Pet Dander Allergy Relief: Can An Air Purifier Help Dog/Cat Allergies?

Up to 30 million Americans, close to 10%, have a pet dander allergy. And to relieve a pet dander allergy it's important to understand what causes of the allergy to begin with.

Dander, skin flakes, saliva and urine from dogs and cats, can cause allergic reactions such as sneezing, wheezing, runny eyes and noses. Both feathers and the droppings from birds, can increase the allergen exposure. Bird droppings can also be a source of bacteria, dust, fungi and mold. This also applies to the droppings of other caged pets, such as gerbils, hamsters and mice.

Video Review: Pet Dander Allergy Air Purifiers

Dog or Cat Hair Is NOT The Cause of Allergies

As you know animal hair is not a very significant allergen; however, the hair or fur can collect pollen, dust, mold, and other allergens. Although individual pets may produce more or less allergens, there is no relationship between the pet's hair length and allergen production. Having been a Professional dog and cat Groomer, I can say that there is also no such thing as a completely non-allergenic breed.

Animal allergens are found mostly in homes where pets are present. What is surprising, however, is that these allergens are also found (in lesser amounts) in places where pets have never been present, such as schools, workplaces, and other public spaces. Since dander allergens are sticky, they can be brought to these places on the clothing of pet owners (including children). Also, while dander on a smooth surface (such as a wall) can be easily wiped off, in soft materials, such as carpets, mattresses, upholstered furniture, and clothing, it can persist for long periods of time. That is why, unless special steps are taken, pet dander can remain in a home for up to six months after the pet has been removed.

Pet Dander Allergy Relief

An estimated 6 million Americans are allergic to cats and approximately one third of them have cats in their homes. Allergic reactions to cats can range from inflammation of the nose and eyes to asthma attacks. Sadly, although the most effective treatment is removal of the pet, recent scientific studies have shown that steps can be taken in homes with cats to significantly decrease one's exposure to cat allergen without having to find another home for your beloved family member (I mean the cat).

Cat allergen is not actually cat hair, or the dander itself, but a protein present in the dander and saliva of cats. The allergens that become airborne as microscopic particles when inhaled into the nose or lungs, can produce allergic symptoms. Cat allergen is particularly sticky and is carried on clothing. In a household with a cat, it is almost impossible not to be exposed to some level of cat allergen, which may or may not be enough to trigger allergy symptoms.

Dog Allergy

Dog allergies are less common than cat allergy. And, contrary to popular belief, dog hair is not what makes you feel miserable - just like with cats, it is a specific protien in the dander that gets to you. For some allergy sufferers, a dog's lick may also set off an allergic response.

Because dogs tend to scratch themselves more than cats, dog allergen can be more easily introduced into the air. The reason for excessive scratching may be that the dog itself is allergic to something in your home. There are hundreds of possible causes of this, the most common is mold. It is worth mentioning that the same source may be worsening your own allergy symptoms, so taking care of it would make life easier for both you and your pet.

4 Types of Purification for Pet Allergies

These are the 4 types that will help with pet dander allergy relief, in order of effectiveness:

Washable PreFilter – Having a washable pre-filter on your air purifier screens out larger particles of dust, pollen, pet hair, and dander from the air coming into the unit. A washable pre-filter removes most of the larger pollutants and allergens before they have a chance to reach the other technologies. A washable pre-filter also helps extend the life and maximize the efficiency of the other technologies and the unit as a whole.

Washable Electrostatic Grid – functions as an electric dust collector trapping dust, pollens, pet dander, molds and most other airborne pollutants that passed through the PreFilter.

Hepa Filter – Hepa filters, short for High-Efficiency Particulate Air Filters, were originally developed by the Atomic Energy Commission to remove radioactive dust from their manufacturing plants and are currently recommended by the US Department of Homeland Security. They are made from very tiny glass fibers that are tightly woven into a very absorbant air filter. Studies indicate that Hepa Filters are 99.97% effective in capturing harmful airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns (ie. 300 times smaller than the width of a single human hair. A Hepa Filter is extremely important technology to have for anyone with asthma or any allergies. It removes pollen, dust, mold spores, and pet dander.

Activated Carbon Filter – is by far the most effective filter for removing pet odours. Activated carbon is simply carbon that has been treated with oxygen in order to open up millions of tiny microscopic pores between the carbon atoms. As a result, the oxygenated carbon becomes extremely absorbent and is capable of filtering out even the tiniest gases, and gaseous particles.

Additional Technologies – Negative Ions, UV, TI02 Although these other technologies don't specifically or directly help with Pet Allergies, UV and the magnifying effect of UV by TI02 does kill viruses, bacteria, mold and mildew that will be helpful to both Pet and People with a pet dander allergy. In nature, negative ions are created by sunlight, lightening, ocean waves, and waterfalls. Unfortuantely, urbanization has significantly disrupted the natural production of negative ions.


Comparisons of Pet Dander Allergy Purifiers

Conclusion

Having an Air Purifier for a pet dander allergy relief that also generates negative ions is a plus for pets and humans alike. Studies have shown that negative ion generators clears smoke, decrease carbon monoxide levels, reduce infections in hospital emergency rooms, reduce driver fatigue and even help relieve clinical depression. The additon of negative ionization in a room is known to 'make birds sing' as it mimics air conditions in the forests and in general creates 'healthy' air.

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