Spring brings relief to the cold and grey winter season. Most people welcome the energizing warmth of the sun. They breathe in the fragrance of fresh grass, and they enjoy the vibrant show of colorful flowers abloom.

But for people with asthma, spring is a potentially dangerous season. Hot days, pollen, dirt, dust, and strong fragrances can all trigger allergic reactions like itching, sneezing, stuffy or runny nose, and teary eyes.

Add to that the tradition of spring cleaning when the house is scrubbed free of all the dirt and dust that accumulated over the winter. Although a clean and allergen-free house is a key to staying healthy in spring, the actual act of cleaning the house poses health hazards for people with asthma.

People with asthma know that the best way to avoid attacks and keep their condition managed is to avoid things that aggravate their asthma. So the best advice anyone with asthma can take during spring cleaning season is to keep away from allergens. The best way is to have someone else do the spring cleaning for you if you can. But for those who can’t find someone else to do the spring cleaning for them or can’t afford the services of professionals, here’s a checklist of what you can do to minimize the risk of getting an attack while spring cleaning:

1. Take preventive medicine before spring cleaning, as recommended by health care providers. Also, make sure to have your medicine close at hand at all times and use it as soon as you get symptoms.

2. Wear a mask while you clean. The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology recommends a NIOSH-rated 95 filter mask.

3. Use a damp cloth to dust various surfaces in the house. Doing so can reduce the dust in the air while you clean.

4. Remove mold.

  • Spring is also the best time to empty the refrigerator and clean its interior, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI). Make sure to also wipe up moisture to avoid the growth of mold.
  • Use a chlorine bleach solution (3/4 cup chlorine to 1 gallon of water) to clean mold from window frames and sills.
  • In the bathroom, scrub mold from faucets and the tub. Replace moldy shower curtains and bathmats.
  • Remove moldy carpeting and replace it with cement or linoleum flooring or low-pile carpeting, recommends AAAAI. You can also place plastic sheeting under the carpet to act as a vapor barrier that prevents moisture from seeping into the carpet.
  • For mold or mildew on basement walls, you can either spray vinegar and let the walls air dry or use a solution (2 cups vinegar, 2 cups very hot water, 1/2 cup salt and 2 cups borax).

 

5. Wash curtains and replace them with those made of cotton or synthetic fabric.

6. Get rid of pests like cockroaches and mice with traps or hire a professional exterminator.

7. Old air conditioner filters should be cleaned or replace with new ones.

8. Sheets, pillowcases and blankets should be encased in dust mite-proof covers.

9. Recycle old magazines that are collecting dust somewhere in the house

10. Finally, after you’re done with your spring cleaning for the day, health care providers recommend that you shower and wash your hair. This ensures pollen, dust, mites and other allergens don’t rub off you and your bed which can worsen your asthma at night.

 


What does your spring cleaning checklist look like? Let us know in the comments.


 

Additional images: Flickr

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Juvy Garcia
Juvy Garcia
Juvy is a freelance proofreader, copy editor and writer. A nice little nook with a good book would be ideal. But concocting plans for her next drawing or DIY project will suffice while she's still busy babysitting two daughters. Follow her on Twitter or connect with her on Google+.