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The Definition of Dander and How to Control It

  • Air Quality Facts
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There are many pleasures that come with owning a pet, from companionship to unconditional love. However, there's a downside to having a furry friend in your home: They shed dander, which can cause an unpleasant reaction if you happen to be allergic. To make matters worse, pet allergens can remain airborne for a long time - according to the American Lung Association, much longer than some other allergens, including dust mites. Their size and shape also make it easier for them to spread and adhere to your bedding, fabric-covered furniture and other soft surfaces. 

Here's what you need to know about dander, and what you can do to keep it under control in your home.

What is Dander?
Essentially, these tiny flecks are your pet's dead skin. Since they're microscopic and tend to stick to whatever they land on, dander particles can be tough to get rid of.

Those who are allergic to dander may experience a range of symptoms, including itchy or watery eyes, sneezing and congestion, wheezing, chest tightness, or more serious respiratory issues. It can also be a skin irritant, causing intense rashes or eczema. 

Which Animals Pose a Problem?
Both cats and dogs can be an issue for people with dander allergies. However, the American Lung Association reported that twice as many Americans report being allergic to cats in comparison to dogs. The source explained that any animal with fur is more likely to carry dust or other allergens, which is why short-haired pets still contribute to indoor air problems.

What Can I Do to Minimize It?
There are a number of things you can do to reduce dander in your home that don't involve removing your beloved pet entirely. 

Since dander can collect on rugs, it's best to get rid of carpeting - or at the very least, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America advised choosing products with low pile, and being diligent with frequent cleaning. Harvard Health also suggested opting for area rugs that can be regularly washed in hot water. 

Since forced air conditioning and heating units can distribute allergens throughout your home, the AAFA recommended using a dense filtering material, such as cheesecloth, to cover bedroom vents.

Vacuum cleaners tend to spread any allergens that have settled - on the other hand, one with a HEPA filter can help eliminate dander from the air.

One of the most effective methods for removing pet allergens is using an air purifier. Better yet, plug in a True HEPA Allergen Remover, which can trap particles that are as tiny as 0.3 microns - which not only includes dander, but also the pollen or dust your pet can carry on its fur. Even a HEPA-type Air Purifier can help eliminate pet allergens from the air.


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