It’s common enough to get the sniffles during the winter months. But it’s possible that your own home is the source of your sickness, not the flu.
To start, there are plenty of toxic chemicals hiding in plain site in various areas of your house. According to ays Beyond Toxics, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating a toxin-free environment, there are around 150 toxic chemicals found in typical homes in the U.S. — not to mention the dust and dirt that can trigger allergies and other respiratory issues.
Here are five ways your home could be making you sick:
Everyone knows that mold in your home can be serious business. In addition to the damage it can cause to your house, exposure to mold can lead to a stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes.
Unfortunately, most people’s go-to response to mold — applying beach to the contaminated surface — isn’t always effective. While bleach is great for cleaning non-porous surfaces like sinks and tubs, it’s no help at all on other common surfaces.
“When mold grows on a porous material like wood or drywall, it spreads its root deep into the material to reach more nutrients,” explains Eco Flood & Mold Remediation. “So when you apply bleach to such a surface, you are merely changing the mold’s color on the surface.”
If mold is present on those surfaces, it’s best to seek professional help.
Dust is annoying, of course, but it can also be a source of exposure to toxic substances. Researchers from George Washington University found potentially toxic chemicals in about 90 percent of the dust samples they examined.
There are no secret tricks to getting rid of dust, though some basic home maintenance can help.
A nice carpet or rug can make a room feel more inviting and cozy, but it can also provide a home to all sorts of dust, pet dander, mold, pesticides and more.
“These pollutants may become airborne during renovations, vacuuming or even walking on the carpet,” warns Lung.org.
Consider vacuuming more often — up to three times a week if you’re able — or deep cleaning wall-to-wall carpets every three to six months to help keep a clean environment. Taking off your shoes inside can help prevent spreading outside pollutants inside.
While walking into a room with a fresh scent can help brighten your mood, many types of air fresheners, incense and oil infusers can do more harm than good by introducing volatile organic compounds to the air in your home, which can have effects on health.
According to a University of Massachusetts Amherst study, “These effects may include migraine headaches, asthma attacks, breathing and respiratory difficulties, dermatitis, and neurological problems particularly for sensitive individuals.”
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