Tuesday, May 5, 2015

5 Ways Your House is Making You Sick

Your home offers protection from the rain and snow, but is it harming you within its walls? There are a number of commonplace home items and systems that are often hidden sources of bacteria and potential illness. In order to ensure a safe living environment, check the following:

Carpets & Crannies

Carpets are soft and comfortable, but they’re also a nesting ground for dirt, dust and allergens that can then be kicked back up into the air. The dust that’s gathering in your carpets, corners and on surfaces is made up of dead skin, animal dander, insect waste and other disgusting particles. This material is not only gross, but is also capable of flaring allergies, asthma and even headaches.

To avoid issues with your carpet and the small nooks around your home, make sure to dust weekly with a damp towel. You should also make vacuuming a weekly habit, and consider a professional carpet cleaning once or twice a year.

 Air Ducts

HVAC units are responsible for circulating the air within your home. When you use the air conditioning, however, the system leaves moisture lingering in the coils. This in turn leads to mold growth, which is the cause of that strange, foul smell that is often emitted from the unit. This condition actually has a name: dirty sock syndrome, appropriately named for the smell.

Not only does it smell unpleasant, but this dirty air can also spark a number of respiratory issues including asthma, allergies and coughing. Have your unit cleaned professionally every few years to avoid recirculating soiled air.

Bedding and Furniture

There’s a reason mattresses have almost no resale value: the surfaces on which you sleep, sit and rest on a normal basis become soiled with a number of bodily materials. Your mattress, for example, can house bugs, blood, sweat, drool and loads of other foul substances.

Sheets, pillowcases and comforters are similarly soiled, and should be washed on a weekly basis in hot water, or laundered professionally. Switch to new sheets annually. Because quality bedding is expensive and small children are sensitive to dirt, allergens, etc., consider buying their sheets in bulk  to prevent recurring illness.

Food Storage & Prep

Whatever bacteria come in contact with your food will, if not stored, washed or cooked properly, end up in your body. Therefore, handling food properly within the home is of the utmost importance in order to avoid food poisoning. Here are some tips to keep your kitchen as safe and healthy as possible:

  • Know where and how long to store each food item, trashing items past their expiration dates.
  • Thoroughly wash countertops and cutting boards after exposing them to food.
  • Keep raw meat out of contact with everything that won’t be cooked well. Also, keep meats on bottom shelves in fridge to prevent possible dripping.
  • Do not cook animal byproducts below the recommended minimum cooking temperatures.
  • Keep your refrigerator below 40F.
  • Do not eat raw or undercooked eggs.

Bathroom Grime

The bathroom is viewed as a place of cleansing; it’s the place in which you wash dirt from your limbs, plaque from your teeth and expel natural bodily waste. So when you think about it, all of this cleansing leaves hefty amounts of grime on the surfaces throughout the bathroom. Not to mention, all of that washing requires water and moisture, which are the main culprits behind mold growth.

When was the last time you scrubbed your shower, sanitized your toilet bowl or doused the sink in cleanser? If you haven’t done those things within the last week, it’s been too long. Use disinfectant spray and wipe down every surface: counters, sinks, knobs and handles. Use all natural products to clean the toilet bowl and shower multiple times each week.

Use these tips to ensure your home is a safe place for you and your family!

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