Ever heard the phrase, “Get your dander up?”
It’s a saying coined in the U.S. by Samuel Goldwyn (of MGM Studios fame) that means to get angry or agitated. When you read what I have to say today about dander, you’re going to understand it all too well.
Mr. Goldwyn’s saying had to do with human dandruff. Pet dander is, well, a horse of a different color.
So What is Pet Dander?
While it’s a lot like human dandruff, pet dander is made up of tiny-to-microscopic flecks of skin from animals, including birds.
Whether it comes from a dog, cat, rat, or bird, it contains something from their skin that triggers allergies in some people.
It’s important to note that dander has absolutely nothing to do with fur or feathers, so when someone tells you they have a hypo-allergenic dog or bird for sale, beware. There is no such thing. It may have less dander than other breeds is all.
How Do Pet Allergies Occur?
Even though pet dander is microscopic, it has a very jagged appearance. It not only sticks to things in your upholstered furniture, carpet, bedding, and window treatments, it spreads easily to other places regardless of whether or not those places have pets. This is because it’s small and lightweight.
Also because of the small size and jagged shape of dander, it is very difficult to remove. It can take months. Depending on the severity, it may be impossible in certain cases to remove it all. This means that people who are extra-sensitive to pet dander may experience pet allergy symptoms even where no bird or animal has ever been.
What Effects Do Pet Allergens Have on Health?
While you may start out believing you have a cold, pet allergies differentiate themselves by lasting over two weeks. You are also not likely to feel fatigue.
The Mayo Clinic notes that individuals with sensitivities to pet dander may experience runny nose, sneezing, cough, frequent awakening, and more when affected by allergies. Small children may rub their noses upward.
If the dander is causing asthma, sufferers will experience difficulty in breathing, wheezing or whistling noise when exhaling, and trouble sleeping.
Pet dander can also cause symptoms on the skin such as rashes or eczema. Use wisdom, and don’t wait too long to see a doctor.
Can You Control Pet Allergens?
You may never be able to eliminate pet dander and other pet allergens, but you can control them to some degree by the following means:
- Frequent dusting and vacuuming,
- Cleaning duct work and HVAC,
- Changing bedding regularly,
- Sweeping floors,
- Cleaning carpet,
- Shaking out rugs,
- Vacuuming draperies and other window treatments, and
- Keeping pets away from upholstered furniture, bedrooms, and carpet.
How Long Does It Take to Improve Asthma and Allergy Symptoms?
When it comes right down to it, pet dander and other animal allergens can remain in the home for months or longer, despite your best cleaning efforts and those of professional cleaning firms (even us). It sometimes doesn’t matter if the animal is removed from the home, unfortunately.
Green Clean can help you by providing a free estimate on carpet and upholstery cleaning. We suggest that it may be best to check with your doctor first. That way you may save money by not getting your hopes up when another course of action is best for your unique situation.
Like you, we love animals yet respect the fact that, like every good thing, they often come with challenges. If you don’t have any challenges with pet allergies, count your blessings. If you do, and think we might be able to help, give us a call.