Allergy Help for Dove Owners

 

My husband had severe asthma, yet we have a large collection of doves and he is able to co-exist with birds and cats with minimal discomfort and spends quite a bit of time with them each day. There are a lot of things that you can do to minimize and eliminate most of the problems that trigger allergies. Many of these prevention techniques are also useful in controlling other allergens as well. With minimal effort, there is a way to overcome obstacles.
Ionizer HEPA filters Air Purifiers Humidifiers
Bathing Containment Nebulizer Treatments

Ionizer:

This is the single most important item you can purchase for someone with allergies or asthma so be sure to buy the right one... and in my opinion, there is only one ionizer that is the right one and it is only sold by "The Sharper Image." It is an "Ionic Breeze Quadra Silent Air purifier." It costs about $349 but they have a special on for a second one for half price until the end of December 2001. This is a great deal and it is worth it. I just bought 2 more. You will save more than you spend just in asthma medicines, hospital or doctors office visits and air purifier filters that you will not have to spend. This Ionizer does not require any filters. You just wipe the dust off. It keeps the air wonderfully dust free. I cannot stress how important this one item is. No other product can come close to the benefits of this ionizer. Clean it at least a couple times each week and it will really make a difference.

HEPA Filters:

I use HEPA filters in our central air and heating system. A good accordion type HEPA filter should remove dander, pollutants and even some bacteria from the air. They are cheap. About $5 or $6 at your grocery, pharmacy or home improvement center. If there is more than one, look for the smallest micron filtration. Be sure to change these filters EVERY month for the best results. HEPA filters get clogged up very quickly because they trap such small pollutants that you cannot see them on the filter so even though it looks clean, it is not. Just spend the $5 each month and get a new one. We buy two at a time to always have a spare on hand. In very hot weather, if your aid conditioner is struggling and unable to cool your house, you may have to get a less dense filter, just until the hot spell passes. HEPA filters will reduce your air flow, but for people with asthma and allergies, they are a great benefit. It will help you even if you do not have allergies by keeping interior pollutions and bacteria out of the air. Make sure that the filter fits properly and that air is not escaping around the sides of the filter or it will defeat the entire purpose. Also, make sure that you have put the filter in with the arrow pointing in the direction of the air flow.

While you are maintaining your central air, there are some algae tabs that you can put in the water pan under the evaporator. There is also some safe algaecide that you can use to spray the a frame coils to keep molds and mildews out of the air you breathe. 

Air purifiers:

If you bought an "Ionic Breeze" from the Sharper Image, then these are pretty much obsolete, but you can still use them. They will only add more improvement to the air, especially in a bedroom or in the bird room. Only use HEPA rated air purifiers with ionizers. Make sure that the filtering system also includes a charcoal filter. Be prepared for anywhere from $24 to $55 or more dollars per month just for filters, and the filters will need to be changed monthly...see the $349 for the Ionic Breeze does not sound so expensive now. If you want to purchase an air purifier, I personally prefer "Bionaire."  They are still in business after more than 14 years. They still sell filters and support products that I bought in the eighties and are the most reasonable on prices. Their products are well built and last a long time. They have some nice models that have a combo filter/charcoal cartridge set.  You can get their products in sizes to fit the rooms you are trying to purify. I have bought other brands and have always regretted it because they do not support their products and it is impossible to buy filters after a few months. Bionaire filters are sold online, at Sears and home improvement centers.

Humidifiers: 

Cold water humidifiers also help to keep the dust down.

Bathe Bird: 

Bathing the dove about once each month will definitely help keep down the dust, but this should not be done on doves that are outside because it will hinder their ability to shed water. I use only a little Johnson's baby shampoo in a sink of nice warm water. Be sure to rinse all of the shampoo off and be careful not to damage the feathers. Towel dry, keep them warm, near a nice fluid type portable radiant heater or blow dry on the coolest setting. There are more details and precautions in the bathing section on this page; bathing.

Dust Containment: 

There are several things you can do to contain the dust. 

  • Cover the dove's cage at night with a sheet. Wash the sheet once each week and be careful not to shake the dust loose when handling it. 

  • Keep the birds in one room where you can seal the dust away from the rest of the house.

  • We have a sheet of heavy polyurethane plastic over the door of the sunroom fastened to the door frame with Velcro so that it will reseal each time we go in and out of the room. It helps keep the dust in the one room and out of the rest of the house and the Ionizer is more efficient being placed in the contained area. 

  • Close the air conditioning return ducts and vents in the room where the birds are contained to keep the dust out of the rest of the house. 

  • Keep the damper closed on the fireplace so it does not draw dust out of the bird room into the living areas.

  • If you can vent the room outside each day by opening a window, might help. This one you will have to use your judgment on because it might also allow pollen and other allergens to enter.

  • It is best if the room is not carpeted and no drapes or fabrics that would collect dust. A dining room works well for this.

  • Keep the floor mopped, damp wipe the dust from the furnishings, walls & windows.

  • Keep the cages changed and cleaned daily.

  • Store the seed in a screw top storage container which are available at major pet stores just for storing pet feeds. This will keep down the seed dust and keep the moths out of it.

  • A rainbow vacuum cleaner is the best for people with asthma or allergies since it has a water filter and does not blow dust back in the air. Be sure to vacuum thoroughly. Include the return air and vents and under the refrigerator when you vacuum. The more thorough you are, the less dust will be in the house.

  • Shampoo carpets every month or two. A light shampoo will work fine to keep the house dust free. Rinse and vacs are the best. Hoover has an upright rinse and vac with rotating brushes that is excellent. Sears sells this model. It is really worth the price.

Nebulizer:

If you are an asthmatic and frequently use inhalers, I highly recommend getting a Nebulizer. Your doctor can write a prescription for one and your insurance will likely pay for it. This is an excellent device for clearing up the lungs and congestion of asthmatics. Even without insurance, Nebulizers are not that expensive. Just over $100 and well worth the price which will save many emergency room visits.

Allergy treatment:

We have found antihistamines and decongestants such as Benadryl and Sudafed to be helpful. For asthma, the most effective medications have been Singulair, Albuterol, Brethine, Serevent, cortisone  sprays and inhalers and Prednisone. There are also allergy treatments available to reduce sensitivity. Some doctors are not into this so you will have to shop around for a specialist that routinely administers allergen sensitivity reduction therapy.