You don’t have to ride a crowded bus, tramp all over a busy mall, or visit a sick friend at a hospital to start coming with some bug or other. Your home may be harbouring the very germs you make pains to avoid. You may be oblivious to microbes lurking on your toothbrush, replicating on kitchen countertops, or making hay in your body sponge.
Germs, however, are not the only dangers to your health that you have at home. The culprits for lead poisoning, allergies, diabetes, insomnia, and even declining fertility rates may be right there in your own safe zone…the home.
With kids or the elderly around, it makes it more imperative to install home habits, daily routines, and perhaps some hardware to ensure home health for everyone in the family. You can start making your home a healthier place to live in following this short list of tweaks, if you aren’t doing them already:
Computer keyboards, mice, cell phones, and remote controllers may be the dirtiest gadgets you own. We rarely wash our hands before touching these and so are definitely not conscious about how much germs our hands track on our everyday things. Many people use their tablets and phones while in the bathroom, a bad habit that increases the chances for these devices to actually be filthier than a toilet seat.
The habit of snacking while on the computer also contributes to allow a build up of mouldy food flakes (not to mention dry skin cells and dust) to settle deep into keyboard cracks and crevices.
Wash your hands before touching your devices and if you can help it, keep snacking at bay while working on your computer. Besides having a much more pristine workstation, you get to prevent a broken one by accidentally spilling juice or sauce all over it.
Wage War on Allergens
Dust mites, pet dander, and mould are common allergens found in the home environment.
Lower the level of dust mites in your home and you stand fewer chances of coming down with an allergic reaction. Weekly vacuuming of upholstery and mattresses and using dust mite resistant pillowcases and beddings can minimise the numbers of these microscopic insects in your home. You may also need to wash your linens in hot water all the time and remove carpets and curtains.
As for pet dander, the best way to eliminate this is by simply banning hairy pets into your home. Failing this, zone the home into pet-free areas (like the bedroom, dining area, etc.). In addition, bathe the animal frequently and change its beddings and litter box often to control the shedding of skin cells or dander.
Hold the Mould
Allergic reactions may not just be the result of invading pollen or Fido’s dander. Allergies could be triggered by mould growing at the back of laundry appliances or under the kitchen sink. Moisture and oxygen are mould’s best friends which make leaky bathrooms, kitchens, ceilings, basements, and other high humidity areas the best places that allow these fungi to thrive. Mould spores in a home can number in the millions and trigger common allergic reactions such as coughing, wheezing, sinusitis, and itchy rashes.
For acutely sensitive people, however, mould can pose greater dangers than just a perpetual runny nose. In fact, prolonged exposure to indoor moulds over the years can actually cause serious health problems such as liver damage, blood vessel fragility, immunosuppression, and infertility. Breathing in mould spores over the course of time may also cause people to acquire memory problems, mood changes, and depression.
To control indoor mould, you must control the level of moisture in your home. Fix leaky faucets, dishwashers, and washing machines. Properly vent and calibrate fireplaces, space heaters, gas logs and the like because not only do these pollute your indoor air with combustion products but these also produce water vapour. You may need to monitor your home’s humidity level; so, invest in a hygrometer. If it regularly gives a reading surpassing 50%, getting a good dehumidifier should help you control your home’s moisture level.
Lessen Chlorine Intake
Tap water is chlorinated to destroy microbes. Chlorine’s effectivity as a potent germ killer however is disillusioning because chlorine, as a toxic chemical, raises the risk factors for bladder, colon, and breast cancers.
Dechlorinate water in your home by installing kitchen and bathroom faucets and showerheads with an activated charcoal water filter. Charcoal water filters attract and trap chlorine and other carbon-based impurities, thus purifying your water.
Instil More Germ-Fighting Habits and Solutions
Any place or thing can be a breeding ground for germs, some more than others. Insist that all family members wash their hands before eating and after every trip to the bathroom.
In the kitchen, air dry sponges after use because a moist sponge is breeding ground for germs and fungi. Disinfect the sponge by soaking for five minutes in a solution of two tablespoons of bleach mixed into one litre of water.
A toothbrush is another good breeding ground for microbes because it remains damp most of the time. The influenza virus can live a day on moist bristles. Disinfect your toothbrush daily by rinsing it with hydrogen peroxide or mouthwash.
Clear the Pantry of Junk and Processed Foods
A lot of modern day illnesses can be blamed on poor diets that include the consumption of sugary and processed foods and beverages. Packaged food is mostly processed; baked goods and sodas have excess sugar content; and virtually all chips and most cereals are pure junk. To maintain your family members’ well-being, only good, healthy food, devoid of added sugars and additives, must be available at the table or in your pantry. A home culture of eating fresh, unadulterated food should be a norm among family members for them to incorporate mindsets for fitness and health.
These are just a few ideas on how to make your home a healthy place. There are more you can do but starting with some of these can make a huge difference for the better.