Reduce Pet Dander Allergies With An Upright Vacuum
Just because animals make you a little sniffly doesn't mean you don't want to enjoy a furry little confidant. Ask anyone who owns a pet, the positives always outweigh the negatives. For those of you with mild pet allergies, there are a few ways to get a pet into the home without causing constant irritation.
What Exactly Causes The Allergy (And How Serious Is It)?
To reduce the allergic reaction, you first need to know what causes the allergy. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, most people are allergic to pet dander as opposed to the actual fur. When animals shed skin cells, the cells become dander. That's what causes most allergic reactions.
Some people suffer from a stronger allergic reaction to the protein in cat saliva. This is not as common and only becomes an issue when coming in contact with recently chewed or licked areas and being physically licked.
In either case, the symptoms can range from run of the mill to highly dangerous. Most people only suffer from coughing, itchy eyes or throat, sneezing, and sinus issues. People with slightly more serious allergies might produce a rash or hives when coming in contact with pet dander.
Rare, very serious cases of pet allergies can result in anaphylactic shock, which causes airways to become inflamed and close.
This is only in very select cases, but it is important to know the severity of the allergy before attempting to live with a pet. If you suffer from only mild symptoms, the following list may help you enjoy the fulfilled life of a pet owner.
Pet Free Areas
As you'll remember, the most common pet allergies are caused by pet dander. The dander can settle on furniture or float in the air like any other dust particles. If you have a large dog, the best way to reduce dander is to allow them to spend as much time as possible outside.
For people with small dogs, cats, or birds, simply letting the pet outside isn't a possibility. In this case, it might be worthwhile to create "pet free" places to spend time in when allergy symptoms act up and relief is needed.
It can be hard to resist the urge to let a pet cuddle with you on the couch, but those homes with allergy sufferers should consider giving pets other areas to lounge instead of the furniture. Upholstery is practically a magnet when it comes to pet dander.
Find alternative "pet only" furniture. Get your dog a big, comfy microfiber bed or find a fun cat tower. If you have an extra evening and some leftover carpet, you could even make your own cat palace!
Not only is the bedroom chalk full of materials that soak up pet dander like a sponge, it is also the place that you need to be most hygienic. Think about it, you will spend at least 6-10 hours a night with your face buried in a pillow. You want to make sure it is pet dander free.
Pets like to visit your bedroom because it smells like you, and that brings them comfort when you're busy. Place an old pillowcase or scarf in the pet's bed area to help them find solace in a place that isn't your bedroom.
Dander Reducing Materials
Some of people just can't resist the urge to let their pets sleep in bed with them. For those of you who suffer from only the most mild of symptoms, there are a few steps you can take to reduce dander while giving your furry friend full range of the home.
Carpets and rugs are the perfect place for pet dander to build up. Have the floors replaced with ceramic tile or look for ceramic tile floors when searching for a residence. The hard surface won't trap pet dander like carpet does.
Cleaning is also more fruitful with ceramic tile, as it wipes down easily, leaving a completely sanitized surface.
In actuality, an hard flooring surface will work. Hardwood floors can repel pet dander just as well as ceramic tile, but ceramic tile is much more durable. It will hold up to claws or any other wear and tear your pet can come up with.
Can't get rid of your carpet? Manage it with an upright vacuum that is recommended for use with pets.
Much like with the ceramic tile floors, leather furniture is simple to clean. Leather has a strong, relatively impermeable surface that pet dander will not be able to easily penetrate. All you'll need to do is clean the leather regularly.
Look for cleaning solutions that also work well against dust mites. Pet dander collects in dust, so these products are effective in breaking it down. Look for active ingredients like benzyl benzoate or tannic acid.
Make sure the cleaning solution will work well with the fabric and not ruin the color by testing it first. Choose a swatch of fabric in a hard to see area like the back. This way you'll have gorgeous furniture that stays as allergen free as possible.
Get Clean Air
While pet dander is most likely to be sloughed off your pet's skin and get trapped in fabrics, it can also circulate like any other airborne particle. Airborne particulates are decidedly less easy to clean, unlike scrubbing dander out of hardwood floors.
The key here is to isolate the dander and make it more difficult to circulate. This should cause the dander to settle in a place that might provide simpler removal.
If you have a house that relies on fan-forced heating and cooling, this could be the number one source of your pet dander woes. Aside, of course, from the pet. But who can blame them for their own skin cells? Here are some solutions.
The key here is to isolate the dander and make it more difficult to circulate. This should cause the dander to settle in a place that might provide simple removal. The simplest solution is to close the registers. It might not be a good idea to close all of the registers, as this will stop all the airflow in the house. Instead, close the registers in pet free areas like bedrooms.
This will prevent dander-laden air from circulating in certain areas and make pet free rooms even more effective.
Not all homes were built with fan-forced heating and cooling. If that is the case, it might be a good idea to invest in a HEPA air purifier. These air purifiers have filters that remove up to 99.97% of all airborne particulates from the air. And that certainly includes pet dander.
Never Stop Cleaning
The only real solution for those with pet allergies is to have a set cleaning routine.
- Vacuum and mop daily
- Bathe your pet every week
- Wash everything (at least) every 2-3 weeks
- Monthly flea treatments
Get the whole family to join in by creating a rewards system. As if living with a loving pet isn't a reward enough!