Single pet parents may find themselves in a relationship with an allergy sufferer, and when the question of moving in together comes up, you both may be at a loss for good answers.
Is your love life limited to allergen-tolerant singles?
Before you change your dating profile, be prepared to eliminate 10% of the people from your dating pool. As many as 1 in 10 people report allergic reactions to cats and dogs, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
Allergy sufferers ISO Massachusetts singles have it worse. On average, 49% of households in Massachusetts own a pet, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). That’s slightly below the 57% of pet-owning households nationwide, says the AVMA.
There are ways to live with your pets and your romances by transforming your living space into an allergy-friendly sanctuary. Go from trigger to relief in:
4 steps to reduce pet allergens in your home:
Mindset: It’s all about the proteins.
The snuggly fur you love to mush your face into has a totally bunk reputation for being a trigger for allergies. Advances in scientific understanding now show it’s actually what’s on the fur causing the sniffles, sneezes, and red eyes.
Specific proteins found in dander, skin flakes, saliva, urine, and feces aggravate allergies and asthma symptoms, says the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
That’s why the Mayo Clinic says there are no truly 100% allergy-free cats and dogs. A kitty kiss, doggie slobber, and an endless trail of microscopic particles left on flat surfaces and furniture can all aggravate allergy symptoms.
The allergy-triggering protein also goes airborne on skin flakes and dander, along with any environmental allergens collected in the fur, including pollen and mold spores.
Every surface of your home, as well as the airspace, can accumulate allergy-triggering proteins.
Now, take action . . .
1. Clean the physical environment.
There is no shortcut here. Even a robot vacuum is only part of the solution. The Humane Society recommends cleaning frequently to remove allergy-causing pet dander from your home. To live with people who have allergy symptoms to pets, the definition of “cleaning” goes way beyond vacuuming.
Learn to love leather and other furniture made without heavy fabrics. Dump the shaggy rugs and wall-to-wall carpeting. Find furnishings that spark joy and don’t collect a lot of pet hair—like, the shelf of knickknacks and big fluffy pillows should go.
All furniture, windowsills, and every flat surface should be uncluttered and easily wiped down. Pillows, blankets, and pet beds should be washed frequently.
Use a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter on your vacuum. Any type of allergy sufferer should use HEPA filters. This type of mechanical air filter traps pollutant particles as small as pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and even tobacco smoke, according to WebMD.
Don’t forget to clean the vents regulating air flow to your HVAC unit. Lots of dust bunnies collect in floor registers and grilles!
Many pet care experts advise both washing pets once per week to reduce allergy-causing dander and grooming pets regularly. The best way to wash and groom a pet to reduce allergens depends on the type, breed, where the pet lives, and many other factors. Consult a veterinarian before starting any treatments on a pet.
2. Clean the air.
As mentioned earlier, the allergy-triggering proteins join the pollen and mold spores in the air on microparticles of skin, dander, and feces floating around. Yuck!
Cat dander edges out dust mites as one of the more stubborn airborne pollutants. It can take up to 30 weeks for cat dander to dissipate from a living space, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
Today’s sophisticated, energy-efficient HVAC systems can:
Eliminate 99.98% of airborne allergens, including dust, dander, and pollen
Remove pet and litterbox odors
Control dampness and temperature to eliminate mold and mildew
The Humane Society suggests making a pet-free area. Bedrooms are great pet-free zones, where no pet is ever allowed. This gives allergy sufferers a sanctuary, which is very important at bedtime when a good night’s sleep is needed.
Ductless mini-splits are an affordable, turnkey solution to creating a pet-friendly room with temperature and indoor air quality controls. Installation is easy since there’s no ductwork to run. Plus, you can save money by customizing your comfort in a single room, instead of regulating the entire house.
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