If you and your family are experiencing symptoms that neither you or your doctor can account for, it might be time to take a close look at your living environment. A “sick” building may be the cause of health problems that mimic flu, cold, or allergy symptoms, which never seem to go away. The cause can be something as innocuous as carpeting, upholstered furniture, or pet dander, everyday objects that have a cumulative effect on one’s breathing. It’s essential to locate the source of the problem and take steps to resolve it, which can usually be done with fairly simple home modifications and repairs.
Bedrooms contain more allergens and indoor pollutants than any other room in the house, according to Green America. Bed clothing is an ideal breeding ground for dust mites and other microscopic irritants that contribute to an array of pulmonary and skin-related problems. Bedrooms are often among the most cluttered rooms in any home, providing ample opportunities for bacteria, mold, and cockroaches to live and multiply. Boxes and bags should be kept in the basement or in closets, and carpeting must be vacuumed and cleaned regularly to keep allergens from causing health problems. Recycling is important in keeping clutter under control. Look for a textile recycling facility in your area if you need to get rid of old bed clothing, mattresses, or clothing, and donate reusable appliances you no longer want to a homeless shelter or charitable organization, such as Goodwill or the Salvation Army.
Carpeting is a haven for many of the allergens that cause or exacerbate a range of health problems. For that reason, it should be vacuumed and cleaned on a regular basis. The good news about carpeting is that, if kept clean, it can act as a huge filter that traps microbial and particulate indoor air pollution and odors in its fibers, which keeps these indoor air quality threats from re-entering the air. Left unattended, carpeting becomes an incubator for many kinds of indoor pollutants and contaminants. If you have pets, it’s especially important to keep your carpeting clean because pet dander, hair, ticks, and fleas can quickly accumulate and pose a serious threat to the air you and your family breathe. If you choose to replace carpeting with hardwood or tile surfaces, make sure you have quality tools, including a hammer, tape measure, and utility knife (available for $13.99 on Amazon).
Lead-based paint is less of a health problem than it used to be thanks to the World Health Organization, but it’s still present in many older homes. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency reports that as much as 40 percent of US housing has some exposure to lead paint. It is a dangerously toxic substance that should be replaced with a safe substitute, though the EPA recommends that a qualified contractor do the work. If you need to remove lead paint from your home, this can be an expensive project with costs ranging from $9,600 to $30,000. There are many paints you can use instead that are comprised of safe ingredients that come from natural substances like berries, roots, and plants.
Emphasize the natural beauty inherent in your yard with low-water landscaping. Emphasize hardy and durable greenery and colorful plants, but take the time to organize it all thoughtfully and strategically rather than creating a jumble of lush vegetation that’s difficult to keep under control. You can beautify your yard in many ways and get as creative as you like with an array of plants and flowers. If you live in a dry region, consider using plants that flourish in arid climates, such as deep blue Arizona sage or Munstead violet English lavender.
Take care not to overlook your mental and emotional well-being when making modifications aimed at making home a healthier place to be. Everyone needs some time to themselves, a period relaxing interlude during a busy week. Consider transforming a room into a reading space with soft lighting, green plants, and comfortable chairs, or you may opt to set up a meditation room.
Your family’s health and well-being is always your first priority, and if there’s one place where you should feel safe and healthy, it’s at home. Take a close and careful look at the materials in your living space if your family is experiencing inexplicable health problems. You may be able to correct the problem with a few simple modifications.
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