Do Air Purifiers Help With Cat Allergies? Vet Reviewed Facts & FAQ
Though around 70% of U.S. households have a pet, many people suffer from animal allergies.1 A whopping 10 to 20% of the world’s population has allergies to cats and dogs. If you’re part of these statistics and want to live more comfortably with your pet, an air purifier might be just the thing.
Read on to learn more about how an air purifier can help with your cat allergies.
What Causes Pet Allergies?
Many people believe that it’s their furry friend’s fur coat that they’re allergic to, but this isn’t the case. Allergic reactions to cats occur when people are exposed to the specific proteins in animals’ skin cells, urine, and saliva.
Most symptoms are triggered when an allergy sufferer encounters dander – the flakes of skin that animals shed. Dander is not unlike the dandruff that humans get.
Can an Air Purifier Help With Pet Allergies?
Most filter air purifiers will reduce how many pet-related allergens are around your home, waiting to cause an allergic reaction. Your pet’s dander is often floating through your air, waiting to attach itself to anything. It’s generally recommended that pet-owning allergy sufferers avoid dander-catching furnishings like cloth curtains and carpets just to give you an idea of where that sneeze-causing dander can lurk.
A filter air purifier will draw the air in from the room it is in, filtering, trapping, and destroying this dander so you can live much more comfortably alongside your furry pal. Once the air has been filtered and cleaned of potentially harmful particles, it’s redistributed back into the room.
In addition, studies suggest that HEPA air purifiers can also reduce dust mite allergens and lower particulate matter concentrations.
What Type of Air Purifier Is Best?
There are countless air purifier types and models on the market, so how can allergy sufferers know which will work best for their needs?
While all filter air purifiers will address pet dander to some degree, the best options for folks with animal allergies are those with true HEPA filters, which are much more effective at removing dander from the air. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, HEPA filters will remove 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 microns in size.
It’s important to note that an air purifier isn’t a cure-all. It likely won’t entirely eradicate your allergies, but it will reduce the allergen concentration in your home, hopefully alleviating some of your symptoms.
What Else Can Help With Pet Allergies?
An air purifier shouldn’t be your only line of defense in dealing with allergies. You can do several other things in conjunction with investing in an air purifier to help minimize the allergens in your home.
Make one room pet-free. We recommend declaring your bedroom as a cat-free zone. You spend a good portion of your day in your bed, so the less dander and allergens you have floating around in there, the better.
Vacuum and dust often. Dander will stick to all the cloth furnishings in your home, so regular, detailed cleaning will go a long way in addressing your allergy symptoms.
Bathe your cat. Regular baths can reduce how much dander your cat sheds. Only use products labeled specifically for cats. Not all cats will be open to this idea, so use your best judgment in deciding if bathing your cat is worth the trouble. Regularly wiping down your cat might be a better option.
Consider immunotherapy. You may be able to “train” your immune system to be less sensitive to the allergens that trigger your symptoms. Immunotherapy is delivered through a series of allergy shots once or twice weekly. These shots will expose you to small doses of the allergen over several months.
Can Air Purifiers Help With Pet Odors?
As if removing the dander from your air wasn’t enough, an air purifier can also reduce the pet-related odors in your home. If you’re also looking for a solution for pet odors, try to find a purifier with a carbon filter.
Carbon filters are made of a sponge-like bed of activated carbon. They work through a process known as adsorption. Adsorption occurs when molecules attach themselves to an external surface rather than being absorbed.
Though you shouldn’t expect an air purifier to miraculously cure your cat allergies, it may be worth investing in one to alleviate some of the allergen concentrations in your home. Remember to search for a purifier with a HEPA filter, or check out our air purifier buying guide to see which models we recommend.
Featured Image Credit: Anna Hoychuk, Shutterstock