Pets and Air Purifiers
"I have terrible allergies but I can't possibly get rid of my pets, maybe I need a home air purifier." Since BelKraft introduced air purification in 1998, we have been continually amazed at the love and adoration people have for their pets, despite their adverse health reactions to keeping pets in the home. We've even had several customers who were struggling to choose between keeping a spouse or keeping a pet! Fortunately, we've saved a lot of marriages with the right room air purifier in the right place for clean air.
The problems that arise from keeping pets in the home vary considerably depending on the type of pet, quantity, and how much of the house the pets are allowed to roam. Another consideration, if you are considering home air purifiers to help with pet allergies is the type of symptoms you're experiencing. Below we review the problems and clean air solutions in each pet category, and we recommend specific home air purifiers to remedy them.
II. Room Air Purifiers and Cats
Cats top the list because huge numbers of cat lovers are allergic to their pets. However, recent science points out that it's not their beautiful fur which is the culprit. It's the cat's saliva which contains an allergen that gets deposited all over the fur when the cat licks herself. When it dries, the saliva forms a fine dust sort of like dandruff but much, much finer, which is dispersed through the air when the kitty scratches or a loving owner strokes her. It's the most unfortunate of circumstances, since the best thing about having a cat is being able to sit and stroke it while listening to that pleasant purr.
Hairless cats are finding popularity now, however, in reality there are no totally "non-allergenic" cats. Even hairless cats wash, and the dust accumulates on their skin. Cat lovers often experience hay-fever like symptoms including itching eyes, running noses, skin rashes, and other such unpleasantries. As with other allergies, it happens because the human body reacts to the allergen by producing excessive histamine, leading to a rush on the medicine cabinet.
If you can't part with your beloved cat and wish to breathe clean air in your own home, the next best thing is to keep a room air purifier continuously running in the room where the cat spends the most time, and if possible to either keep the cat out of the bedroom or to run home air purifiers in there as well. The room air purifier must be able to absorb both the fine dust and the floating fur, in large quantities. We have found the Nutri-Tech air purifier to be particularly effective in cleaning up airborne cat particulate.
We also recommend washing the bedclothes, rugs, and other room fabrics often and buying litter that isn't full of dust. Donning a surgical mask and giving the cat a good combing outdoors or in the garage is also a good weekly plan.
III. Home Air Purifiers and Birds
Birds compete with cats for the top honor of driving their owners crazy. We've had many customers call with this lament over the years: "I just paid $3000 for my gorgeous cockatoo and I'm allergic to it - get me clean air!!" Bird feathers are interlocking and each time a bird moves the tiny barbs that hold feathers together rub against each other and produce a super fine dust. The bigger the bird, the more dust for your air purifiers to deal with. Cockatoos and cockatiels seem to be the dustiest perhaps because the are desert birds. If that weren't bad enough, bird urine and feces can also contain allergens that turn into dust when they dry and become airborne. In the wild, Mother Nature in the form of wind and rain helps keep the birds clean, but locked in a cage, both people and the birds themselves suffer from the airborne products of their captivity.
A room air purifier with the capability of absorbing the large quantities of super fine dust will help immensely in your bird room. We again recommend the BelKraft air products (all models). If your species of bird doesn't have too much dander but the odor bothers you, the 6-stage models will work just fine.
IV. Air Purifiers and Dogs
Dogs can be as problematic as cats indoors although we seem to have fewer customers who have problems with dog allergies than cat allergies. Any person, however, with allergic sensitivities or asthma, may have problems with all animals. Dogs also lick themselves and the saliva dries and becomes airborne as tiny particles. The saliva may contain irritating allergens as may dried urine. In dry houses during wintertime, dogs seem to shed even more as any person who regularly uses a vacuum cleaner can attest. As with cats, there are no truly non-allergenic dogs, although certain breeds (like schnauzers and poodles) don't shed and make it easier to keep clean air in your environment.
Room air purifiers in the key living areas will help clean up the airborne pollutants from living with man's best friend. Keeping a dog out of the bedroom is always a good idea, but if not, using a home air purifier in the bedroom 24 hours a day is helpful, particularly if you run it on high an hour before bedtime. Bedding should be washed weekly at least. Electrostatic filters on the central heating system can work well with the strategically placed room air purifiers to clean the entire house. Combing the dogs out frequently (outside whenever possible) and bathing them helps too. The room air purifiers with their odor filters will get both the particulate and the odors associated with family pets.
V. Other Furry Critters
"Mom, let's get a hamster!" Mom thinks, "hmmm, small size, don't have to walk it, easy to care for - sure! - but only one, no babies!" Small furry rodents (guinea pigs, gerbils, etc) also groom themselves, leaving saliva on their fur where it dries and flakes off. The animals in their small cages also come into frequent contact with their own urine which dries, flies off, and can contain more irritating allergens than the saliva. The kind and unsuspecting humans then pick up the cute little critters not thinking about what this does to the clean air in their home. Forgetting to wash their hands, they transfer the dried saliva to their eyes, noses, mouths, and skin. The dried urine or saliva on humans can result in sneezing and itchy eyes or skin. In wire cages, particles will escape and float around just like they do with cats and dogs. When they float by the human nose and are breathed in, irritation can result. If small animals such as hamsters or gerbils are the only animals in the house that might be causing troublesome airborne particles, a small room air purifier near the cage, such as the BelKraft 6-stage unit will generate the clean air you need.
VI. In Conclusion - Clean Air with Air Purifiers
Pets enrich our lives and especially those of children and the elderly. Mammals living indoors (even humans - we shed tons of hair and skin that an air purifier can absorb) of the pet variety can cause allergic reactions in their owners. The degree varies greatly as do the times of the year that the animal may pose a problem. Winter can be difficult because humans and pets are stuck in tight houses waiting out the weather. Spring can be difficult because an allergenic might already be suffering from seasonal pollen allergies and the pets make things worse. HEPA room air purifiers running 24/7 in key living areas of the home (particularly where the pet hangs out), and the bedroom will remove a significant amount of the floating particulate resulting from dried saliva and urine, as well as fur and skin. Clean air is the the key to living with pets, a home air purifier in key areas will certainly help with asthma and allergy symptoms.
(Go here for more info on Pet Dander)