My aunt recently moved from a condo to a beautiful little house. I’ve lived in the same house my whole life, so while I pack for travel what feels like constantly, I’ve never packed up two-plus decades of my life and moved it to a new place.
Moving conjures up all kinds of things: old mementos, stories, and of course, a lot of junk that only the true deep clean of moving homes finds! It also, of course, stirs up a good number of asthma triggers!
Preparing to move
Packing up your life into boxes means you’ll find all kinds of things, new and old. There will be dust mites—I repeat, there will be dust mites! I didn’t wear a mask while helping my aunt pack, but it may be advisable if you’re going through items that tend to be dustier than others, such as books! Having low-/no-fragrance home cleaning wipes (ie. Lysol) on hand can also be an easy way to deal with dust (or other gunk) without stirring it up.
Cleaning chemicals were also another item encountered often. Having someone else do cleaning with these products, using natural alternatives (as simple as baking soda and water!), and having another person pack the cleaners up for moving or wearing a mask here may help, too.
Pre-medication isn’t just for exercise—your doctor may also feel it could be helpful for you to pre-medicate before exposure to other known triggers in instances they are unavoidable. Pre-medicating for cleaning activities that are likely to trigger your asthma may also be advisable.
The big day: Making a move
My aunt had set two days aside for her move, luckily, two sunny and warm days in mid-July. The first day, we moved boxes from her condo to her house, which involved a convoy of a half-ton truck, a large car with a utility trailer, and a friend’s SUV.
On day two, the moving truck and movers came for the furniture and big items (like the Kitchen Aid stand mixer!), though we still had a lot packed into the SUV and my aunt’s Mazda 3. I spent most of the morning carrying boxes and miscellaneous items out to the parking lot.
While it was hard work, it was much more a muscular endurance/strength type feat and didn’t bother my lungs. I took my normal meds in the morning but didn’t pre-medicate with my rescue inhaler, and things were totally fine—had we, not the gorgeous weather we did with a blissful 50% humidity level, this would have been a whole different story!
The only thought I really paid to my asthma on our moving days was with regard to my shorts—choosing to wear shorts with large pockets helped me not only keep my inhaler close by and not misplaced in the movement, but also allowed me to keep a black sharpie for box-relabeling and other necessities in my pockets and readily available throughout the day! (Turns out the bottle opener in my KeySmart, purchased entirely for pineapple Jarritos soda at Taco Del Mar, was useful in popping the plug out of a big exercise ball to deflate it for transport!)
New house, new triggers?
Hopefully, most houses should be fairly clean when you move in. While my family did a bit of dusting above cupboards, you’d never be able to tell that the previous owners had a dog and rabbit, thanks to hard floors in the upstairs, and good condition carpet in the basement. Having professional cleaners come into a new home before moving in may be a good idea if you have significant environmental or animal allergies. I don’t have much issue in terms of allergies but spent the first night after move-in at the new house, helping my aunt unpack, and didn’t have any problems breathing-or-sinus-wise.
It is always important to keep vigilant about avoiding asthma triggers, even when moving or helping someone else move into a place that looks as if it should be a blank slate!
Have you ever moved? What other tips do you have about managing asthma on moving day?