How to Reduce Pet Dander
Pets can be fantastic additions to any family. In fact, millions of Americans have at least one pet at home. They offer companionship, entertainment, affection, and even opportunities to stay active.
For those with allergies or asthma, however, feline and canine companions can quickly become a health risk. Keeping a pet often means accepting asthmatic or allergic reactions from pet dander.
Luckily, this health risk is entirely avoidable if you understand the basics of pet dander and know how to control it– allowing for a safe, fulfilling, and beneficial presence from a four-legged family member.
What is Pet Dander?
Those who have allergies triggered by pets often carry the misconception that pet dander applies only to shedding hair. Instead, pet dander is a combination of two things: hair and dead skin cells.
On its own, pet hair is not an allergen. Hair becomes an allergen from remnants of other materials, like saliva, urine, or dead skin cells that collect and travel on hair. Together, the combination of hair and dead skin cells create what we refer to as pet dander.
For most people, pet dander exists largely as an annoyance. It settles on carpets, floors, and other surfaces inside the home, prompting routine cleaning. For those with allergies, however, pet dander can become a much more serious problem.
Hair and dead skin cells scattered on household surfaces or floating through the air can trigger an asthmatic or allergic reaction. In fact, estimations place as many as 3 out of 10 people in the United States as suffering from allergic reactions from pet dander.
Are Pet Allergies Dangerous?
Pet allergy symptoms can include wheezing, bought of coughing, difficulty breathing, and even rashes on the face or neck. The danger of these symptoms largely depends upon individual diagnoses. As immune system sensitivity fluctuates from one person to the next, so will the intensity and frequency of symptoms.
Generally speaking, two different factors will determine the level of danger:
• Immune system sensitivity–
Allergens react with hypersensitive immune systems, creating an allergic reaction. For those who have increased sensitivity, pet allergies may cause more intense reactions.
• Amount or size of pet dander–
If there is a significant amount of pet dander present, allergic or asthmatic attacks will be more frequent. If particles are small enough to be inhaled into the lungs, these attacks can be more severe.
Depending on the severity of your reaction and immune sensitivity, pet allergies may either be a daily irritant or a severe threat.
Where Does Pet Dander Come From?
Any pet that has fur or feathers will distribute pet dander. Thus, plenty of pets are considered “hypo-allergenic,” like snakes, turtles, lizards, or even certain hairless pet breeds.
As a combination of dead skin cells and hair, pet dander is distributed through movement and contact. When a pet stretches, scratches, runs, or walks, they are naturally giving off small bits of pet dander. To a larger effect, this also happens when owners groom or pet their dog or cat.
Although pet dander comes from natural sources and processes, it can trigger serious physical reactions from those with allergies or asthma. For more information on the best air purifier for pet allergies click here to get up to date information on what you can do to exist with a pet and have allergies.
How Long Does Pet Dander Last?
Pet dander can last for a long time, purely because it can be difficult to pinpoint its presence in the home. Their microscopic size, lightweight nature and jagged shape make it easy for pet dander particles to attach and settle in around the home undetected.
It can take a long time for pet dander allergens to lose their strength. These allergens could stay in the home for months, settling onto walls, carpets, furniture, household surfaces, bedding, curtains, and even clothes.
How to Control Pet Dander in Your Home
There are numerous ways to control pet dander inside the home. A few common methods are:
• Keeping pets outdoors
Having dogs and cats stay outdoors as much as possible will reduce the amount of pet dander that settles inside the home, though this will not eliminate allergens.
• Minimizing contact
Those with allergies or asthma can reduce their contact with pets to control the spread and effects of pet dander. Washing hands can also help, but allergens will still be present inside the home.
• Frequent bathing
Medicated shampoos are available to decrease the allergens found in pet dander. While effective for short-term use–pets will need to be bathed two or three times a week to control allergies and asthma attacks.
• Keeping pets away from carpets and bedding
Since fabric easily retains pet dander, keeping pets off carpets, bedding or furniture can help limit the time that pet dander stays inside the house.
• Frequent cleaning
Dusting, vacuuming, and washing the surfaces inside the home can eliminate pet dander before it settles in. Keep in mind, however; that vacuuming can often stir up pet dander and increase the likelihood of asthmatic or allergic reactions.
• HVAC system maintenance
Heating and cooling units have air filters, which can trap airborne contaminants like dirt, dust, and pet dander. If air filters are not regularly replaced, they can become clogged, and pet dander can spread through ductwork and air vents.
• Indoor air purifier
An indoor air purifier traps allergens and airborne contaminants before they settle onto surfaces inside the home. Compared to HVAC air filters, an air purifier has a much more focused approach to raising indoor air quality.
Adding an air purifier to your home is an incredibly efficient way to keep pet dander under control.
Cleaning Pet Dander in the Home
Cleaning pet dander from the surfaces of your home involves a routine, thorough approach. Here are a few general cleaning tips to follow when removing pet dander:
• Carpets should be vacuumed and steam-cleaned.
• Use a dust mask when vacuuming to avoid reactions from stirred-up pet dander.
• Wash the walls, ceilings, and any surface to remove microscopic allergens.
• Frequently wash linens, upholstery, bedding, clothes, and pet beds.
• Clean air vents and ductwork connected to the HVAC system.
Keep in mind that, because pet dander is small and lightweight, cleaning should be done as frequently and as thoroughly as possible to eliminate allergy or asthma symptoms.
Best Air Purifier for Pet Dander
The OdorKlenz Air Purifier System is able to accomplish a two-fold mechanism which is important for every pet owner. The first stage consists of the capturing and neutralization of chemical odors and malodors in the patented OdorKlenz-Air Cartridge. Through the use of safe earth minerals, all airborne odors are captured and neutralized at the media without releasing any chemicals or fragrances back into the environment.n. Since odors are just airborne chemicals that we can smell it works on them too (and even some of those we don’t smell or have become desensitized too).
Once the odors have been processed and neutralized at the OdorKlenz air cartridge the air is then passed through the HEPA filter where particulates of up to .3 microns are trapped. Such particulates may include but not limited to dust, dander, allergens, pet hair, and bacteria. From there clean air is exchanged back into your living air particulate and odor free. Since this is all being done behind the scenes while your unit is running there is nothing that you need to do other than enjoying your time with your family and pets. Maintain pet odors and pet dander in your home with the best air purifier for pets and pet odors.
It can be difficult to determine how to remove allergy and asthma issues without removing a furry companion from the home. After all, any allergic or asthmatic reaction—on all levels of severity—is a health risk.
Thankfully, understanding how to control pet dander can allow you to enjoy all the benefits of having a pet without sacrificing personal well-being.