A study by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology says that 10% of Americans are allergic to household pets, with cats accounting for about twice the amount of allergies as dogs.
And it’s not the cat fur that’s causing the problems per se; it’s a protein on cat skin known as Fel d 1. Male cats produce more of this protein than female cats, so that’s another consideration to keep in mind.
Not only do they have these protein allergens in their skin, they also have it in their urine and saliva. A pet that took a leak outside will still get some of that urine as tiny water droplets settling on its skin, and when that skin dries and comes off as pet dander.
How Does Pet Dander Affect Respiratory Health?
Airborne particles get into the lungs and can cause breathing problems just like any particulate matter.
(Read: 9 Biggest Factors Contributing to your Home Air Pollution)
Particulate matter inside your lungs can trigger coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. The worst case scenario is that it can trigger an asthma attack. Cat allergies are known to cause severe asthma episodes in 3 out of 10 people with asthma.
Can having a pet aggravate COPD?
A clean and groomed pet can make a substantial difference. Regular bathing and brushing the pet can minimize the dander from spreading.
People with COPD should avoid engaging in grooming and bathing of the pet themselves. A professional, family member or friend could help with this.
Brushing and cleaning the pet should always be done outside the house so as to minimise the spread of dander and fur inside the house. Wear a mask during the cleaning.
Toys, litter boxes and cages of the pets should be thoroughly cleaned, while wearing a mask, to minimise any contact with dander, fur, urine and saliva.
COPD patient must not let their pet come in close proximity to their face as the germs and fluff dander are more likely to spread this way and can negatively aggravate the disease.
Regular visits to the vet must be ensured to keep the pet updated on the vaccination schedule.
One can use professional products such as pet wipes as they do not strip the natural oils from the fur but can effectively clean the animal.
The frequency of the pet’s baths should not be too often as it could lead to dry skin which results in more shedding.
A high-efficiency particulate air purifier (HEPA purifier) can help keep the home from the dander accumulated in dust particles, which land on various surfaces across the house.
Use of vacuum cleaners all around the house is recommended to get rid of pet dander. Vacuum bags are easier to clean, thereby reducing the risk of dander spreading via the air. Make sure that the carpets in the house are cleaned thoroughly.
The bedroom should be kept as a sanitized, dander and fur-free area, by keeping pets away from here.
Symptoms of Pet Dander Allergies
How Does Pet Dander Affect Respiratory Health? Airborne particles get into the lungs and can cause breathing problems just like any particulate matter. Particulate matter inside your lungs can trigger coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. The worst case scenario is that it can trigger an asthma attack.