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Pets & Indoor Air Quality: Allergies, Asthma & Odors

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Published on Jul 11, 2013

Pets are an important component of millions of people's lives and most of these feathered and furry family members are kept in people's homes.

Although pets can dramatically add to the quality of life for many, they can also create unique indoor air quality issues for their pet owners. Pet dander and proteins found in pet saliva, urine and feces can all act as an allergy trigger for sensitive individuals. These allergens can easily become airborne and due to their small size, remain in the air for extended periods of time. These pet allergens will eventually settle on items and fabrics throughout the home.

It is these allergens, and generally not the fur, that causes allergies. Fur can collect these pet allergens as well as other allergens found in typical household dust that can also trigger reactions.

Allergic reactions can involve upper and lower respiratory symptoms and they may be immediate or delayed. Common symptoms include itchy, swollen and inflamed eyes, as well as runny nose, congestion and wheezing. For some people who suffer from asthma, they can also have their condition triggered by exposure to pet allergens.

A pet can also create unpleasant odors in a home. In addition to pet urine and feces acting as a potential allergen trigger, their smell can also create nuisance odors that could even lower a property's value and be difficult to eliminate.

Many experts recommend pet owners who suffer from any of these conditions keep their pets outdoors or at least away from areas such as where people sleep, although this suggestion is not always practical for all pet owners. Other measures that can be taken include keeping your home as clean as possible. Frequent dusting and vacuuming with a high efficiency vacuum can minimize these allergens. Air filtration and purification systems can also help in these situations.

There are also allergen testing services available that can identify pet allergens in the home. To learn more about pet allergens, asthma triggers and odors or other indoor air quality issues, please visit the websites shown on the screen.

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