The pandemic has taught us that staying at home is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick. With less contact with the outside world, we have less exposure to toxins, viruses, bacteria, and other illness-causing pathogens. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any of those things permeating throughout our home. In fact, if you have been staying at home religiously but are still getting sick, your house is probably the problem.
To confirm this, here are the possible ways your house may be making you sick:
Your carpet is dirty
Even with regular vacuuming, carpets still contain a ton of bacteria, viruses, and deep-seated dirt. Vacuuming will only lift dust, dander, crumbs, and larger particles of dirt—not bacteria and viruses. In fact, your carpet may even be dirtier than your toilet seat, containing around 200,000 bacteria per square inch. The same goes for furniture made from textiles, velvet, and other materials that germs can easily cling onto.
That said, make it a point to consult carpet and upholstery services at least twice a year. Apart from getting your carpet and upholstered furniture professionally cleaned, vacuum them regularly to get rid of as much dirt as you can, especially if you wear shoes inside the house.
You don’t clean your refrigerator regularly
The cold temperature of the refrigerator does not kill bacteria; it only slows down the growth. Furthermore, pathogens from produce, leftovers, and meats can easily spread in an enclosed space, especially if these food items are not covered properly.
For this reason, it is imperative that you clean and disinfect your refrigerator regularly or at least twice a month. Doing so will help remove as much bacteria from its surfaces as possible, helping reduce the risk of food contamination. In addition, make it a habit to cover leftovers and meats properly, as these food items tend to contain the most bacteria.
People smoke inside the house
If you live with a smoker or are one, avoid smoking inside or anywhere near windows and doors. Better yet, quit smoking altogether to eliminate your exposure to toxic tobacco smoke. Long-term exposure to tobacco smoke increases your risk of many lung problems, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), and lung cancer. And even if you don’t inhale the smoke as it is being emitted into the air, its remnants can still linger in the room for more than two to three hours.
You don’t clean your air filters
The air filters in your HVAC system collect dirt, dust, pet hair, and other air contaminants to prevent them from circulating inside the house. However, if you don’t clean or replace the air filters regularly, these contaminants can still end up in your air circulation, thus increasing your risk of respiratory problems, allergies, and other negative health effects.
To avoid this problem, clean or replace your air filters at least once every three months. If you have a bigger household and pets in the house, you have to replace your filters frequently.
You use harsh cleaning chemicals
If you use chemical products to clean your home, you may be doing more harm than good. Many commercial cleaning products contain harsh chemicals that cause negative health effects to humans with prolonged exposure. This is especially true for products that contain bleach and ammonia, as well as products that come in aerosol form.
Instead of chemical cleaners, opt for natural ingredients, such as baking soda, vinegar, vodka, and citrus.
Your house has moisture problems
Excessive moisture in the house can cause the growth of mold and other illness-causing organisms. Thus, a tattle-tale sign that you have a moisture problem is when you see mold growing in certain parts of the house. Luckily, you can nip the problem in the bud by fixing leaks, improving your ventilation, and using a dehumidifier.
You have a pet
Unfortunately, your furry friend can also be the cause of your health problems. Outdoor pets can bring in all sorts of pathogens in the house through their paws and fur. They also decrease your home’s indoor air quality via shedding. Nevertheless, you can amend these potential issues by always wiping their paws before entering the house and de-shedding them regularly to reduce the amount of fur in the air.
Sometimes, your very own house is the culprit of your health problems. If you are mysteriously getting sick despite abiding by health protocols and living a healthy lifestyle, it may be time to evaluate your home’s cleanliness, air quality, and moisture levels.