There is no doubt about all the positive effects our furry companions have on our lives, no need to elaborate too much on that. Also, I’m sure you’re all aware how important it is to pay attention to the outdoor air quality when taking your pet out, as air pollution can cause serious health issues, not only in humans, but in animals as well.
But have you ever thought about the effect your pets have on your indoor air quality? It is not the most positive one, I’m afraid, but it’s most certainly not the reason to renounce your 4-pawed friend or to decide against adopting one. It’s something that shouldn’t be overlooked, yet it can be resolved and alleviated. It is especially important during the heating season, when you don’t open your windows as much. Here are some of the potential air quality and health hazards caused by pets and suggestions how to deal with them.
When you mention pets and allergies, the first association is animal hair. A lot of people are all too familiar with the watery eyes and the nose irritation caused by animal hair. Whether it is your own pet or a pet of a friend you are visiting, only a heavy dose of allergy medication can stop the annoying and drastic reaction of your body to harmless hair. This problem can be particularly evident during the colder part of the year when we tend to stay indoors and not open our windows as much for fresh air.
The solution to this problem may appear to be obvious; keep their hair short and you solve the problem, right? Well, actually no. Most people are allergic to pet dander, rather than fur itself. It can cause allergic reactions regardless of the hair length. Of course, pets can also bring in allergens such as mold, pollen, and others on their fur. But let’s get back to dan-something, what is it, anyway?
This is basically animal dandruff, composed of tiny skin specks that flake off from animals. As you probably know, house dust is comprised largely of organic material like skin flakes. While we may have assumed it is just our skin, our pets are also living beings and shed skin as much as we do.
Saliva can cause an additional allergic reaction, as animals lick themselves, so dry saliva combines with dander makes things even worse. Another problem lies in the fact that dander is super light, lighter than most air-borne allergens such as dust mite. This enables it to linger in the air much longer, thus again worsening the allergic effect and causing an even more intensive irritation. What’s more, dander can also get stuck in bedding, furniture, and other places.
Air Quality and Health
The statistics say that Americans are more allergic to cats than dogs. However, this could be only due to the fact cats spend much more time indoors, thus releasing all the allergens inside, whereas dogs spend more time outdoors and shed a portion of allergens there. Animal dander is constantly released, so no wonder its concentration is usually higher in cat owners’ homes. Moreover, odors, feces and urine particles from litter boxes and other animal-related irritants can also cause air pollution.
How to Deal with Pet-Induced Indoor Air Quality Problems?
If you’re constantly sneezing, wheezing, your eyes are watering, skin is in rashes or you experience other similar inconveniences, you should definitely do something to improve your indoor air quality. With no proper ventilation, pet allergens build up in the air and cause such symptoms, which can affect your health if not resolved in time. So proper ventilation is one of the most important factors, and having a good venting system could seriously improve air quality in your home.
Regularly brushing and bathing your furry friends also helps reduce the amount of allergens in the air. Even if your pet protests at first, they will get used to it, and you will be able to breathe a sigh of relief without wheezing. Furthermore, even though this sounds like mission impossible, do try to keep your pets away from the furniture, bedding, and carpet. Trust me, I know it’s difficult, but if animal hair and dander are causing you health problems, you should definitely make the effort.
Also, try to keep those areas as clean as possible, vacuuming and scrubbing regularly to eliminate all your pet’s little “gifts”. Finally, another challenging task – try washing your hands as often as possible after touching your pet. Though tedious, it can help you reduce the amount of allergens in your home.
Essentially, you should make sure that your HVAC system works properly, and that your pets aren’t having a negative effect on your air quality. And if you have any problems with your heating or air conditioning, make sure that it is resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible by contacting the proper services like https://www.actionac.net/heating-system-furnace-repair-san-diego/.