Keeping a dog, cat or another animal as a pet is common in many countries around the world. Many millions of women, men and children view their pet as an integral member of the family, valuing the companionship a furry friend can bring, despite the time the animal consumes, the money it costs to provide meals and healthcare, and the possible allergies triggered by fur and feathers.
Figures from the American Pet Products Association (APPA) indicate that almost 98 million households across the United States own a cat or dog, while in Europe almost 46 percent of households have a cat or dog, according to the European Pet Food Industry Federation. Pet ownership in Asia is increasing steadily, especially in China where it has rocketed in recent years with over 62 million cats and dogs now registered, a survey by the Beijing-based Zhongjinqixin consultancy reveals.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) says allergies to pets with fur are common, especially among people who have other allergies or asthma. The Foundation believes that in the United States as many as three in 10 people with allergies have allergic reactions to cats and dogs, with cat allergies about twice as common as dog allergies.
Allergens that may cause an allergy are found in pet hair, dander, urine, faeces and saliva – and can linger in carpets and furniture for months, according to a study cited by PETA, an organisation working for the ethical treatment of animals. And there is no such thing as an allergen-free (hypoallergenic) cat, dog or rodent, according to the American Lung Association (ALA), which writes ‘short-haired or hairless animals contribute dander and allergens to indoor air pollution just as effectively as long-haired animals do’.
The ALA says pet dander comprises tiny or microscopic flecks of skin shed by cats, dogs, rodents, birds and other furry or feathery animals. The association notes that these bits of skin can spark allergic reactions, and even asthma attacks, in people 'who are specifically allergic to these triggers'.
Typical nasal signs of a pet allergy include sneezing, runny nose, itchy or watery eyes, and cough, while asthmatic reactions can encompass difficulty breathing, chest tightness and also trouble sleeping due to shortness of breath or coughing. Plus, the problems related to pet allergies are often exacerbated during the wintertime because we and our pets spend more time indoors in home environments that are not ventilated sufficiently.
What are the options if you suffer a pet related allergy, apart from asking a doctor for medication? One obvious approach is to avoid exposure altogether. Also, ensure you keep pets off furniture fabrics and out of bedrooms used by anyone who has asthma or an allergy. A sufferer may also want to consider using a high-performance indoor air purifier with a HEPA filter.
A Blueair air purifier is designed to offer a lifeline to allergy sufferers by delivering the highest clean air delivery rate possible to capture pet dander and other allergy triggering airborne particles. Blueair air purifier filters use proprietary HEPASilent™ technology, a unique combination of the best of electrostatic and mechanical filtration, to remove virtually all harmful particles from the air, including pet allergens!