Are you a pet owner? Many Canadians are. Dogs and cats are most popularly considered members of many families all across this great country of ours. Animal lovers make up a huge part of our population. According to Tracy Hanes of The Globe and Mail, “pet owners represent $6.5-billion a year business opportunity”. So, it should go without saying that pets are quite a big deal in Canada.
But can having a pet affect our health? It certainly depends on the types of allergies pet owners may have. This is because pet dander has the ability to impact the air that we breathe. As the American Lung Association explains it, “pet dander is composed of tiny, even microscopic, flecks of skin shed by cats, dogs, rodents, birds and other animals with fur or feathers. These bits of skin can cause reactions in people who are specifically allergic to these triggers.”
Are there other allergy triggers that come from our pets? Apparently, it isn’t just flecks of skin from our beloved animals that can affect the indoor air quality of our homes. The American Lung Association points out that “proteins found in saliva, urine and feces from cats, dogs and other pets can cause allergic reactions in some people.” And some animals happen to impact those with allergies worse than others.
Which animals tend to impact those with allergies the most? The American Lung Association points out that animals with fur are most likely to carry allergens, although the fur itself is not considered a trigger. They note, however, that “roughly twice as many people report allergies to cats when compared to dogs. Research also indicates that male cats produce less Fel d I allergen than female cats, although the reason is not clear.”
What is a pet allergen exactly? Similar to dust mites, pet allergens are microscopic in size. However, the American Lung Association notes that they tend to stay in the air for much longer periods of time. Their “jagged shape” allows them to “stick to furniture, bedding, fabrics and many items carried into and out of the home. Animal dander is easily spread through the home and out to public places like schools and hospitals.”
What are the symptoms of having allergies to pets? Unfortunately, they can be quite severe, in some cases. According to FreeDrinkingWater.com, “some of the symptoms to watch out for include coughing, dizziness, lethargy, fever, watery eyes, sneezing, shortness of breath, and digestive problems. The people most susceptible are children, older folks, and persons with general allergies or breathing problems and diseases.”
So what can be done to minimize pet dander-related allergies? The answer is not what an animal lover wants to hear. Unfortunately, the only surefire way to prevent such breathing issues is to not have pets. Either that, or stick with pets that don’t have any fur or feathers. “The best possible solution is the removal of pets (although it may take months to get rid of the effects of the lingering dander),” admits FreeDrinkingWater.com.
Is there an alternative way to get help? At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we are well aware that the majority of pet owners don’t have any plans of excluding their beloved pets from their families – even if they are presenting health issues. It is important, however, to have your home inspected for all sources that present indoor air quality issues. For more information about our Air Quality Services, call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.