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Is Pet Dander Bad for Your Health?

Pet dander is a common concern for pet owners. Learn about ways to reduce pet dander within your home. An air purifier can help you to remove pet dander altogether, reducing health risks and allergy problems.

Pets are a source of happiness and comfort for many people. There aren’t many downsides to having a pet that you love and care for - but pet dander is one of them. Unfortunately, pet dander can create indoor air pollution and decrease the quality of the air you’re breathing. That’s not usually dangerous, but it can irritate people’s allergies. In fact, pet dander tends to be one of the most common triggers for allergies. 

What Exactly is Pet Dander? 

Skin particles that are cast off by animals are called dander. This is common in animals with fur or feathers. It’s a common myth that only cats or dogs produce pet dander, but that isn’t true - animals like birds, hamsters, rabbits, and guinea pigs shed it too. 

The particles are incredibly small and light. They float into the air, where they can be inhaled by humans and settle into the membranes of the eyes, nose, or mouth and eventually make their way into the lungs. Even though the proteins in the powder are technically harmless, those with an overly sensitive immune system can react. 

This causes blood vessels to expand, triggering an allergic reaction that sends you into fits of sneezing, or breaking out in itchy hives, or watery eyes and nose. Sinus health is a common worry for those with allergies, and pet dander doesn’t help. A study by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology reports that 10% of Americans are allergic to household pets, with cats accounting for about twice the amount of allergies as dogs. It’s worth noting that it’s not the fur that causes the problems per se, but the proteins on the skin. 

How Can you Reduce the Risk of Allergies from Pet Dander? 

Pet dander can cause sneezing, wheezing, itching, or shortness of breath, not to mention irritate allergies or sinus problems that are already present. It can even trigger an asthma attack, and cat allergies are known to cause serious asthma episodes in 3 out of 10 people suffering from asthma. So what’s a pet-lover to do? 

  • Minimize contact with pets inside the home - People with allergies need to spend more time with their pets outside. You should also keep them off of your bed and pillow, and other furniture where you spend a lot of time. 
  • Wash hands regularly - Clean hands prevent all manner of health issues. After playing with your pet and before having your hands near your face (such as when eating), wash your hands. When you’ve been petting your pet make sure to rinse your hands. 
  • Turn off central air conditioning - Central AC is great for lots of things (mainly keeping cool), but it helps air to circulate. That includes any troublesome particles in the air. When your pets are inside, try turning off central air in order to limit the pet dander circulating. 
  • Vacuum often - Experts suggest using a vacuum with a HEPA filter and running it at least weekly in carpeted areas

An Air Purifier Can Help

Air purifiers do the best job at actually removing the tiny particles from the air (rather than just re-circulating them around the house, or covering them up). They also get rid of pet odors that often come with pet ownership, so that’s a bonus!

All air purifiers are not created equal though. Make sure you choose a high-quality unit with a high Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR), which indicates how quickly the unit filters airborne pollutants and allergens. However, that’s not the whole story. You also want to make sure you’re using a unit that has multiple levels of filtration and is designed to catch even the tiniest particles in the air. 

Medify Air purifiers capture up to 99.9% of particles, using a three-level filtration system and the True HEPA H13 filter. Furthermore, Medify offers several options when it comes to air purifiers, so you can find one that’s ideal for your space, needs, and budget. Maybe you just want a large purifier in your bedroom, or perhaps you’d like a few smaller ones throughout the home. Whatever your needs, Medify has an air purifier that can improve the quality of life you have with your pet. 


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