Pet Dander: What it is and How to Reduce it
We all consider our dogs and cats as part of our family, and few things that can compare to the affection and company of a pet. This is backed by science, too. Studies show that pets can aid in the reduction of blood pressure and stress and improve mood. However, there are downsides. Household pets introduce allergens into the home, like dander, hair, saliva, and urine. These allergens can become airborne, as allergy sufferers know all too well.
Luckily, owning a pet doesn’t have to be a tradeoff.
What causes pet allergies?
The most common animal allergy results from their dander. In a nutshell, dander is composed of microscopic particles of skin and hair, and it’s one of the most common allergens found in the home. Due to its small size and capacity to remain in the air for a long time, this is what most people are referring to when they say they are allergic to dogs, cats, or other household pets.
Beyond dogs and cats, other common pets like rodents, birds, and other furry and feathered creatures produce dander as well, often triggering an allergic response. This effect is often amplified when the seasons change and the weather warms up, as many animals begin to shed their protective under-layer of fur, dramatically increasing the amount of dander dispersed into your indoor air.
While it’s not particularly pleasant to think about, proteins present in the saliva, urine, and feces of cats, dogs, and other pets can also trigger allergic reactions. Dust from dried feces can be suspended in the air, in the same way that dried saliva can flake off from an animal's fur and become airborne. A particular protein present in cat saliva (Fel d 1) is a very common source of pet allergies. Because the protein is so small, once it becomes airborne it can stay suspended in the air for hours and get deep into the lungs. This causes asthma symptoms in people who are allergic to it.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to avoid the production of these contaminants if you have a pet inside your home. In fact, the Fel d 1 protein was found in the dust of sofas, carpets, and mattresses in 99.7% of American homes, regardless of whether or not cats were present, according to two extensive studies conducted in the United States.
Symptoms of pet allergies
Pet dander allergy symptoms differ from person to person and are dependent on the level of exposure. Of course, you should consult your doctor with any concerns you may have, but the following are some of the common allergy symptoms that often result from a pet dander allergy:
- Sneezing or a runny nose
- Tightness in the chest
- Breathing problems
- Eyes that are watery, red, or itchy
- Hives or a rash on the skin
What are hypoallergenic pets?
Many breeds of dogs or cats are often said to be hypoallergenic, which incorrectly leads people to believe that they are safe for allergy-sufferers. However, this unfortunately isn't always the case. The term "hypoallergenic pets" refers to animals that produce lower levels of dander or shed less than other breeds. This certainly makes them a better choice for pet allergy sufferers, but these breeds still produce allergens and can trigger allergic responses.
Okay, well I have pets in my home. What should I do?
One of the most powerful solutions to fight household pet allergies is to add an effective air purifier to your home. The right air purifier can filter a vast majority of pet dander and other pet-produced allergens out of the air, and studies have shown that air purifiers are effective at reducing allergy symptoms at home.
How Jya NanoGuard™ fights pet allergies
Jya Fjord Series Air Purifiers provide multiple stages of filtration that target pet dander, hair, and odors. Because the Jya Fjord Series includes the latest in HEPA H13 filtration, they are able to filter up to 99.99% of pollutants as small as 0.1 microns in size. This means that airborne pet allergens will be removed from the air you breathe, in minutes.
In addition to cleaning your air, the Jya Fjord Series air purifiers actively monitor the air you breathe, alerting you to any increase in problematic pet allergens and automatically boosting purification power.