's recommended that you vacuum and wipe down surfaces on a daily basis. You can always use a lightweight sweeper or stick vacuum for in-between cleanings. They're easily accessible and can make managing dander that much simpler.
3. Invest in an HEPA Air Purifier
Next to swapping carpet for tile, investing in an air purifier for pet dander is probably one of the best things you can do for your living environment. Air purifiers aid in managing pet dander, dust mites, mold spores, pollen and other allergy-causing irritants. Make sure your model has a HEPA filter. Pet dander is light and airy. HEPA filters are really good at sieving it out of the air and reducing exposure.
There are single room air purifiers which can be set up anywhere you want and moved from room to room as needed, or you can invest in a whole house model to manage than 2,000 sq. ft. of space. Just be sure to invest in a model specifically designed for pet dander control.
4. Use Pet Beds
Keep pets off furniture and bedding if you can. Place pet beds throughout the home and encourage their use. They're easily washed and kept clean. If you have a cat, purchase a cat tower they can sleep in. If you prefer to have your pet sleep with you, expect dander and frequent washing.
Placing an air purifier in your bedroom to capture airborne proteins helps. Although it's most ideal to keep your bedroom a pet-free environment, most pet owners like having their furry friends with them. For this reason, you'll need to wash down surfaces, vacuum and use an air purifier to keep this space especially clean.
5. Keep Surfaces Dusted
Dust all your household furnishings on a regular basis. As pet dander floats, it lands on virtually any surface in the house including kitchen counters. Wipe them down daily. Cats tend to climb on everything - the higher the better, right? Wipe these surfaces down regularly to keep dander under control.
The top of furnishings like bookshelves, clocks, dining tables, and window sills are places pet dander can collect. Wipe down walls where pets rub, too. Basically, any place your pet frequents needs to be cleaned regularly.
Other Helpful Tips
- Wash hands regularly. Washing your hands is easily done and quite effective.
- Use over the counter medication. Although you might need professional treatment, sometimes over the counter allergy medicines can be helpful and reduce symptoms.
- If you know you're going to be around pets on a long term basis, WebMD suggests considering allergy shots that help develop protective antibodies and an increased immunity to allergens. It's always worth a medical consultation if it's important to you.
- Know that pet dander is sticky, so no matter how often you clean your environment you're still going to be exposed.
- Finally, consider a pet that doesn't have any fur. Popular pets include: lizards, turtles, geckos, snakes, and fish.