Most people chalk their chronic sniffles up to environmental allergies or a poor immune system. Lingering headaches? Stress is an easy one to blame. But what if the truth is right beneath your nose – in your own home? Yep, it’s possible that you’re allergic to your own house.
5 Ways to Fight Against “Home Fever”
When it comes to air pollution, most of the attention goes to outdoor air quality and issues like smog. But did you know that indoor air – the air that you breathe inside your own home – is typically much dirtier and more dangerous to your health?
Millions of homes around the world are plagued by poor indoor air that’s laced with allergens like chemicals, dust mites, pet dander, and other unwanted irritants. In fact, it’s such a problem in places like the UK that health officials have conjured up a term to describe the condition that causes symptoms like headaches, nausea, and congestion. They call it “home fever.”
The only way to deal with “home fever” is to identify the pollutants and toxins in your home’s air and to deal with them as soon as possible. Here are some ways you can fight back:
1. Adopt a Regular Cleaning Schedule
Allergy-proofing your home starts with a thorough cleaning. You’ll want to be especially mindful of areas that trap dust and allergens – like carpet, bedding, curtains, blinds, and soft furnishings.
Cleaning your house every few weeks isn’t enough. If you want to enhance indoor air quality and improve your symptoms, a consistent cleaning schedule is a way to go.
2. Use the Right Cleaning Products
Having a cleaning plan and strategy is good, but you have to be mindful of the products you use. If you’re just grabbing whatever spray product you find on sale at the supermarket, you’re probably doing more harm than good.
Most commercial cleaning products contain dangerous chemicals and ingredients that are known to cause respiratory issues and health problems. Read the labels and you’ll see what we mean. (If you have a hard time pronouncing the names of the ingredients, this isn’t a good sign.)
For best results, replace chemical cleaning products with natural ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, borax, and essential oils.
3. Keep Pets Outside
As much as we love our furry friends, they harm indoor air quality. Between dander, pet hair, and the allergens they track in from the outdoors, dogs and cats should be carefully monitored. If you do own pets, they need to be kept outside and/or contained to specific areas of the house.
4. Try an Indoor Air Purifier
While it’s possible to make some headway through regular cleaning, proper selection of cleaning products, and keeping pets outside, fine particles are difficult to remove without some help.
Fine particles, which are often 10 micrometers in diameter (or smaller), are particularly concerning. They can find their way deep into the lungs and cause breathing problems, asthma attacks, and even heart attacks and heart disease. And the most effective way to remove them is through the installation of a home air purifier.
Studies have shown that home air purifiers using HEPA filters reduce particulate matter by 50 percent or more. This mitigates short-term symptoms and significantly reduces long-term health effects and chronic diseases.
With dozens of types, sizes, and technologies on the market, it’s up to you to do some research and find the right air purifier for your home. Gather opinions from multiple experts and choose the option that’s right for your family.
5. Grow Some Greenery
Houseplants aren’t just beautiful to look at – they actually enhance indoor air quality. Consider adding English ivy, Chinese evergreen, dragon tree, pot mum, peace lily, pothos, and other similar plants.
Make Your House a Healthy Home
Think about how many hours you spend in your home. At a bare minimum, you’re spending eight hours a day at home. However, it’s much more likely that you average 12-plus hours per day. That comes out to more than 4,300 hours per year – or more than 4.1 million breaths each year.
Failing to deal with poor indoor air quality inside your home could negatively impact your health and lead to both short-term issues and long-term consequences. Be proactive and do something about it now.