If you’ve recently adopted one of the many stunningly beautiful varieties of cockatoos and are enjoying the bird tremendously, congratulations. But if every time you spend more than 5 minutes near the bird you find it hard to breathe, you have adopted a problem that you had not counted on. Is it possible that the bird is causing these symptoms, and if so, what can be done?

This is not an uncommon reaction for people who adopt powdery birds like cockatoos, African greys, cockatoos, and Amazons. In addition to the dander that all birds create, cockatiels also create a white powder that helps their wings stay healthy.

The protein in dander and dust often causes people with asthma, allergic asthma, and allergies to become symptomatic with wheezing, shortness of breath, itchy or watery eyes, runny nose, congestion, and sneezing. Studies have shown that more people react to birds in this way than to any other type of pet.

So what can be done? You can literally clean the air. And the best technology to do it is HEPA (or High Efficiency Particle Arrest) filtration. This type of filtration is designed to efficiently remove large volumes of airborne particles. Removing these particles will greatly reduce airborne allergens and make visiting with your bird not only possible but enjoyable.

To be designated as a HEPA filter, it must be able to remove 99,997 out of 10,000 airborne particles with 99.97% accuracy. The particle size that it is capable of removing is 0.3 microns or larger, one micron being defined as one millionth of a meter.

One of the most common ways bacteria and viruses spread is by attaching to airborne particles and making them available for inhalation. And while many types of airborne germs are less than 0.3 microns in size, removing the particle also gets rid of the germs. And the most refreshing part of this technology is that there are no harmful side effects when it cleanses the air. The only by-product is fresh, clean air for everyone.

Removing dust and dander is also good for your bird. Because bird airways are so small, they are easy to clog. And once they’re clogged, disease and infection often follow. And often once you realize your pet has a problem, it’s too much to save.

HEPA filtration can greatly reduce airborne allergens that trigger your respiratory problems and make your air as healthy as possible for you and your bird.