Every year, thousands of people talk to their doctor about unexplained asthma and allergy symptoms or eye, skin, and lung irritation. Often, the culprit is found lurking in the air—specifically, the air inside their homes.
If you suffer from any of these issues, keep reading to find out ways your home can actually make you sick and what you can do to get better.
Know What Makes You Sick...
Your first priority is to understand ways your home’s atmosphere can interfere with your health. Mold problems, which are alarmingly common, can trigger a skin rash, runny nose, and asthma, among other things. HomeAdvisor also lists ventilation issues and radon gas as interior problems that often slip through the radar. Radon, according to the EPA, is the primary cause of lung cancer in people who don’t smoke.
If you’re unsure what’s making you sick, make an appointment with your primary health care provider or allergist, who can administer a simple patch test to determine allergy triggers. If you suspect mold, you can purchase a simple at-home mold test kit from Amazon and other major online retailers, as well as your local home hardware store.
The American Lung Association lists more than a dozen sources of indoor air pollution, including pet dander, cockroaches, dust mites, carpets, and asbestos.
Regardless of the airborne contaminants, one of the simplest ways to improve interior air quality is to simply open the windows. Even if you’re unsure of how polluted your indoor air is--and it is polluted—just five or 10 minutes of fresh air can make a huge difference. You should also open your windows when you paint or perform any home maintenance task that kicks up dust or debris.
Just Say No to Smoking Indoors
Secondhand smoke is another major health hazard, especially for young children or those with lung conditions. But unlike radon or mold, smoking indoors is something you have 100 percent control over. American Home Shield suggests making your home a no-smoking zone and enforcing this rule.
Just Get Back to the Basics When Cleaning
Your grandmother did not have the benefits of an aisle full of cleaning products to choose from. But, she still managed to keep a clean house without bleach, artificial fragrances, or harsh chemicals. It’s entirely possible to use non-toxic products, including fragrance-free, vegetable-oil-based soaps throughout the home. For example, vinegar and baking soda sanitize, clean, and shine hard surfaces, while raw cocoa butter makes a great lotion. An added benefit of using natural products is that it won’t contribute to wastewater contamination. If that’s not enough, it may be less expensive and more effective to clean with food-grade products than lemon-scented luxuries.
Clean the Air
Even if you leave your windows open half the day, pollutants can add up at night and in rooms without enough ventilation. A simple air purifier is an efficient way to clean the air. Before investing in one of these small appliances, do your research. Highly rated air purifiers range in price from less than $200 to $2,000 or more.
We hear a lot on the news about outdoor air pollution. However, indoor air contamination doesn’t get nearly as much press—and it should. Most people, especially those who work from home, have young children, or are retired, spend more time indoors than out. It’s time to pay attention to the air inside your home. A few simple changes to improve interior air quality may be all it takes to help you breathe easy.
Sheila Olson has been a personal trainer for five years. She believes the best way to achieve physical fitness and good health is to set and tackle small goals. She encourages her clients to stay positive and incorporates mindfulness and practices for reducing negative talk into her sessions.
She created FitSheila.com to spread the word about her fitness philosophy.
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