With over 6 million pet lovers opening their homes to birds for a total of approximately 16 million birds, and considering over 50 million people in the U.S. alone suffer with allergies, it’s not surprising that pet birds and allergies find themselves on a collision course. Here are some interesting facts about bird allergies that may help you or another bird lover who suffers from allergies.
It’s not the dander it’s what’s in it.—-Many believe that it is the dander, dust, and feathers that trigger allergic symptoms. The fact of the matter is that it is the protein in these particles that is the true allergen. Breathing these fine particles over a prolonged period of time can cause symptoms that range from mild to life threatening in severity.
Dried fecal material is bad news.—–Cleaning the cage daily reduces the amount of dried fecal particles that can be sent airborne due to daily activity by the bird and humans. It contains the same allergen that dander, and bird dust contain, all of which can carry viruses and bacteria airborne.
Most of these viruses have potential to affect birds more than humans, but there are diseases such as psittacosis that affect humans as well. Thorough and regularly cleaning seems a small price to maintain the health of both birds and humans.
Symptoms can change.—–There are some people who have been exposed to birds all their lives without problems. Then suddenly without warning they exhibit very definite signs of being allergic when in close contact with the bird. This is not totally unheard of, and should this happen, great care should be taken to avoid more serious health problems.
Wheezing can be a serious problem particularly if asthma is an existing condition. Shortness of breath and/or a constriction of the throat are all serious symptoms and medical attention should be sought immediately.
Normal development equals dander.—-As long as you have your bird, there will be dander, dust, feathers, and fecal material. These are all a natural part of your bird’s growth and development. So if your condition is so severe that you are unable to be around the bird, unless you undergo allergy shots to reduce your sensitivity to the allergen, you will need to limit your time with the bird.
These things can help reduce allergens.—One of the best ways to reduce the allergens that birds create is to filter the air. Try using a HEPA or high efficiency particle arresting vacuum that filters the air before sending it back into the room.
The same type of technology is available in air purifiers. By definition a cleaner that uses HEPA technology must be able to remove 99.97% of airborne allergens that are.3 microns or greater. This type of filter can easily remove bird dander, dust, dried fecal material and feathers from your air 24 hours a day in a cost effective way.