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How Common Are Pet Dander Allergies In Infants

Although a significant percentage of the American population own pets, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 15 to 30 percent of people with allergies also have allergic reactions to dogs and cats, with cat allergies being twice as common as dog allergies. Contrary to popular belief, pet hair does not cause allergies. Rather, the constant shedding of fluids and dander from old skin cells triggers symptoms and allergic reactions.

This dander, as well as pet feces, urine, and saliva, can also act as allergens, causes runny noses and eyes, sneezing, rashes, and other undesirable side effects. Pet dander is also capable of collecting and harboring other allergens such as dust and pollen. In addition to pet hair, bird feathers and hair from small animals such as hamsters, gerbils, and rabbits, as well as their droppings, are a breeding ground for mold, fungi, and bacteria.

Specifically, cat hair is one of the most common pet allergies. This is caused by an allergic reaction to cat glycoprotein Fel d 1, which is secreted by a cat's sebaceous glands and most commonly found in a cat's saliva and skin. Cats are known to be extremely hygienic, as they often lick their fur in order to clean themselves. However, this leads to the saliva being deposited onto the fur, which, in turn, dries into dander and released when a cat moves, or when it is brushed or stroked by a human.

In addition to the problem of dander, pets can sometimes leave unpleasant odors in one's home. Kennels, litter boxes, pet beds and blankets, cages, and other high-traffic pet areas, as well as secretions such as feces and urine, can lead to unsightly odors.

However, even though pet allergies and odors are so prevalent, for pet owners, giving up their best friend is not an option. Luckily, air purifiers are extremely successful at removing pet dander and odors, allowing one to breathe clear and have an odor-free free home.

Air purifiers using technologies such as activated carbon, HEPA, ionization, and UV light are ideal to remove pet allergens and odors. In fact, many purifiers utilize either many or even all of these purification methods to target pet problems. Air purifiers with activated carbon contain oxygen-infused charcoal which eliminates odors, and HEPA filters, which are able to capture particles 0.3 microns are larger, trap pet hair and dander in the purifier's filter media.

On the other hand, air purifiers with negative ion technology utilize negative ion generators. These purifiers emit a stream of ions which cling to particulates, forming clusters. These clusters then become heavy enough to either fall to the floor or onto electrostatic precipitators to trap particles onto oppositely charged metal places. Air purifiers with UV lamps provide an even further step, as they destroy any residual mold, bacteria, or microorganisms left in the air.

Jeanie Wong is a marketing writer with extensive knowledge of air purification systems.