Air purifiers for pet dander

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Pet dander

Looking for an air purifier for pets? Remember, it is not the pet hair, but the dander your cat, dog, or other pet produces that become airborne and cause allergy symptoms.

Pet dander and allergy symptoms

Pet dander is made up of small, even microscopic, flecks of skin shed by cats, dogs, rodents, birds and other animals with fur or feathers. Not all of us are affected by dander, but it can cause reactions in people who are specifically allergic to these triggers. In addition to dander, pet-related allergy triggers or allergens come from sources other than the animal's skin.

You can be allergic to pets, or you may suffer from asthma and are triggered by pet allergens. For those with asthma, breathing animal allergens can make respiratory symptoms worse and lead to reduced lung function. The concentration of allergen needed to cause a reaction varies greatly from person to person. Suffering from pet allergies may result in upper and lower respiratory tract symptoms including congestion, sneezing, runny nose, chest tightness and wheezing, in addition to itching, watery eyes, eczema or rashes.

Causes of pet allergies

Proteins found in the saliva, urine, and feces of cats, dogs, and other pets can cause allergic reactions as well. The most common allergies by far are caused by the Fel d 1 protein of cats and the Can f 1 and Can f 2 proteins of dogs. It’s possible for dried saliva containing allergens to flake off from an animal's fur and become airborne, allowing these allergens to be inhaled by an individual. In addition, dust from dried feces can become airborne in a similar way.

Pet dander in the home

Lightweight and small, pet allergens remain suspended in the air for a long time, much longer than allergens from cockroaches or dust mites. Due to their microscopic size and uneven shape, pet allergens can easily cling to furniture, bedding, fabrics and the things you bring in and out of your home. Easily spread through the home and out to public places like schools and hospitals, pet dander can even be found in spaces without pets.

Removing pet dander with a HEPA filter

If you or someone you love is sensitive to pet allergens, the primary way to protect your indoor air quality is to not have a pet in your home. Pet allergens may stay in the home for months after the pet is gone since allergens remain in house dust. If going petless isn’t an option, try to keep pets out of the bedroom of the allergy sufferer. Keeping pets off furniture, especially upholstery, and out of carpeted areas in the home can be helpful to dog and cat allergy prevention.

Pet allergens are generally mid to large-sized particles, meaning they can fall as much as 3 ft in 10 minutes and are quick to settle on your furniture, bed, and pillow. Vacuuming carpets and furniture with a HEPA filter vacuum can be effective in reducing the amount of dander.

Air purifier for pet dander

In addition to vacuuming, to effectively reduce the amount airborne allergens and allergens settled on surrounding surfaces, you may need an air purifier to continuously clean the air at a high rate. If you aim to use an air purifier for pet hair, go with a unit with the highest airflow you can find. For pet dander, filtration efficiency for ultrafine particles is not as critical as it is for other triggers, so an air purifier with a good airflow will do just fine.

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