When you brought your pet home, you just want to have fun with them, right? But you don’t know if you will probably be sneezing, wheezing and itching. These creatures are your friend, but they can trigger your very bad allergies and asthma. Even if you aren’t allergic, airborne pet odors can be irritating.
While many people think animal fur and feather causes allergic reactions, the problem actually stems from pet dander, which is composed of microscopic flakes from pet skin, saliva, dried urine and feces. These particles become airborne and cause a host of allergy and breathing troubles for sensitive individuals. The ammonia in cat urine also creates unpleasant reactions, such as watery eyes.
Allergies from Animals are Common
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, about 10 percent of people are allergic to animals, with between 20 and 30 percent of asthmatics experiencing allergies to pets. Twice as many people have symptoms from cats compared to dogs, according to the American Lung Association.
The standard advice from allergists to control allergic symptoms to pets is to remove the animals from the home, but when Fido and Fluffy are full-fledged members of your family, that’s not an option. The good news is there are tactics to minimize your exposure to cat and dog allergens.
How do you treat pet dander allergies?
Use Air Purifiers
Pet allergens are lightweight and airborne, which means they can be captured by a high-quality air purification system. Opt for an air-cleaning system that is equipped with HEPA technology and is effective at removing ultra-small particles. To ensure that the purifier is effective against allergens, replace the filter regularly as directed.
Since forced air heating and air-conditioning spread allergens around the house, install filters on bedroom ventilation grids.
Here is the best air purifier for pets so you can get away from all your pet problems.
How to Control Animal Allergens
An effective plan to control animal allergens in the home must include a system for regular cleaning, as pet allergens tend to have a jagged shape that allows them to cling to surfaces such as furniture, bedding and fabric. Lifting the allergens from the various surfaces in your home takes a multi-pronged approach.
- Use a HEPA Filter Vacuum Cleaner: Twice weekly, vacuum your carpeting, furniture and draperies with a high-quality, high-efficiency HEPA filter vacuum cleaner. This process will dislodge and remove dander buildup. It is also recommended to wear an allergy mask when vacuuming and removing the machine’s canister for cleaning.
- Steam Clean Carpeting Frequently: Carpeting is notorious for harboring pet dander. Steam cleaning every three months helps to remove embedded dander.
- Mop Uncarpeted Flooring & Wipe Down Walls: Two times a week, remove pet allergens from hard flooring with a damp mop or an electrostatic cloth. Do the same to the walls every three to six months.
- Wash Bedding Weekly: Cleaning your pet’s bedding on a weekly basis helps to minimize dander buildup. Wash all blankets and bedding covers in hot water.
- Bathe Pets Frequently: Washing pets on a regular basis can drastically cut down on dander. Wipe down their coats daily with a damp microfiber cloth.
How to Get Rid of Odors and Dander
How to Manage the Litter Box
As waste receptacles, litter boxes can cause unpleasant odors that can lead to problematic symptoms, including headaches and watery and burning eyes. Individuals with asthma are especially at risk of developing reactions. Prevent odor buildup with the following tactics:
- Clean the litter box regularly: Ammonia builds up over time and the more concentrated it becomes, the stronger it will smell and the more likely it will cause unpleasant physical symptoms. Scoop out feces at least once a day and change the litter every five days. Prior to changing the litter, prevent dust inhalation by spraying it with water, and wear an allergy mask and gloves to minimize exposure.
- Change your litter type: Rather than using standard kitty litter, which tends to produce dust and may contain fragrances that cause allergic reactions, try a hypoallergenic variety such as one made from pine or cedar sawdust, which are absorbent materials that neutralize ammonia.
- Keep the litter box in a well-ventilated area: Placing the box in a location where the ammonia odors can escape helps keep air clean. A nearby air purifier will also help.
Keep your furnace clean
If you can keep Fido and Fluffy from playing with them, furnaces are another great option for cleansing your indoor air of many odors and allergens.
Dirty filters are the most common cause of furnace problems. Dust and dirt restrict airflow—and if the filter gets too clogged, the furnace will overheat and shut off too quickly, and your house won’t warm up. If the blower is running but no heat is coming out, replace the filter.
So here are the common tips to check your furnace: