Tonight, I thought I would share a little something I put together a while ago when I was struggling to find a place to live, while being a full-time student at the University of Victoria. I am sure others can relate to the challenges and reality I mention below… I am once again trying to find a new place to live and well, once again, I am realizing how tough it is to find a “safe place” to call home.
Living with anaphylaxis, severe food intolerances, allergies and asthma since childhood has had a major influence on my life. The cost of living for someone with severe allergies and asthma is much greater than the norm. Finding a suitable apartment within a students’ budget when you have severe pet allergies (dander) is challenging and almost impossible. When you add in sensitivity to molds, dust, etc. the search does not get any easier. The apartment has to be carpet free to ensure that there are no residues from past tenants (pet dander, smoke). The furniture in your apartment has to be free of any possible triggers, which means new furniture for the most part. Travel can be an issue, especially air travel when pets are allowed in the cabin. I wear a mask when I fly but am still extremely concerned and have symptoms related to peanut/nut residue, pet dander and/or strong scents/perfumes which are circulated through the ventilation system on the plane. Allergies/anaphylaxis and asthma should be considered as a disability. It makes life trickier and more of a stress financially, especially for students. If I did not have allergies, I could live with roommates, share on groceries or stay in residence and follow a meal plan. Without allergies and asthma, I would not spend so much time reading labels and having to travel to 3 different stores for groceries. I would not get sick (occasionally causing me to miss school) after being around someone with pets/had smoked or was wearing perfume.
A safe place to live:
No pets around and No roommates who may have dander/hair on clothes
New furniture so there are no triggers (pet, smoke)
Windows for ventilation
Ideally not have forced air (have separate ventilation system)
Proper kitchen since everything is cooked from scratch
Newer building/house where there is little/no mold and is not “stuffy”
Proper air purifier to remove possible allergens
No Perfumes/ strong scents
Healthy Lifestyle (Extra time to prepare and more costly):
No processed foods/ foods with preservatives (soy)
No Gluten, wheat, nuts, peanuts, legumes