Though moving to a new home is often a welcome and necessary decision, few enjoy the moving process. For people with asthma, the stress of moving home, along with the sudden triggers and strenuous effort, can cause a flare-up in symptoms.
Beki Tovey moved to a new home earlier this year, and she’s pleased to say she managed it while getting off (almost) scot-free.
For anyone living with asthma and coming up to Moving Day, Beki shares her top tips for avoiding triggers during all the hustle and bustle.
2022 has been an eventful year for me but filled with many positive changes. As the year draws to a close, it's lovely to reflect on these shifts and what they’ve brought to the table. There have been many new opportunities and challenges, but every experience has been valuable.
My year started with my husband and I moving house in February. We packed our things into many (many) boxes and went from a three-bed terrace to a lovely country village and a four-bed detached property.
I feel so lucky that we were able to make this move. It's brought us more space as we start to expand our family. My husband finally has a bigger garden to install his much-longed-for greenhouse.
Best of all, it has the immense benefits of fields and countryside right on our doorstep.
As an asthmatic, being in a more rural environment with cleaner air means a lot. I'd also never say no to the opportunity to spend more time outside in nature.
But enough about that. Today, I want to share some tips I gleaned from the moving process. Mainly how to minimise the impact of asthma during such a stressful time!
1. Packing things up
Packing up your house often involves stirring up a lot of dust, pet hair, and pollen. Unfortunately, these can trigger asthma symptoms, such as a tight chest and wheezing.
If you've got someone who can help move dusty items (such as those stored in a loft or basement), don't turn down their help! If not, don't worry. Wearing a dust mask and opening my doors and windows for ventilation really helped me.
2. Cleaning the house
This can apply to cleaning your old house as you move out and your new home when you move in! Cleaning chemicals can have powerful smells and may trigger an asthmatic reaction.
Again, consider wearing a mask and leaving windows open. You can also look at more natural cleaning options, such as those without added fragrance, and avoid using aerosol sprays.
When it comes to vacuuming, I recommend one with a pet filter. Mine picks up much more dust and hair from the carpets.
3. Lifting and carrying
All those boxes and heavy furniture items need to be lifted and carried. Even with a removal service to help, you will find yourself getting quite a workout from moving house! This can be great for your asthma, as any exercise builds strength in your lungs.
That said, work within your limits and take regular breaks - especially if your property has stairs. I climbed up and down my steps too many times to count when moving house, which always made me breathless.
Ensure that you keep your prescribed medication close by, and avoid accidentally packing it in a box!
4. Checking out the new house
I've mentioned cleaning your new property. Still, it's also worth doing a recce to see if there are any new asthma triggers around that you didn't have before. Make a list, then sit down with a mug of tea and devise plans to minimise or avoid them.
We went from a house with wooden downstairs floors to a fully carpeted property. Carpet and dust go together like summer and pollen, so keeping up with the vacuuming is definitely on my weekly to-do list!
Don't wait to fully "settle in" before registering with a GP in your local area. Getting settled means your asthma should be under control, so you'll need access to your medication and regular check-ups.
Moving house can be hectic, and the anxiety and stress may cause your asthma to flare up. Take some time to sit down, make a hot drink, and enjoy your new home before rushing around to unpack all those boxes!
NPS-IE-NP-00661 December 2022