Is Your Home Making You Sick?

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Do you or your family get sick often? Our environments play a huge role in our health, in fact, it is one of the social determinants of health. Your neighborhood and built environment directly affect your health. This means that your home could potentially be making you sick. Now, do not be alarmed and think that everything in your house is a hazard. We can help you narrow down potential health hazards to ensure your safety and overall quality of life.

Potential household health risks can be broken down into three main categories; germs, mold, and airborne allergens. Not all germs are bad and they are very common, especially during flu season. It is encouraged to frequently wipe down commonly touched hard surfaces in your home like door knobs, handles, and toilets. Anything that is constantly being touched. A common mistake that many make is spraying a surface and wiping it immediately. You need to let the solution sit for a couple of minutes to really penetrate and get rid of the potential germs. We suggest spraying down all the surfaces you need to clean first, from your kitchen to your bathroom, and then going back to the first room you sprayed to the last. This is to ensure that you are giving the product a couple of minutes to really work.

As for mold, you may think your home is mold-free but mold has a tendency to build in those corners of your home that you may not see or think about on a daily basis. You may even be thinking that mold is only a concern in the outdoors and food, and while yes, it may be more prevalent in the outdoors it can still find its way into your home. Some common areas in the home that may have mold growing are where the tile meets the tub in your bathroom(s), the bathroom cabinets, carpet padding, between flooring, under sinks, and/or around inside appliances such as washing machines. Common rooms where you can find mold are in attics, basements, laundry rooms, crawl spaces, kitchens, bathrooms, and anywhere near pipes or even inside heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. If you do find mold it is important to use the proper personal protective equipment like elbow-length gloves and a face mask. You can use undiluted white vinegar or bleach to clean the mold, but remember that every 6-8 ounces of bleach have to be diluted with a gallon of water. Let the solution sit for at least an hour or two to ensure maximum saturation. Precautions you can take to minimize the growth of mold are to keep steamy hot showers to a minimum, always run an exhaust fan when showering, remove water-damaged items in the home, and have regular annual HVAC inspections.

Airborne allergens are somewhat harmless but annoying substances like dust, pollen, and debris that can cause itching, and runny noses, and trigger asthma or other serious

respiratory symptoms. To prevent airborne allergens you can try removing excessive dust from your home. This can be efficiently done by using an HVAC filtration system and regularly maintaining it so it properly purifies air while maintaining good indoor air quality. It is important to note that the HVAC vents need to be cleaned regularly, various pollutants can and will get stuck in the vent and prevent proper air purification. Cleaning the grates of the HVAC vents can help minimize the buildup of airborne pollutants. Taking care of these potential health risks in your home can ensure your family’s and your best quality of life.