You’ve heard this story before. Grandma gave little Timmy a tiny Cavalier King Charles puppy for Christmas and the whole family fell in love with the critter, whom they named Buddy. Then, a month or two later, it became evident that Sister Susie was constantly sneezing, her eyes were itchy and watery, and her nose was stuffy. After a visit to an allergist, it was confirmed that Susie is allergic to pet dander. And she’s not alone.

The doctor told the family that about 15% of the population is allergic to dogs and cats, and that 30% of people with asthma are allergic to pets. Interestingly, cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies. (At least they didn’t have a cat!) With that said, over half of the households in the US have cats and/or dogs.

That means that millions of families have been faced with a similar situation. The doctor told the broken-hearted family that they had two options: Find a loving new home for Buddy, or take immediate steps to minimize allergens that are affecting Susie’s health.

After careful consideration and many tears, the family decided to see if they could make the adjustments necessary to keep the puppy and maintain a healthy environment for their daughter.

But this story has a happy ending! The family made the changes and although they were unable to totally eliminate the allergens, they were able to significantly improve the indoor air quality in their home and kept their four-legged family member.

Here are the 10 steps they took to create a healthier environment:

  1. Buddy was banned from entering Susie’s bedroom.  The carpet was removed, bedding was thoroughly washed with hot water (because Buddy liked to sleep on her bed), and the room was given a deep cleaning.
  2. The family invested in a high-quality, high-suction vacuum, equipped with a HEPA filter, to effectively suck up the dander. They made a commitment to vacuum their house twice a week.
  3. They did some research and learned that Buddy’s silky long hair wasn’t to blame like they had originally thought. Allergies are caused by the body’s reaction to a protein found in dander, which is composed of tiny – even microscopic – flecks of skin shed by dogs, cats, rodents, birds and other animals with fur or feathers. These bits of skin can cause negative reactions in people who are allergic to these triggers.
  4. The family began dusting often. Because dusting can cause dander to be stirred up into the air, they usually dust when Susie isn’t home.
  5. They talked to their vet and now bathe and comb Buddy often, sometimes twice a week, because research indicates that it reduces allergens by 85%. They make sure they use a moisturizing shampoo so that Buddy’s skin doesn’t become dry and itchy.
  6. Susie makes a point of washing her hands immediately after petting Buddy and tries not to let him climb all over her since dander can cling to clothing.
  7. They had Buddy neutered, which helped to lower his allergen production as well as protect him from testicular cancer.
  8. Luckily, the family didn’t have carpeting in most of the house. They got rid of most of their area rugs and keep Buddy off remaining rugs and upholstered furniture because dander gets caught in the fibers, making it difficult to vacuum or brush off.
  9. They wash Buddy’s bedding and towels frequently.
  10. Last but not least, they consulted with Cooper Mechanical, who installed a high-quality air purifier for their home. Although air purifiers can’t eliminate 100% of allergens, they dramatically decrease particles which can trigger symptoms. Some equipment even emits tiny particles of hydrogen peroxide vapor into the air, which essentially “cleanses” it by destroying allergens and other harmful particulates which would otherwise enter your lungs, triggering allergy and asthma symptoms.

Here at Cooper, we’re more than your ordinary HVAC techs and plumbers serving Newtown and the surrounding areas, and our central air conditioning installment services in New Hope (to name just one more of our many services) are anything but basic. With 40 years of serving the community under our belts, we love creating customized, comprehensive solutions for home comfort. Learn more by giving us a call today.