Moving with Asthma

Moving from one home to another can be an arduous task for anyone, but, when you have asthma and allergies, it brings the challenge to a new level!

I thought I'd post a little about my recent moving experience–always a learning experience–but, I made it through to the other side of pretty well, and I want to share a few things that I think really helped me succeed. 

I moved from an older duplex into a brand new manufactured home. Wherever you move to–it is good to meditate on the challenges the new place may bring before committing to it, and come up with a plan that takes your allergies and or asthma triggers into consideration. I researched, and knew going in, that with a NEW new home, I would significantly reduce mold and pet dander issues–my main triggers. I am SO allergic to pet dander and know that it can take 6 months to clear out of a home even after deep cleaning, and just did not even want to risk that because I am highly sensitive.

A new manufactured home (double-wide) was in my price range, built to Florida hurricane standards, energy-efficient, good insulation–sold me. I like that I also was able to choose no carpeting, to reduce allergen levels indoors (instead I use a few washable small rugs and a low-pile area rug for the living room).  But new manufactured homes do come with formeldyhyde risks due to outgassing–so I allowed time for the home to breathe both at the factory as it was being built, and once delivered on to the property, and, during the 3 months it sat on the property as they were finishing installation, I started working on the indoor air quality by adding allergy-friendly/formeldyhyde- and voc-reducing houseplants, and odor-reducing charcoal bamboo bags (Moso brand) which really helped clear that new-manufactured-home-smell. For a few weeks I would visit the home, water the plants, and open all the windows to air out the home (during low-pollen times and in our best outdoor season in Florida: Dec-March). Then I did the cleaning in the home over a few weeks once construction was done while awaiting inspections… I used Hyla water-baaed and/or HEPA filtered- vaccuum and air purifiers, ran the the ac with filters, used green cleaning products that dont bother my lungs as much, and cleaned everything. And that was the basically the prep at the new home. 

As for packing the old home up, I started early as well. 2-3 months prior to moving I started boxing things and labelling things I used less frequently, and storing those boxes in rooms I didnt much, while keeping my sleeping soace as clutter-free and dust-free as possible. Anything fabric I stored in plastic bins or bags that could seal and protect them from dust and humidity. Also anything I thought Id keep in a plastic bin I bought bins for, but things that unpack and stay on shelves, I used boxes for. My mom works at a grocery store so she was able to get me gently used, dry, relatively dust-free boxes for free and bring over a few at a time so I could pack them and then ask fir more. It made packing less overwhelming.

I struggle with fatigue, so by starting early I could pack a little each day, so as to not arouse too much dust at once. A lot of times I wore a mask, and cleaned/wiped things as I packed them (like picture-frames and decorations), and labelled them by the room I thought I'd want them in at the new house. I totally did slow and steady–that way I never wore myself out or irritated my lungs too much.

I also drew out on grid paper where each big furniture piece would go in advance–it took me a few trips of imagining–but I didnt want to bring anything from the old place that wouldn't fit into the new. It also helped because I could easily direct the movers where each piece would go.

I did pre-move some things on my own the weekend before the move–One TV and video game system and TV stand all set up for my small child to be entertained on so that on moving day he was safe in one spot. I also moved some foid andcwater and the coffee-maker so that was set up (I really needed that coffee after the movers left on moving day just to have energy to make up my bed). I had one suitcase packed of 3 days of clothes as well.

As moving day neared I bought plastic silverware and cups and paper plates, and had saved my Sunday newspapers to wrap up and box my dishes. I used giant black garbage bags for my pillows and blankets on my bed, and left my hung clothes on hangars and wrapped the bag under them and tied them at the top in big bundles. My drawers I left clothing in (anything unbreakable can stay in the drawers of your dressers) I washed all rugs and had them bagged up or rolled up. Doing my own packing saved money and helped me stay organized so I liked that. But the thought of loading a truck and all that was too overwhelming for me. I hired out. 

I hired 2 Men and a Truck moving company (licensed and insured professionals) to actually move the stuff and load the truck, and I waited outside as they did it so as to not be around the dust stirred up from the move. Even though it rained a little on moving day during the morning, they were able to avoid anything getting wet by backing right up to my carport. They also had shrink wrap and cut fabric and mattress bags so that my furniture was protected. And they know how to load a LOT into that truck with stacking and placing items, using dolly's and with three of them, they got us loaded on a few hours–it was money well-spent.

The unload was a little tougher because I had to help direct them. I had wiped the furniture beforehand so it wasnt too dusty coming in, so this part I was inside for helping to direct placement. They reassembled one of my beds that was easy, but another bad I had family help take apart and put together (to save on houly rate of movers). 

I did have my rescue inhaler in my pocket, and my nebulizer and meds (and an extra inhaler) packed with me in my car so that it would be easy access if I had any issues. I used my rescue inhaler but did not need a nebulizer and did not have any major attack. 

I slept well last night (my first night, yesterday was tbe miving truck day). All boxes on my room are in closets and so its not too dusty in here, and my hepa purifier is right next to me. I am a little stuffed up but not bad considering all I was around yesterday and I was too tired to vacuum or shower before bed–so a little stuffy nose is no big deal. Today I will shower, start unboxing more , and I will vacuum, and I will be even better tomorrow. 

I am really sensitive, very allergic, and my asthma can get flared pretty easily, so I feel like tbe move a big success. I hope others can learn from the post, and/or add things to it as that they learned from moving.  




Comments 30

  • Pljohns

    Shea-YOU ROCK!  We've been married 23 years and have had  8 addresses and been here 11 years so you can imagine how many times we've moved.  I HOPE we never have to move again, but I know we will.  I've not moved since I was diagnoses with asthma so your tips will put to good use if we ever move again. 

  • Shea

    Glad you liked them Cynthia, and thank you for putting the idea out there!

    And Lynn, yes I agree I do not want to move anymore either! But, yes, if you do need to, at least you know you can move with asthma and reduce the chances of a flare. You have been doing awesome managing your asthma btw… I remember when you first came onto the forum, your crummy old boss and stress in trying to hide and cover the asthma, and you have been rockin it now both at work and at home. You are comfortable communicating about asthma to others. I am inspired both by all you do for your family and employers even while having asthna, AND also for your ability to stand your ground, and put up boundaries when you need to rest, or to stay clear of triggers, AND you have gotten great supportive responses a LOT too. So I will throw that YOU ROCK right back at ya!

  • Shea

    Figured Id post a few pics here of the new home. I eish Id gotten a pic of the truck–it was crazy seeing everything in there lol. I still have unboxing to do but I did a LOT on day 2 in the new home: got Tommy's room ready and bed together, and the school room is done, unpacked enough in the kitchen to make a grilled cheese sandwich. Got both me and Tommy bathed. Moved too-heavy-of-stuff though loading the shed and my back hurts. :/ Oops. I am worn out! I will sleep well

  • Pljohns

    Shea-the house is BEAUTIFUL and you are such an amazing person and Mom for Tommy.  Take care of your back and don't over do it-a little bit at a time.

  • K8sMom2002

    It IS amazing to see everything you own in one small place. You think, "GOSH, how on earth did it all fit in there?"

    And then you think … gee, where is it all gonna go??

    I agree with Lynn … easy does it and take care of your back!

    And I hope you're braver than I was when it comes to decorating … hanging pictures absolutely paralyzed me. I'd hang them and and they'd look a little off to me, but okay. But to everyone else, they looked WAY off. 

    I finally figured out why. I'm short, and all the magazines kept telling me, "Hang pictures at eye level." Well, WHOSE eye level, I ask?? So I finally settled on a spot halfway between my DH's eye level and mine. Worked out!

  • Shea

    Thanks Jen! And yes, Lynn and Cynthia, I will try to take it easy and do bits at a time. It was easier packing that way but for some reason I am much more impatient unpacking. 

    And I AM nervous about hanging pictures. I just hung an IKEA chandelier up in tbe kitchen over the table. It was scary. I had no idea what I was getting into… Electric wires and ceiling insulation–. But I did it! And survived! I also unpacked more boxes, made a grocery shopping trip, and made a trip back to the old place to pick up my Moringa tree and two garden boxes with plants and some other random stuff, and to take more trash out. Then drove the hour and a half back to the new house. So I probably overdid it… I feel like my body is numb. Except for my back. And there are still no pictures on the wall and many more boxes to unpack. Tomorrow the cable/internet is getting hooked up and I have gotta figure out how to get my 3-prong dryer plug changed out for a 4 prong plug like the one in the wall :/   But I am really going to try to leave that list at that… And do nothing else but rest!!!

  • Pljohns

    Shea-you are a monster at doing things!!!  Electrical is something I don't tackle much of-I've put in a ceiling fan but that's about it.  I'm like you, I struggle with pictures too-I'm 5'8" and DH is 6'6" and DS#1 is 6'4" and DS#2 is 6'6" so I'm like Cynthia-WHO'S EYE LEVEL?  My nickname around our house is "smurf" so I do like Cynthia-either pick a place about even with the top of my head or wait until DH is home and he can tell me what level.  

    Good luck with the dryer today-take it easy on your back please.  Nothing can put you down (except maybe asthma) as quick or as bad as hurting your back.

  • LK

    Shea,  What a well-detailed list of how you handled everything!  Well done!  Your new home is so nice!!  You've already made it look like home! 

  • Shea

    Thank you all on the sweet comments. Today I was thinking that it is good that I moved my 5 year old furniture into the home, and didnt get new stuff all right away in here, because most of my older furniture is all done with the outgassing and this place is very airtight when all the windows are closed, and because it is new construction,  my main concern is the VOC levels inside. Luckily, the weather here has been perfect for airing out during the afternoons when the outdoor allergen levels are at the lowest. I do think I am making progress on getting out that "new manufactured home" smell. I am all hooked up to cable and internet now too, so that feels nice. And I am loving the new town– I found a great health food restaurant with delicious fresh food– and was able to find good dishes thst Tommy and I can eat with our allergies! So yumm!! They are having a family-friendly st pattys day party tomorrow with live music too, so we have something to do for a celebration! Happy St Patty's Day everyone!!!

  • LK

    Sounds like you are settling into your new home and neighborhood quite nicely, Shea!  Hope you and Tommy have a wonderful time tomorrow! 

  • Shea

    Thanks Kathy and Lisa! It has surely been a journey!

    I attached some of my handiwork: hung most of tbe pictures up yesterday. Also put up the chandelier. And my solution to where to put all my items I need to bring ehen I go out: allergy bags and backpack purse for all trips out, and portable nebulizer (for trips farther than an hour away). It feels like home. We always nickname our home–our ideas so far are: the Fort (like a kid fort more than a military fort), the Coze (like a cozy spot), the Lizard Express (because we have 4 lizards and will probably be housing an iguana while my sister studies abroad), the Mansion (it is a small home but Tommys favorite video game is Luigi's Mansion, and it is bigger than our old home), and Honnilee (like the magic land where Puff the Magic Dragon lives–because we both love dragons). 

  • Megan Roberts

    Gorgeous abode Shea! You have made so much progress in the short time you've been there — I'm impressed! I'm also impressed with your incredibly methodical approach to reduce allergens and triggers during the packing, move, and unpacking. Hope you continue to find the energy needed to complete your move-in process. Thanks for sharing!

  • Shea

    Thanks Kathy, PLJohns, Lisa, and Megan! I spent all day at home today and it has been great!

    I did virtual school with Tommy in the school-room and it was so nice. I used to just have his desk in the living room, but now we have a room dedicated for it, and everything was organized and looks nice. We played in the backyard for one of our breaks, and set up a little obstacle course. I love our backyard–my old place was near a busy street and a barber shop with a bunch of transients walking around and people blasting rap music– at our new house there is so much privacy, it is a quiet neighborhood, and it was such a beautiful day weather-wise today.

    I also started a little lawn-work–but I am keeping the lawn nice and simple so I wont have to get on my hands and knees and try to weed or hedge things. Simple yard, few potted plants, neat and easy!!!

    I am loving having a dishwasher too. I swear it is a wonderful timesaver! 

  • Shea

    Thanks Kathy. 

    This morning I am a sneezing , congested, mucousy mess. And it is from cleaning the old house yesterday. After the movers moved the big stuff, I still had some stuff I had to throw away and I had to sweep and give everything a once-over wipe (the landlords are friends of my parents, and I also wanted to show I really appreciated living there the past 5 years, so I didnt want to leave it a mess). But, I guess with my lack of recent flare from the move thus far- I was overly brave–plus tired– so trying to take shortcuts. I didnt bring my HEPA vac–I swept. My mask fogged my glasses, I took it off. I was in a hurry because my mom was going to let me load her jeep at take things from the yard to the new house (pollen covered stuff). I am idiot. Lol. Oh well. It was a 2 hour drive back home then I showered right away but I woke up A MESS today. Every few minutes blowing my nose and my face and head feel horrible. 

    Hopefully a day or two of rest will be enough to recover. All my doctors are 2 hours away now. I have numbers of new primary doctors so I will start calling tomorrow. 

  • LK

    Shea,  You are not an idiot!!  I know I have done some of the same things when cleaning or doing barn chores.  I've taken off my mask because I've been doing pretty well and then whoops!  Not doing so well afterwards!

    I hope you are feeling better soon! 


  • Shea

    Thanks Lisa. Today was better. I took a few sinus meds and stayed away from the dust. Part of me gets into this denial thing–like "its just a little dust, no big deal"–and I forget that–Umm I have asthma and it is a trigger and it IS a big deal. But–I am going to slow down and keep my mask on!!! New rule!!!!

  • LK
    Shea posted:

    Part of me gets into this denial thing–like "its just a little dust, no big deal"–and I forget that–Umm I have asthma and it is a trigger and it IS a big deal.

    Me, too!!   

    Thanks to all the wise advice here, I have been purposefully slowing down when I am doing barn chores and taking a minute or two to see if I am breathing quickly or pushing myself when I shouldn't be.  I have been wearing my mask, but it is so hard to make myself slow down! 


  • Megan Roberts

    Me three!! It's so hard because when I am doing everything right, following my treatment plan, and avoiding triggers, sometimes I can forget it's there. Or maybe I just want to forget. Being able to forget that "it" is there is a wonderful thing, except then it makes me feel less susceptible to things I fully know will trigger me. Sigh. I absolutely relate to this statement.

    Don't beat yourself up Shea, I know you do a great job of methodically protecting yourself most of the time. Hope you bounce back quickly and find some great new local doctors to help keep you breathing and feeling well. 

  • Pljohns

    Shea-you are NOT and idiot-I've moved a ton of times and going back to clean is always at the end of being exhausted and you think you just want to get it done.  It's so easy to forget that we need a mask or we'll pay for it.  Glad you are feeling better this morning and hope you have a great weekend.  Your new neighborhood sounds wonderful and so glad you and Tommy had some outside time in your nice, quiet yard!

  • K8sMom2002

    Me, three (or four??) on you NOT being an idiot! I still remember when I was cleaning up from the hurricane last year and didn't think, "Gee, I need to pre-treat first because this is going to be strenuous activity."

    Hoping you will continue a straight upward trajectory of your bounce back! Glad you're feeling better!

  • Shea

    Thanks all! I did do better today. Tommy and I took it easy. We did school, then I did a little bit of work outside while he played on his playset. Came in showered and changed both of us because pollen is heavy outside. I cleared a few more boxes carefully then I cleaned with my good Hyla vacuum (so much better than sweeping or using a regular vacuum), and then purified the air (the house needed it). And it feels nice inside now. Tommy went to bed early. I caught up on Grey's Anatomy and worked on prepping some food for my parents who are coming over tomorrow with the last load from the old house. So I slowed down a little and paid attention to my body, but I still got a lot done.