The Austin Healthmate was the first air purifier that we chose to carry way back in 1997. We selected this particular air cleaner because it was rated so highly by parrot owners who had found it to be very effective in removing the never-ending bird dust from the air. Since then we have added additional high quality air purifiers, but the Austin Healthmate line remains a favorite of parrot parents.
What is Bird Dust?
Bird dust (or dander) can be a big problem within the home, especially where there are multiple parrots. While not all parrots generate this fine white powder, some have the distinction of being classified as Powder Down birds. African Greys, Cockatoos, Cockatiels,and Amazon Parrots are notorious for producing this type of dander.
The powder comes from the breakdown of the tips of the small downey feathers found on these birds. The specialized feathers never molt but, rather, grow continuously. The tips of these feathers disintegrate into extremely small, waxy particles, similar to talcum powder. The slighly oily powder that sticks to feathers is thought to benefit the parrot because of its waterproofing property and seems to facilitate preening of mud and other kinds of dirt. While all birds give off powder, some -- such as African Greys, Cockatoos and Cockatiels -- generate much more than others.
Bird Dander and Indoor Air Pollution
In nature, when a parrot flaps his wings, bird dust is simply released into the air where it does no harm. Within a home, however, bird dander remains suspended in the air for a long time because of the microscopic size and light weight. This can be unhealthful for both the bird and the humans who share the space.
Like dog and cat dander, bird dander is also a common allergen. Those who are allergic or irritated by bird dust suffer the same sort of reactions. Symptoms range from itchy and watery eyes, coughing, sneezing, and hives to more serious respiratory reactions such as asthma attacks. People with general allergies or chronic diseases are most easily affected, as are young children and seniors.
Long-term exposure to even one pet bird can sometimes cause conditions like Bird Breeder's Lung or COPD for susceptible people.
Reducing Allergens in the Home
Those who suffer from allergies know that the first rule is to avoid whatever triggers those allergies. Many people take steps like removing carpet and using special bedding covers to keep out dust mites. Bird dust is a particularly difficult contaminent to control because it can't be encapsulated -- it's everywhere. To best way to reduce the amount of airborne particles, including dander, mold, and pollen, is to run a good air purifier that will take these microscopic irritants out of the air.
Have Questions or Need Advice?
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