3 Healthy Home & Indoor Air Quality Tips For Spring

By Alison Grimes, Health Advocate at the Mesothelioma + Asbestos Awareness Center

Well into spring, with summer still over a month away, there is plenty of time left to finish (or start) your healthy home spring-cleaning. Especially while celebrating Clean Air and Breathe Easy month this May, it’s the perfect time to downsize, de-clutter, dust and prune your home for health as foot traffic in and outside of the house increases this spring. Plan your next rainy day, considering these 5 quick tips for a healthy home that will let you breathe easier!

1 Remove and Avoid Hazardous Toxins like Asbestos

Garages, basements, kitchens and bathrooms all too often contain toxins that can be forgotten about or overlooked. The single most easy way to start a healthy home spring cleaning is to clean up your personal care routine by disposing of outdated products and medications, especially once informed of product recalls and safety ratings. For medications, detergents and products containing chemicals such as pesticides, cleaning products and drain cleaners, keep them out of reach or install safety locks/childproof latches on all cabinets to restrict access.

Once toxic products are discarded or safely stored. Consider an analysis of your home for dangerous materials or substances if you haven’t before. Today, many are unaware of toxins such as asbestos, radon and lead which can lead to serious life threatening illness or worse, cancers such as mesothelioma and lung cancer. Have you and your family’s blood tested for lead (it only takes a finger prick!), as there is no safe blood level of lead. If lead is found in the blood, it is likely that there is lead in your home and those who live in older homes built prior to 1970 and especially before the 1940s are most likely to contain lead paint or asbestos-containing materials. Investigate or have your home tested for radon, asbestos and other hazardous household toxins.

2 Reduce Allergens:

When you think of allergies, you think of pollen and the outdoors, but there are plenty of steps you can take in the comfort of your own home to reduce allergens. From the bedroom, to the living room and kitchen, follow these tips to sleep better at night and enjoy a little more fresh, air indoors.

-Bedding is one of the easiest ways to reduce allergens. Wash sheets, pillowcases and blankets at least once a week and remove, wash or cover comforters.

-Vacuum weekly with a small-particle or high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter and if you’re thinking about buying a new carpet, consider low-pile instead of high-pile carpeting.

-Curtains and blinds are often forgotten about. Use washable curtains made of plain cotton or synthetic fabric. Replace horizontal blinds with washable roller-type of shades when possible or use a microfiber, electrostatic cloth or lambs wool duster on your blinds and hard to reach areas, including ceiling fans, shelving, electronics, etcetera.

-Windows can be opened during allergy season depending on the severity of you or your family’s allergies. Warner Carr, MD an allergist and fellow of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology explains, “During a rainstorm, pollen gets saturated and fractures, releasing small particles into the air at a much higher concentration.” Turn your thermostat to fan mode to circulate air after replacing your furnace filter.

-Pets are everyone’s favorite friend and companion so it can be difficult to keep them off the couch or the bedroom. Bathing pets once a week may reduce the amount of allergens, dander and fur they shed and provide you and your family, more the reason to smile when greeted by a fine smelling furry friend once you arrive home.

-Closets are a hot spot for collected dust that are often forgotten about. Tiny fibers from clothes, towels and bedding collect in closets. Can you imagine the tiny dust storm that whips up each time you open the closet door? Or have you noticed the dust that collects on your shoe rack? Store shoes in boxes, plastic containers or garment bags when possible to reduce dust collection. Store away winter clothes to eliminate dust or use garment bags for heavy winter coats and sweaters.

3 Disinfect and De-clutter:

Clearing clutter from your life provides clarity and focus. Minimizing the excess of clutter in our lives diminishes the physical and emotional stress of clutter, paving way for increased productivity at home or at work. Neuroscientists at Princeton University have found that organized, de-cluttered environments are far more productive than cluttered environments. Discard materials, toys, products and tools that have accumulated over the past year or two. Any items that have not been used in the past 1-3 years should be discarded or recycled. Donate to a friend’s garage sale; pass on items to friends, family or better yet, a local charity.

Clutter of course, includes cell phones and other technology. Remove clutter and distractions from your bedroom, home and workspace and keep each space disinfected at least once a week. Keyboards, computer mice, screens and cell phones should be disinfected frequently and kept separate from your work and family space when possible. Try implementing a “no social media” rule between certain hours of your home to remove clutter of technology during times spent with family, at least a few times a week.

For more tips visit our other blog posts, join in our community’s conversation #ForABetterUs on our Facebook page and let us know how you keep your home healthy!   

The Mesothelioma + Asbestos Awareness Center aims to provide information to patients and loved ones affected by this terrible and deadly disease by sharing the latest news on medical research, spreading awareness on how to prevent asbestos exposure, and connecting them with our supportive online mesothelioma community.      

All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and/or contributors and not of their employer. Any questions or concerns regarding the content found here may be sent to info@austinymca.org

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