Pets and Your Air Quality

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Man with dog

Does your pet seem to be lingering in the air?

Household pets are the most common source of allergic reactions to animals. Many people think that pet allergy is provoked by the fur of cats and dogs. But researchers have found that the major allergens are proteins secreted by oil glands

Did furry pets live in the house previously?

cat and dogCarpet and furniture are a reservoir for pet allergens, and the allergens can remain in them for four to six weeks. In addition, these allergens can stay in household air for months after the animal has been removed. Therefore, it is wise for people with an animal allergy to check with the landlord or previous owner to find out if furry pets had lived previously on the premises. Allergies to animals can take two years or more to develop and may not subside until six months or more after ending contact with the animal.

What is animal dander?

While animal fur has been targeted as an allergen, the actual culprits are proteins found in the skin glands, saliva, and urine of animals. These proteins are called dander. Animal dander can build up in carpets and upholstery, and it becomes airborne when disturbed by cleaning.

What is second-hand animal dander?

Recent research has shown that exposure to animal dander can also be "second-hand." Children who live in homes with pets can carry dander to school on their skin, clothing, and school bags. Dander-sensitive individuals can then be exposed to it. Also, dander can be carried back into the home after visiting a location where animals are kept, exposing other family members.

How can I reduce animal dander in my home?

The air in your house is recirculated continuously. Without proper air filtration, you expose yourself to two heaping teaspoonsful of foreign particulates each day, greatly increasing your chances of becoming ill. Air filtration removes other allergens as well, making it a very important step in creating a more healthful environment. The most efficient method to control dander allergies is to install a disposable BON-AIRE ALLERGEN Whole House Filter on your central air supply to filter molecules to microns and provide anti-microbial protection.

Contrary to popular belief, the fur of cats and dogs is not the culprit.
Researchers have found that the major allergens are proteins secreted by oil glands in the animals' skin and shed in dander as well as proteins in the saliva, which sticks to the fur when the animal licks itself. Urine is also a source of allergy-causing proteins. When the substance carrying the proteins dries, the proteins can then float into the air. 

Cats may be more likely than dogs to cause allergic reactions because they lick themselves more and may be held moe and spend more time in the house, close to humans.

Dogs, pet birds, rabbits, and rodents can also produce allergy-causing dander. Some rodents, such as guinea pigs and gerbils, have become increasingly popular as household pets. They, too, can cause allergic reactions in some people, as can mice and rats. Urine is the major source of allergens from these animals.