8 Things in Your Home that Pose Serious Health Risks
If you are like many, you’re probably still spending more time at home than usual in a quest to stave off sickness. However, did you know that your living quarters might make you ill?
Multiple factors in your house can produce adverse health effects, and fixing them improves your quality of life. Here are eight things in your home that may impact your health and what to do about them.
1. Your Dirty Ducts
Taking care of your home’s HVAC system is, in many ways, similar to automotive maintenance. You should change your filters every 60 to 90 days, although you may need to do so more frequently if you have multiple furry Fidos or Fifis roaming your halls.
Like a car, you want to check the oil and belts to avoid excess friction from creating wear and tear on your motor. Your owner’s manual should advise you how much oil you need, as it varies by model.
2. Your Thermostat
You don’t like waking up and freezing your feet when running to the bathroom in the winter, so you crank your heat. Please be aware that doing so runs up your fuel bill, contributes to climate change — and quite possibly disrupts your sleep.
Experts recommend 65-degrees as the ideal sleep temperature. If you have a programmable thermostat, set it to start going down as bedtime nears. If you struggle to get your Zzz’s, cooling the temps a bit can signal your body that it’s slumber-time.
3. Your Window Dressings
If you have migraine disease, you might keep your windows covered because the light hurts your eyes. However, keeping your home dim during the winter months could contribute to seasonal affective disorder, a depression form stemming from lack of exposure to adequate light.
What’s worse is the lack of adequate sunlight could impact your immune health. Your body produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, and researchers are currently investigating whether supplementation could reduce risks from the novel coronavirus. Letting the sun hit your skin while you work could improve your ability to fight off germs.
4. Your Kitchen Floor
We previously talked about the need to tailor your kitchen to your health goals. But did you know that your kitchen floor could make you sick?
Do you consider yourself a budding Gordan Ramsay and love nothing more than food-prep day? It’s terrific if chopping broccoli is your jam, but doing so while standing on a hard, tile floor can make your back a misery if you have degenerative disk disease. Plus, your dogs could start barking before long if you have flat feet.
Why not make 2021 the year you invest in anti-fatigue mats like those award-winning restaurateurs use? After all, if you want to cook with the big chefs, you need the correct equipment.
5. Your Stereo System
Do your neighbors frequently knock on your door to ask you to keep things down? If so, you could be damaging your hearing. Far from a minor inconvenience, auditory impairment puts you at a higher accident risk — you might not hear that speeding car approaching from around the corner.
Plus, you probably already know that excess volume can create tension among those who share your home.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend keeping sound levels lower than 70 decibels on average over a 24-hour period. Pro-tip: If you can hear your television over the sound of your vacuum cleaner, it’s too loud.
6. Your Bathtub
Slip-and-fall accidents account for countless broken bones each year. Fully 80% of all such injuries that occur at home take place in the bathroom.
Fortunately, you can find no-slip grips for your tub’s floor at nearly any department store, often for less than $10. If you need them, don’t let your ego dissuade you from installing grab bars. Even if you rent, your landlord must let you modify your dwelling per ADA standards, although they might require you to foot the bill.
7. Your Sponges and Towels
When was the last time you changed your bath linens? What about the sponges you use to wash your family’s dishes?
Soft surfaces can absorb germs like, well, sponges and transfer all that icky bacteria to any surface they touch. You should wash bath towels after three uses, which means doing laundry at least twice per week, even if you live alone. Replace your sponge anywhere from every two weeks to once a month, depending on your germ tolerance — a steam in the dishwasher removes some, but not all, bugs.
8. Your Furniture
Are you one of the millions of Americans now telecommuting to work? If so, how ergonomic is your workspace? Repeated strain injuries can lead to chronic health issues like back pain, which disables countless individuals each year.
You should be able to put your feet flat on the floor with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle when you sit on your home office chair. You can also consider alternatives such as variable-height desks and inflatable fitness balls to ease back discomfort further.
Are These 8 Things in Your Home Impacting Your Health?
You might be staying at home to stay healthier, but you won’t do an effective job if your house makes you ill. Now that you know how these eight things in your home impact your health, you can make your lockdown beneficial to your well-being.