Managing allergies is all about avoiding triggers, and for many sufferers, pet dander is a potent trigger. Therefore, reason tells us that the best course of action is to avoid owning dander-producing pets altogether. Of course, this isn’t all about reason. We’re emotional creatures and love of our pets doesn’t necessarily reconcile with best logic.
However, there is good news. It is possible to manage our symptoms from cat allergies. In fact, if we take all necessary measures, we can actually live in harmony with our cats just as non-allergic owners do. We have to be diligent though. Cat allergen is very small. It stays suspended in the air for long periods, and the rate of recontamination is quite high.
Let's consider the ten most important strategies
- Do not allow cats on beds
- Keep cats out of the primary bedroom
- Wash bedding weekly
- Use HEPA filtration
- Vacuum with a HEPA-style unit
- Use a vapor steam cleaner on carpets
- Wash hands often and rigorously
- Clean your cat regularly
- Confine cats to specific areas
- Make it a routine
One thing cat lovers love to do is cuddle with their cats but solid sleep is an important aspect of managing our allergies. Dander in our beds interferes with our sleep which has an effect on our daily lives. This is a ripple effect. Keeping cats off the bed, and covering mattresses and pillows in allergen-free cases, will provide numerous allergy-relief benefits.
There needs to be at least one safe zone in the house. It should be the bedroom since you’ll likely spend at least 8 hours per day there and possibly more. Keeping cats out of a room can be tricky especially if they’re accustomed to being there. Keep the doors to the bedroom closed and create another area in the home that is very attractive to them.
Those with severe allergies should wash the bedding weekly. Less severe cases can get away with bimonthly washing. Wash curtains too. Wash in water that is at least 140-degrees because that will eliminate both cat allergen and dust mite allergen.
Even with the above measures, cat allergen is difficult to avoid and remove. This is where HEPA comes in. A HEPA air purifier draws air through a HEPA filter which removes 99.97% of all airborne particles 0.3 microns and larger: cat dander, mold spores, dust mites, pollen, bacteria, viruses and so forth. Most purifiers also use an activated carbon component which will eliminate lingering cat box odors and remove VOC's.
A big issue with cats is that the carpets act like a trap for the dander and this gives the allergen a very long lifespan. Generally, this allergen is too small for a conventional vacuum. What happens when you use it is that you simply redistribute it, and it becomes a cycle of recontamination. HEPA-style vacuums can trap those very small particles. Vacuum at least twice a week. Vacuum trouble areas daily and always vacuum after dusting.
Clinical research has proven that vapor steam cleaners are extremely effective at destroying cat protein (dander). The steam cleaner can get at dander that the HEPA vacuum can not. Steam cleaners are chemical-free. They help get rid of other problem particles: dust mites, mold spores and bacteria. You can steam carpets every quarter, but those with severe allergies may want to do it each month.
Wash hands frequently, especially after petting the cat and before touching your face. Opt for a strong anti-bacterial soap and moisturize regularly to avoid drying out the skin from the frequent soap and hot water.
Bathing the cat is an excellent way of reducing allergens in the house. Of course, most cats don’t take well to water, although it helps to acclimate them early in life. Speak with your veterinarian first as frequent bathing can be detrimental to a cat’s coat. There are alternatives to bathing such as sprays. Also, you can wipe the cat down, preferably outdoors, with a damp microfiber cloth.
Cats should be kept out of the kitchen and eating areas. If you confine cats to a smaller area it makes it easier to focus cleaning and filtration efforts.
The key to steps 1 through 9 is consistency. Your symptoms will decrease considerably if you can make a routine of it. During the process, keep a journal. Learn from it. Keep both your allergist and veterinarian informed. They can make helpful suggestions in the beginning and along the way. It may seem like a lot of work, but for cat lovers, the effort is totally worth it.
While all of these steps are important, perhaps none is as important as investing in a portable HEPA air purifier. A high quality air purifier from a recognized manufacturer can have a dramatic effect on your life. It can be the deciding factor that lets you have cats and lead a happy, normal life. There is no reason to suffer any longer. Make the change today. Get a HEPA air purifier and enjoy your cats in comfort.
Clean Air Plus is a veteran and family owned small business. We represent the leading manufacturers in HEPA filtration including Austin Air, IQAir, Amaircare, Oransi and Airpura. Shop online or call one of our friendly experts at 888.247.1147. We'll be happy to help.