Family Life

The Verdict is In…

Everyone adores the family dog. Maybe you have more than one. It lives in your midst providing hours of unconditional love for which there is no substitute. Sometimes it sleeps with you on the sofa as you watch TV or atop you in your favorite easy chair next to the cozy blanket. Most have been known to grace the bed covers during sleeping hours no doubt imparting enough pet dander to create some major family allergies.

It is a sad state of affairs to find out that one of your children is allergic to this favored pet, who otherwise can do no wrong. Allergies in kids are serious matters causing coughs, shortness of breath, wheezing, and general respiratory discomfort. Well, the obvious solution won’t work. You can’t get rid of the precious pet no matter what. The anguish to the child alone is far worse than the allergy symptoms. We wouldn’t put food in our children’s lunches that aggravate allergies, so why keep the family dog around without taking some precautions.

Where there is a will, there is a way. It comes in the form of an air purifier designed for pet allergies and odors. You can ban the pet from the bedroom to be sure, especially at night, but you need to do more than that if he or she is to live peaceably in the family home. An air purifier is designed just for such occasions when the air quality is poor and full of pollen, pet dander, mold, germs, odors, bacteria, smoke, or allergens. They work wonders in keeping kids breathing well and they don’t cost an arm and a leg. You will want a good portable model that will take care of an entire room of up to 500 square feet. You don’t have to install the appliance in your HVAC system which might be cumbersome unless your family allergy problem is quite severe. Room size air purifiers cost much less than the whole-house models in any case and can be quite effective when used consistently. You can then move it around as needed as they weight from 10 to 20 pounds, but let it reside in the bedroom for the night.

So which one to buy? After careful scrutiny, the verdict is in. I prefer a HEPA as opposed to a carbon filter. A lot of confidence goes with that name. It is a common sense step to eradicate air pollution. What this means is that some room models use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, which can capture ultrafine particles. Most such specialized filters need to be replaced annually, an expense that might increase the total cost of the air cleaner (A few air cleaners are now available with cleanable HEPA filters.) Be advised that room models that use either electrostatic-precipitator or ionizer technology produce some small amount ozone, which can be a lung irritant. Check the product specifications to learn how to cut back on this emission or opt to avoid this process altogether. I think, however, that the benefits outweigh this drawback.