Your family home should be a safe haven, but there are hidden dangers that undermine the health and safety of your household. Here are some simple ways you can protect yourself and your loved ones.
Clear the Air
No one wants to breathe dusty air, especially if you suffer from allergies or asthma. Household dust comprises dirt, pollen, insect waste, and other home pollutants, including pet fur and human skin. In a recent study reported by the Washington Post, researchers also found traces of toxic chemicals from furniture and cleaning products in the everyday dust. All these are of great concern to asthma and allergy sufferers.
To improve your home’s air quality, vacuum regularly — at least twice per week. Ideally, use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter to be sure to trap all that pollen, pet dander, and dirt. Also, make sure you change your HVAC filters at least once a month, since these traps many of the most common air pollutants. You might also consider installing UV lamps, which help destroy viruses, bacteria, and spores.
We tend to think of germs as something we bring into the home from outside, but there are plenty of opportunities; to pick up bacteria and other unwanted and harmful toxins around the house. Think of all the times; you’ve touched a bathroom door handle or your toddler has crawled around the carpet on bare hands and knees. These simple activities can easily spread germs and potentially harmful dust that is mentioned above.
The most effective way to deal with germs is hand-washing with soap and water. There’s no need to use special antibacterial soaps, especially since these can, in fact, weaken the immune system and increase the likelihood of becoming asthmatic or triggering allergies. Instead, wet your hands and rub soap all over them for about 20 seconds; making sure to get between fingers and around and under nails. Rinse, and you’re done!
According to the Organic Consumers Association, as reported by Scientific American, almost 10 percent of all reported cases of toxic exposure in the US are from household chemicals. Half of those affected are children. Many of the products we use daily to clean counters, mop floors, and wash dishes contain harmful chemicals. These should be kept out of the reach of children.
Many of them, however, can be replaced with safer alternatives. Check the labels on your cleaning products and avoid ones that contain chemicals such as chlorine or ammonia, which irritate the skin and can affect asthmatics. Use EWG’s Label Decoder to help figure out what products are free of harmful chemicals. You can also substitute many cleaning products with things you might have in your pantry like baking soda, vinegar, and cornstarch.
There are other things you can do to make your home a healthy environment for your family. But even these few simple steps can go a long way toward providing a safe place for everyone to live.