Your home is where you spend most of your time. You sleep in it, eat in it, and share life with family. Especially over the last two years, we've all been home a lot more than usual. While that has provided some unexpected health benefits like more sleep and hopefully less stress, you might have noticed some of the metaphorical cracks in the mortar of your home's foundation.
While you may not have serious issues like asbestos or lead paint in your house, there are other less-obvious factors in your home that could be affecting you and your family's health. And those could lead to health care costs that dwarf the expense of properly maintaining your home.
If you want to improve your overall well-being and save money on healthcare costs, check out these eight often overlooked things in your home.
Household Cleaning Products
Michael Green, MD., an OB/GYN at Winon, explains, “many common household products contain chemicals that throw off the body's natural chemistry. From laundry detergents and multi-surface cleaners to fingernail polish and shampoo, the Society for Endocrinology shares that many commercial brands use endocrine-disrupting compounds in their products.”
Dr. Green recommends opting for natural, plant-derived household and personal care products when possible.
Dr. Jae Pak, M.D., of Jae Pak Medical, added. “When we're cleaning our homes, it's common to be more concerned with getting the job done than with the chemicals we're inhaling. Using natural cleaning products is a great way to eliminate toxins from your routine. ”
Instead of using harmful chemicals, clean your home with homemade natural cleaning products.
The Humidity in Your Home
According to Dr. Rosmy Barrios, MD, a medical advisor for the Health Reporter, “Dry air at home also has a significant negative effect on the skin. It starts to dry out, leading to itching, flaking, and conditions such as eczema. When the skin is damaged, the risk of viruses and bacteria entering the body more easily and causing various diseases increases.”
Dr. Barrios adds, “Too dry air at home can cause or intensify allergies and various diseases, as it dries the mucous membrane of the upper respiratory tract and mouth. When this happens, dirt, dust, viruses, and bacteria can more easily enter the lungs, which can cause discomfort, pain when inhaling or rubbing the nose, and inflammation of the mucous membranes.”
Lighting can also have a profound impact on your health. Too much or too little light can disrupt the body's natural rhythm, leading to health problems such as obesity and depression. Try to get outside for some sunlight every day and use full-spectrum light bulbs in your home to mimic daylight.
According to the CDC, noise levels can also hurt your health. Too much noise can cause stress, which leads to health problems such as heart disease and diabetes. Too much noise can also affect your sleep, leading to fatigue and other issues.
Dr. Amy Sarow, clinical audiologist, warns, “Excessive noise is a stressor and can be hazardous to our health, even leading to hypertension, increased stress response, and insulin resistance. Using a hair dryer is an example of loud noise directly near the ear, which can create loud enough sound to be hazardous.”
Try to keep your home environment quiet by using soundproofing materials and placing carpets and rugs on hard surfaces.
Having a restful and relaxing bedroom can also have a profound health impact. The room needs to be comfortable, so you should invest in quality beds and pillows for the best sleep possible.
In addition, keep your bedroom clutter-free, as having too many items around might cause stress. Finally, try not to eat or work in this area of your home since it will distract you from getting enough sleep on a nightly basis.
Having a well-stocked and clean kitchen can also significantly impact your health. An excellent way to maintain the kitchen's tip-top shape is by using natural cleaning supplies instead of bleach or ammonia, releasing harmful toxins into the air. Regularly clean your microwave, coffee maker, and oven.
Having a bathroom that is clean and free of mold can also impact your health, and this is because bathrooms are a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi.
Use natural cleaning supplies in the room, such as vinegar or baking soda, instead of bleach chemicals for better results.
In addition, install low-flow showerheads to reduce water usage, and try using all-natural essential oils when you bathe to perfume your home with aromatherapy benefits.
The Environmental Protection Agency only regulates around 90 contaminants in tap water, while hundreds of toxic pollutants are potentially making it through the system to our homes.
The Environmental Working Group disagrees with the EPA, claiming the existing guidelines are outdated and lack enforceability. They created their own health-first set of guidelines.
Brian Campbell, the founder of Water Filter Guru, says, “We can be exposed to these unregulated contaminants anywhere we use water in our home, whether that is drinking water from the tap, using water for cooking, or even breathing the mist from the shower while cleaning it.”
Install a water filter system in your home to remove harmful contaminants, and install a water softener to add the minerals you need.
Take a closer look at your home and make some changes for the better to avoid overlooking things that will significantly impact your health. Focusing on these items creates a healthy and productive environment for yourself and your family.
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