The holidays often include seasonal foods, decorations, and visiting other homes with pets that trigger allergies. While you can politely refuse the food and try to stay away from the decorations if you are prone to allergies, the family pets have left a mark on the house that is hard to avoid. On the flip side, if you are showing hospitality to others with pet allergies, you have to be sensitive to this issue as well.
The Prominence Of Pet Allergies
Since about 10% of the US population have pet allergies, this can be a serious problem. About 40% of people with other allergies have pet allergies as well, with twice as many people being allergic to cats as to dogs. According to the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 50% of the homes in any given area have pets that live indoors. Don't have a pet? Since much of the pollution in the average home is caused by people bringing in allergens on their clothes and shoes, pet dander can be plentiful in your home even if you don't personally own a cat or dog.
Reducing The Impact Of Pet Dander
- As a homeowner, the first common sense rule of preparing for guests with potential allergies is thorough and frequent cleaning.
- You can also reduce the perils of pet dander in your home with excellent filtration. Changing the furnace filters frequently can trap some dander and prevent it from circulating. However, you need to use a better quality filter designed to trap tiny particles. The fiberglass filters many people use in their home only attract particles of 10 microns or more, while a pleated filter with a higher MERV rating can block particles from 3 to 10 microns.
- Filters with an electrostatic charge do an even better job as they work by actually attracting particles from the air and trapping them in the filter.
- Another approach is to use a HEPA air purifier system that can suck particles as small as .0003 from the air. This type of system can be costly, but some home systems are hospital-grade and can be effective in removing over 90% of the pollution, including pet dander, that people breathe in.
- You can make life easier for guests by washing your pets weekly with anti-allergen pet shampoos and by wiping them down with a pet wipe before guests come.
Handling The Holidays If You Have Allergies
As a person with allergies (or with kids with allergies) traveling to the homes of friends and family who may have pets, you can hope that your friend is a good housekeeper - but this is hard to insist upon. To protect yourself, you should consider having a round of allergy shots before the holidays start. Over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants or prescription steroid nasal sprays can reduce allergy symptoms such as sneezing, itchy eyes, congestion, etc.
You should mention to your friends that you have allergies, and request that the animal at least be out of sight when you visit to prevent intense reactions. If you do pet the dog or cat, make sure to wash your hands afterwards, and keep your hands away from your face.
Keeping your furnace filter, air filter, and whole house filters clean is essential to reducing allergens in your home. Air Filter Buy is a good online source of filters, we you can select the filters with high MERV values for better protection. Check out our website or call us today at (855) FILTBUY.