Healthy Home

Healthy Home: 4 Common “Sick Rooms”

You know the saying “home is where the heart is.”  Well, did you
also know that it’s where 65-percent of colds and more than
half
of food borne illnesses are contracted?


In this month’s Healthy Home, we look at four common sources of illness in the home and how to combat them:


The kitchen is, in fact, the dirtiest room in the house. That’s because of the raw meat and bacteria that is often put on countertops.


Most people wipe countertops off with a sponge, which becomes a breeding ground for E. coli and other bacteria.


By wiping off surfaces with this common tool, you’re actually spreading the germs.


The answer is dipping sponges in a solution of bleach and water before wiping down surfaces. You can also microwave it for one minute each week to kill the germs.


It’s important though, once you’ve used the sponge, to let it air-dry. Dryness kills off organisms.


Running the vacuum to pick up dirt, dust and hair may leave our floors looking clean but scientists say plenty of dust filled with pesticides, heavy metals and other chemicals still remain.


Experts recommend finding a vacuum cleaner with a high efficiency particulate air – or HEPA filter. HEPA filters are able to retain the small particles and prevent them from passing through and contaminating the air you breathe in your home.


Did you know a mattress can double in weight over ten years because of the accumulation of human hair, perspiration, animal hair and dander, fungal mold, bacteria, chemicals, dust, lint and insect remains?


Not only is that gross but all those things in bed with you can exacerbate your allergies or asthma.


You should allergy proof your bed and mattresses with special coverings that you’ll find in bedding stores.


Scientists also recommend that you wash your sheets each week in hot water.


When the temperatures start to drop here, many people open their windows to let the fresh air in.  But you’re also letting in a combination of seasonal allergens and pollution.


The Environmental Protection Agency lists poor indoor air quality as the fourth largest environmental threat.


If you’re allergy prone, the recommended solution is to shut the windows and run the A/C. All air conditioning systems have filters that help clean the air inside. You might also consider investing in higher efficiency filters that remove particles that can be inhaled.

 

Healthy Home: Shedding Light on Fluorescent Bulbs

They’re marketed to save energy and our environment, but in
this month’s “healthy home,” we shed some light on compact
fluorescent light bulbs.


Compact fluorescent lights, or CFL’s are lighting more homes than ever before, and while the Environmental Protection Agency is encouraging Americans to use them, they also warn that CFL’s contain toxic mercury.


Carefully recycling or disposing of broken CFL’s prevents the release of mercury into the environment and allows for the reuse of glass, metals and other materials that make up fluorescent lights.


It’s not common but should a CFL break, the EPA recommends opening a window and removing all people and pets from the room for 15 minutes.  Also be sure to shut off the central air in your home so the fumes do not circulate.


You’ll want to get the broken bits into a sealed jar or container as soon as possible, following specific steps offered by the EPA.