Even though the kids went back to school, and the temperatures started to dip lower, many people were still clinging to what bit of summer was left. Now, with the last official day of summer behind us, it’s finally time to admit that fall is upon us, and embrace it for the crisp, festive season it is. The upside is all of those things we look forward to such as the change in leaf colors, the chance to get more active outside, and the tastes and smells that abound this time of year. The downside is that fall brings some unwanted visitors with it, such as colder temps, illnesses, and the preparation of our homes for winter. here’s some tips to help you stay on top of your family’s health and safety so you can fully enjoy this season.

1. If you have a fireplace or an indoor stove that you’ll be using during the colder months, be sure to use this time before the season gets into full swing to do a fire safety check of your home. Replace batteries in existing smoke detectors or install new ones. If you are installing detectors, there are some more eco-friendly options available, such as the photoelectric detectors, which contain no radiation like the ionization ones, so you never have to worry about the radiation ending up in a landfill. Also, if you have a chimney, be sure to make sure it is cleaned and ready to go to minimize the risk of a chimney fire.

2. As a kid, there was nothing better than fallen leaves. Jumping into piles is almost a rite of childhood, but guess who has to make those piles? It can be tempting to get a leaf blower to power those pesky leaves away, but the more eco-friendly option is through good, old-fashioned raking. Make it a fmaily event and have the kids help, too. After they’re raked, they are perfect for mulching or composting.

3. Check your health. The cold and flu season is upon us, and it seems nobody has time to slow down and deal with being sick. Take preventative measures now to avoid getting sick later. Washing hands, making sure surfaces are clean, and eating healthy foods plus supplementing with vitamins (especially vitamin C), will go a long way toward keeping your family healthy.

4. Get outside. There’s nothing better for your mood and health then getting outside on a brilliant fall day and enjoying some activity. Hiking, jogging, and playing an impromptu football game all count. The benefits for your health are many: breathing in the fall air, getting exercise, and taking in nature’s beauty can enhance your healthy, fitness level, and mood, respectively!

5. Reduce the chance of indoor allergies. All the outside time in the world won’t help you if you are repeatedly exposed to allergens in your home. Take the time before you start heating with a furnace or other heating system to make sure all parts of the unit are clean and serviced. Ducts and filters should be cleaned, checked or replaced to avoid the possibility of your system blowing allergens into your home. Have the unit serviced to make sure all parts are in good working order to ensure the unit can work as efficiently as possible.

Once these items are checked off your fall “to do” list, it’s time to sit back and relax, or get out and have some fun (or both!)