Feather Dust Is It a Problem ?
For me, yes this was a major problem and I was left with damaged lungs, But it was not all about feather dust it was the many years of heavy smoking also.
Did anyone issue me in 1959 with a public health warning that budgerigars and tobacco would shorten my life, perhaps they did -- I cannot remember or perhaps I chose to ignore any advice given.
Perhaps I can give you a little advice whether you choose to read it is your choice.
Feather dust can be a health hazard.
People with asthma, respitarory problems or allergies can experience breathing problems from feather dust, couple that with the dust from power down birds and the most feather dust tolerant person may experience problems.
Powder down birds such as cockatiels,cockatoos and african greys produce the greatest amount of powder on their feathers, these feathers shed a very fine ,white,waxy powder composed of keratin. If you stroke a powder down bird ,it will feel silky and soft,leaving a white powder coating on your hands.This powder will cause irritation to people with allergies and respitarory problems.
There is a disease called budgerigar dander pneumonicosis, bird breeders disease, hypersensitivy pneumomitis and pigeon lung all of which refer to allergic alveolitis, this affects the lungs and occurs in people who are hypersensitive to feathers, feather dust and fecal matter ( especially from budgerigars and pigeons).
Allergic Alveolitis is a ZOONOTIC disease,zoonotic meaning bird to human transmission.
Allergic Alveolitis signs in humans can occur within two years but more often between ten and twenty years of exposure. The acute form occurs within 4 - 8 hours of inhaling feathers, feather dust or fecal matter,symptoms would be coughing, difficultly in breathing and a fever. At this point if you walk away from the birds the signs of illness will stop and no treatment will be required.
A dry cough and continuous breathing difficulties is the subcute form resulting from long exposure, stop exposure and the symptoms will disappear.
Continued exposure will mean chronic allergic alveolitis, non reversible and leading to progressive breathing difficulties, a dry cough and weight loss. You will develop a decreased lung capacity.
Feather dander occurs when birds preen their feathers,are playing or excercising, small pieces of feather are broken off , dust drops off and all these pieces drop onto the first solid surface. And then our pets decide they will scatter it all over the cages, avairies or our homes with their fluttering wings. We offer them a bath and they then spend time preening and oiling their feathers with the result of more feathers falling out. New feathers are enclosed in a sheath coated with keratin which dries and breaks off as the feather grows during moulting, this is the time to use a face mask to keep the intake of dust to a minimum.
We need to control this dust.
I have a germ o kill (see my breeding room page), this gets a little reaction from a minority who tell me that is not a ionizer so it will do no good, it is fantastic for my condition, it leaves the air purer inside my birdroom than outside.
I also have a five inch fan when required, two large windows open most days but the best way to protect ourselves must be cleanliness.
Daily sweeping, mopping, vacuming, wiping down the cages, work surfaces and regular changing of the cage liners. Don't forget your face mask when cleaning.
The answer is to have an air purifier and a small humidifier in your home, the more ventilation you have the better it will be for you and your birds.
Everyone can benifit from clean air, anyone who wants to reduce the levels of airborne bacteria and viruses within their enviroment will benifit from Germ o kill's power.
Germs are easily passed from one person to another, with the majority being passed whilst airborne.
Consider the fact that one sneeze can project 100,000 droplets of mucus a distance of up to 10 metres at a speed of 99 miles per hour. When the bacteria is not removed, it is passed from one person to another - the prime reason colds are passed easily round the workplace.
Germokill has been designed to combat this problem by killing the bacteria contained within the air.
By installing a Germokill unit, you will significantly reduce the levels of airborne bacteria within your enviroment.
Concern for my breathing and the health of my lungs prompted me to buy a Germokill unit two years ago. Whatever superlatives I use here to describe it, they would still not be nearly enough to explain the difference this has made, both for my birds, whose living conditions have improved, and for me. In the knowledge that the environment is as close to pathogen-free as I can reasonably make it, my everyday activities within the birdroom are a greater pleasure than ever.
Do not buy an Ozone air purifer
If you are a bedroom budgerigar keeper please install an air purifier in your bedroom