10 Tips for Fall Cleaning

Sloane Miller Health Guide
  • For those of us with asthma and allergies, there's no reason "spring-cleaning" shouldn't happen in the fall as well.


    Here are some of my favorite Fall asthma and allergy reducing ideas.

    1. Flu shot. Go get one now! See Dr. Thompson's post on the flu shot and my post as well.


    2. Allergy Medications. Have a look at the prescriptions and over-the-counter medications in your cabinet. When was the last time you looked at the expiration date on every bottle? Now is a great time, *before* you get sick to replace what you need.


    3. Rescue inhalers. For those of us that use rescue inhalers, have you talked to your doctor about the switch to the new HFA inhaler? Have a look at AAFA.org transition now website: http://www.transitionnow.org/

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    4. Asthma Action Plan. Do you have one with your doctor? Asthma can be made worse by fall allergies triggers like ragweed, cold weather and influenza. Talk with your doctor now about making sure your asthma is in check.


    5. Bedding. Time to wash the bedding; all of it, from dust ruffle to those fancy little decorative pillows. Throw them all into a hot water wash with your favorite non-scented, allergy-friendly soap for a good night, dust-free sleep as the temp drops.


    6. Heaters. If you're in an apartment, ask your superintendent to wash the filter. If you're in a house, do the regular maintenance making sure all the vents, filters and the ducts are clean. The EPA has some great tips: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/combust.html


    7. Humidifiers. If you have an old one, now is the time to make sure all the parts are working and clean. Clean the whole unit according to the manufacturer's instructions. If you don't have one, consider investing in one; it can aid in keeping your mucus membranes moist and less susceptible to viruses, bacteria and allergens. The EPA has some great tips about what to look for in a humidifier: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/humidif.html


    8. Sweaters. When you put your sweaters away for the summer, were they clean? If you don't know get them cleaned now. If they were sent to the cleaners, take them out of the plastic and let them air out and disperse the cleaning chemicals (which can be an irritant for those of us with allergies/asthma) before wearing.

    9. Donate old clothing. Fall is a great time to go through your wardrobe and find items that can be donated to the needy. Any of your sweaters make you itchy? For example, I have several cashmere turtleneck sweaters that I love but they give me hives every time I wear them. Donate them. Old coats can be donating during a coat drive. Old sweaters and jeans can go to the Salvation Army or Housing Works. For women, office clothing still in great shape but no longer needed, donate to you local chapter of Dress for Success.


    10. Recycle old bedding or old towels. Here in New York City there is a program called Wearable Collections. They accept all used, clean clothing including shoes and hats and household items such as curtains, linens, towels, handbags and belts. You can start a program like this in your town. See the website for more info.



Published On: October 28, 2008