Tagged with 'allergies'

Your Complete Guide to Pet Dander and Pet Allergies Once and For All


You love your pet. But sometimes your pet doesn’t love you back, and they don’t even know it. Sneezing, runny nose, coughing and the itchiest eyes you’ve ever experienced. The culprit? Pet dander. That unfortunate trait our furry and feathered friends bring with them. What’s worse? Unlike other allergens, pet dander has a unique shape that makes it stick around a lot longer than you even realized. 

But before you banish your favorite four-legged or winged companion to a life of living outside, or determine pets aren’t for your family, there are options to consider for minimizing the effects of pet dander. It starts with understanding your body’s reaction to dander, taking simple steps to reduce dander, and introducing simple solutions that do the work for you. 


What is pet dander, and why the allergy symptoms?

Just like humans, our pets are constantly shedding dead skin cells. While this is a sign of a healthy animal, it does cause some issues for those with dander sensitivities. Your body is built to reject anything they see as a foreign substance, and for many — that means pet dander. Your body produces antibodies that attack allergens when they see them as a threat. Even when they’re not. It’s this autoimmune response that results in the symptoms we know as allergic reactions. That means, in order to decrease your symptoms — you need to decrease the thing that’s causing them. 


What Actions Can I Take?

With a little effort, we can keep these allergens to a minimum by creating a cleaner environment and limiting exposure. Having a consistent routine will go a long way to control these surface-level allergens. 


Consider your space and how you decorate.

Pet dander is easily trapped, so eliminating places for it to hide is the first step in designing a space that works for you and your family. Carpeting, soft surfaces, decor with extra crevices, and high-pile accent pillows are all perfect spots for pet dander. Swap out for sleeker surfaces and fewer textiles, all simpler to clean and fight against pet dander staying in place. 

Designate your bedroom as pet-free.

While we love to have our animals in the bedroom, for those suffering with the most severe allergies, sleeping without your pet is an easy way to help minimize your symptoms. When your pet sleeps with you, their dander gets into the bedding, the same bedding we often pull around our faces. Or, as is the trait of many felines, they attempt to get closer to you by sleeping near your face and on your pillow. By keeping your bedroom for humans only, you increase your chances of a sneeze-free night of peaceful sleep. 

Create a cleaning schedule that is easy to follow.

Minimizing dander on surfaces means establishing a routine of common household cleaning. Vacuuming, mopping, dusting and regularly doing laundry are all part of a healthy solution for reducing allergy symptoms. Creating a regular schedule helps to ensure the habit is an easy one to establish. 

  • Daily: Vacuum hard surfaces using a high-efficiency particulate (HEPA) filter vacuum, and especially focus on heavy pet traffic areas where a lot of play happens. If your pet has bedding in common spaces, give it a once over with the vacuum as well. Consider the materials of your pet’s bed, and look for easy to clean options so this isn’t a chore.
  • Weekly: Keep up with your laundry and remember any clothing items you might have been wearing while close to your pet. Regularly wash any blankets or towels used by or with your pets, and don’t overlook any soft surface toys they might regularly play with. Swap in laundry detergent that is labeled as anti-allergen. Dust hard surfaces throughout your home, using a microfiber cloth to capture the most dust particles. For heavy use areas, mop after a thorough vacuum or sweeping.
  • Monthly: Address any out of the way spaces that aren’t regularly dusted, vacuumed, or mopped. Create a habit of working your way through your house, staying on top of dust that might collect on baseboards and other out of sight surfaces. 

Regularly bathe and groom your pet.

Within the guidelines set for your pet’s breed, a regular bathing calendar helps minimize the amount of dander a pet releases by containing it to your bathtub, sink, or outside. For dogs and cats, it also helps to brush their fur either daily for longhaired breeds, or weekly for shorter hair. It’s critical to understand your breed’s needs, however, to ensure your pet’s skin remains healthy and doesn’t get overly dry – dry skin can create even more dander. 

Wash your hands frequently.

As you interact with your pet, washing your hands directly after rinses off any pet dander that might cling to your hands and eventually interact with your eyes, nose and skin. This also has the added benefit of keeping other illnesses at bay.

How Can Your House Do the Work for You?

While efforts to minimize dander on surfaces is important, this still doesn’t tackle the pet dander found in the air itself. An air purifier system from Honeywell is a stress-free way to take this on. Compact, portable units are the perfect option for your home. 


How do Honeywell Air Purifiers dependably tackle pet dander?

Setting up an air purifier that uses HEPA filtration helps clear the air of sensitive allergens. Founded on over 25 years of excellence, Honeywell Air Purifiers like those in the Allergen Plus, InSight®, PowerPlus and Designer Series help capture up to 99.97% of microscopic airborne allergens and particles 0.3 microns or larger. At 4.8 room air changes per hour, as independently tested and AHAM Verifide for Clean Air Delivery Rate, you can be confident that your air is effectively circulating and decreasing symptom-causing pet dander particles.

The Honeywell Designer Series HEPA Tower is a powerful indoor air purifier with a  filter that  gets it all done at a sound level just above a whisper, due to the UltraQuiet Technology with Sleep Mode that allows running at only 32dB. This makes it a great air purifier for pet allergies. And as an added bonus, you’ll notice a reduction in odors for a fresher smelling home overall. 

Change your filters. It’s always important to follow a calendar and change your filters in your HVAC system and your air purifier, as based on the recommendations for your model. Use Honeywell Air purifiers with optional enhanced odor filters, like the Pet Odor Filter. These specially formulated filters have activated carbon and zeolite to help capture and absorb odors unique to pets. So even when you can’t get to your regular cleaning schedule, your HVAC and purifying systems can give you peace of mind that your home will still be a place of comfort for you and your pets. 

Explore Honeywell Air Purifies


Filter Facts: What is the Difference Between a HEPA Filter & a Pre-Filter?


You’ll come across the terms “HEPA filter” and “pre-filter” when shopping for an air purifier. Understanding what these filters do will help you purchase an air purifier that will do the job you need. Let’s take an unfiltered look at air purifier filters.


Buy an Air Purifier With the Filtration You Need

Filters might be the most important parts of air purifiers. You want to be sure that your air purifier’s filters capture the airborne particles polluting your indoor air. You want filtration that captures pet dander, for example, if your child is allergic to it.

So, what are HEPA filters and pre-filters? How are they different? Do you need an air purifier with both? Let’s compare them.


You Want an Air Purifier with HEPA Filtration 

Air purifiers work by sucking in dirty air, forcing the air through a filter, and returning cleaner, fresher air to the room. Air purifiers that use high-efficiency particulate air filters — HEPA filters— are highly effective at capturing certain microscopic airborne non-living allergens and particles.

Honeywell InSight Series and Allergen Plus Series Air Purifiers use HEPA filters and are engineered to remove up to 99.97% of dust, pollen, pet dander, dust mite debris, smoke, and VOCs (volatile organic compounds, gasses, or chemicals emitted by a variety of household products) from your home’s air. 

HEPA filtration will help reduce your family’s exposure to these microscopic allergens and particles that infiltrate your home. Providing your household with cleaner, fresher air on an ongoing basis will give you peace of mind.


Pre-Filters Make a Significant Difference

Pre-filters may be the unsung heroes of air filtration: They’re the first line of defense against indoor pollution. Some pre-filters contribute more than you might think. They can deodorize air, capture larger airborne particles, and help extend your HEPA filter's life.

Air purifiers with pre-filters enable you to take more control of the air your loved ones and guests breathe. Honeywell activated carbon pre-filters can help deodorize a room’s air by trapping gasses and common household odors, like those from cooking and pets. An air purifier with HEPA filtration and pre-filtering gives you a formidable one-two punch.


Air Purifier Filters Demystified

You can make an informed air purifier purchase now that you know your pre-filters from your HEPA filters — and the powerful combination they make. 

Here are a few final tips for getting the best performance from a new air purifier: Choose an air purifier that suits the square footage of your room. You might need a tabletop air purifier for a room of 90 square feet and a console unit for an extra-large, 500 square foot space. 

Be sure to use genuine HEPA filters and pre-filters from your air purifier’s manufacturer, and change them according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. You’ll breathe a sigh of relief.

Help Ease Indoor Allergy Symptoms this Fall and Winter Season


By Ted Myatt, Sc.D., Senior Environmental Scientist, Environmental Health and Engineering, Inc. 

If you’re allergic to pollen, you may get a break when the weather gets cold as pollen in outdoor air dissipates as the temperature cools. However, some people may experience allergy symptoms in the fall and winter as well. If this is you, you might be wondering why you are experiencing allergies in the winter when there’s seemingly no pollen in the air.


Why Can Allergies be Worse in the Fall and Winter?

Americans spend roughly 70% of their time indoors at home, with an even higher percentage in the winter¹. Therefore, the indoor environment in the home is likely to have a major impact on any allergy symptoms.  As the seasons shift to fall and winter, many homeowners transition to closing windows and turning on heating systems. By closing windows, the amount of outdoor air coming into the home is reduced². The result is allergens and pollutants can be trapped indoors, with concentrations found to be much higher than what one would find outdoors.

Allergens with indoor sources such as pet allergens and dust mites are also trapped inside during the winter. All of these allergens are exacerbated with less air circulation due to closed windows.

Some common indoor allergy triggers are:

  • Dust mites debris. While their allergen containing droppings do not remain airborne long, they are aerosolized when you sit down on bedding or shake out blankets.
  • Pets. Most people are not allergic to animal fur, but rather to a protein found in the cat and dog dander, saliva, and urine.

How can an air purifier help offer relief indoors?

Allergens and pollutants like smoke that can trigger allergies can be small particles that can remain airborne for long periods of time. Even allergens with larger particles (e.g., dust mite debris, pollen) can be captured by an air purifier when they are resuspended by fluffing pillows or sitting on a bed. Numerous studies have shown that the use of HEPA air purifiers can effectively reduce indoor air levels of these allergens, which in turn reduces exposure to these allergens.  

How do you get the most out of your air purifier? 

  • Ensure the air purifier is appropriately sized for the room it is located in. Look for the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR). CADR indicates the volume of filtered air an air cleaner delivers³. The CADR information for the air purifier will identify the appropriate size of room for the model. A good rule of thumb is the CADR of your air purifier should be equal to at least two-thirds of the room’s area.
  • For maximum benefit, you should close the doors and windows of the room with the air purifier and run the air purifier where you spend the most time (for example, in the bedroom while you sleep).
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions for replacement of filters and ensure the filter is correctly installed in the air purifier housing.
  • Position the air purifier in an area free of obstructions. It doesn’t have to be in the middle of the room but it shouldn’t be flush against a wall or piece of furniture either. Be aware of where air is coming into the purifier and where purified air is released.

What else can you do to help minimize indoor allergens during colder months?

  • Use an allergy-proof mattress and pillow covers
  • Keep your bathroom clean and dry (replace moldy  shower curtains).
  • Do a monthly check of trouble areas to ensure there is no damp areas of leaks (for example, under sinks and in the basement). If you do find leaks, make the repair and ensure the area is dry and free of mold growth.
  • Ensure that fireplaces are well ventilated to avoid irritant smoke from entering the room. Additionally, make sure fireplace wood is dry. A special smoke filter used in an air purifier can also help reduce smoke odors and pollutants.
  • Minimize or eliminate the use of candles and incense.
  • Wash bedding regularly in hot water.
  • If you have a furry pet that someone in the house is allergic to, don’t allow the pet to sleep in the room of the allergy sufferer. Additionally, using a filter designed to eliminate pet odor may help to ease symptoms.
  • Use a HEPA vacuum routinely to remove settled allergens on floors and furniture.
  • For homes with forced air heating or cooling, choose a filter with at least a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) 13 rating, or as high a rating as your system can accommodate (4).

People with seasonal allergies don’t have to suffer all year: while different allergens may be present in the home during the cold and winter months, there are numerous steps that can be taken to help alleviate symptoms. An air purifier is a great way to improve the quality of air in your home during the colder seasons, creating a cleaner home for the winter, easing allergy symptoms along the way.

Learn more about the different types of air purifiers, and choose the right one for you.


[1] Klepeis N, Nelson W, Ott W, Robinson J, Tsang A, Switzer P, Behar J, Hern S, & Engelmann W. The National Human Activity Pattern Survey (NHAPS): a resource for assessing exposure to environmental pollutants. J Exp Sci Environ Epidemiol, 2001. 11(3): p. 231-52.
[2] Wallace L, Emmerich S, Howard-Redd C. Continuous measurements of air change rates in an occupied house for 1 year: The effect of temperature, wind, fans, and windows. J Exp Sci Environ Epidemiol, 2002. 12: p. 296-306.
[3] Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM). Air Filtration Standards. https://ahamverifide.org/ahams-air-filtration-standards/
[4] U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Guide to Air Cleaners in the Home, 2nd Edition Portable Air Cleaners, Furnace and HVAC Filters. https://www.epa.gov/sites/default/files/2018-07/documents/guide_to_air_cleaners_in_the_home_2nd_edition.pdf