One of the single most common indoor air quality pollutants is animal dander. The flakes of dead skin, fur or feathers produced by pets and outdoor creatures can be an allergy nightmare for millions of people in the Metropolitan areas. Even those without allergies tend to be less comfortable in spaces that have animal dander issues. Here are some things you should know about animal dander and allergies.
What’s the Issue?
Dead skin from dogs and cats is the biggest problem, with 27% of US homes having cats and 32% having dogs. Cats are a much larger allergen producer however. The number of allergy related complaints among cat owners is twice as high as that of dog owners according to the American Lung Association. Male cats are slightly worse than female cats as well. Don’t forget either that fur is not the primary source of dander. Dead skin, dried saliva and even specs of dried feces can contribute to indoor air quality issues. So, short haired cats or dogs are not any better for your home.
Another thing to consider is that pet dander is suspended in the air much longer than any other allergen because of how light it is. We’re talking about days of suspension, after which it settles into carpets, furniture, clothing and anything else with enough surface area to attract the dander.
Health Problems from Dander
For those allergic to animals, pet dander is an instant irritant. Just walking into a home in which a cat or dog is present can have an instant negative effect – including anything from coughing and wheezing to a runny nose or chest constriction.
Unfortunately, the easiest way to remove pet dander is to remove the pet and for severely allergic people, this is usually the only option. For others, however, there are some things you can do. You can remove the allergens themselves with high powered indoor air cleaning or air filtration. You can also set aside areas in the house that the pet is not allowed into and take steps to make sure pet dander doesn’t get into the air supply for that room.
If you’d like to learn more about your home’s air quality, contact Cooper Climate Control, your Air-Conditioning & Heating Specialist.