So you go awhile between dustings. Let the dog sleep in the bed. Watch moisture bead up on the bathroom window. However, these innocent-seeming habits could be making you and your family sick—really sick.
Your home has too much moisture
While moisture in the home is normal—bathing, cooking, and even breathing all contribute—excessive moisture is not, according to expertmoldtest.com. Mold loves humid environments, and if there is excessive moisture in the home, it’s bound to grow, especially in corners and ceilings. The CDC warns that mold can cause nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, or, in some cases skin irritation.
You’re vacuuming without a HEPA filter
Research from MIT reveals that air pollution causes about 200,000 early deaths per year in the United States, and it worsens asthma and allergies. That’s why you may want to invest in a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter vacuum to prevent tiny particles of dust from being blown back out into your indoor air. “I tend to go toward whole-house filtration, so the first thing I’d recommend is installing a HEPA filter in your home’s HVAC system,” says James Sublett, MD, a former clinical professor and chief of allergy and immunology at the University of Louisville, in Time.
You’re forgetting to change the vacuum filter
If you’re using a HEPA filter, you’ll want to make sure you’re changing it every six months or when you notice signs of wear and tear. This will ensure an effective filter, while also preserving the life of the machine.
You’re not cleaning vents and ducts
Vents might not be in your line of vision quite like dirty dishes, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need cleaning too. Vents harbor a ton of dust from the air, and when you turn on the heat or air conditioning, all those dust particles are redistributed throughout your house. You can take off the vent cover and clean out the grime you can reach, but you’ll want to enlist a professional to thoroughly clean your ducts. The pros use compressed air and air agitators to clear out hard-to-reach dust.
Your bathroom has poor ventilation
Are you keeping the window open or using the fan when showering? You should! Excess moisture can not only cause your paint and wallpaper to detach, but it encourages mold, which can thrive and multiply indoors, damaging your house and potentially your health, according to the EPA.
You’re using the wrong household cleaners
As you spray cleaner around the house, it settles on all types of surfaces. Plus, you inhale it as you spritz. Common household chemicals—bath products, dish soap, bleach—can damage your airways and lungs. The Environmental Working Group’s investigation of more than 2,000 cleaning supplies on the American market revealed that many substances in them are linked to serious health problems like asthma, allergies, and even cancer.
You’re not dusting correctly
Vacuuming once a week and wiping down countertops means you’re only making a dent in the dust around your house. It builds up every single day, and the more time you let go by without wiping it up, the more you’re exposing yourself to harmful particles. Use a damp cloth to gather dust as opposed to using a duster (or a dry cloth), which, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, will only spread the dust around and trigger allergies. Also, be sure to dust from high to low.
You’re ignoring your gutters
Leaky gutters are another cause of moisture buildup, allowing excess water into your walls, basement, or crawl space. If your gutters aren’t covered, you’ll want to make sure you clean them out regularly.
Your bedroom is musty
Although you vacuum and dust, you actually need to move your chest of drawers, desks, and other furniture to thoroughly clean. Pull your bed away from the wall, and you might be shocked to see just how much crud is collecting just behind your head. And remember to regularly wash your bedding—once every one to two weeks—and make sure you have a good mattress protector. Turn it every couple of months, and vacuum it when you do.
You wear your shoes inside the house
You wouldn’t roll around a public bathroom, but nearly everyone would walk around one and then walk around their house in the same shoes. Given that you roll on your carpets with your kids or the dog and put your feet up on the coffee table, you might want to leave the shoes at the door. Researchers from the University of Arizona found that shoes can track in 400,000-plus bacteria per shoe, including E. coli, a strain that’s known to cause nasty gastrointestinal distress.
You’re surrounded by wind-pollinated plants
You may unknowingly be inviting allergens into your yard that cause your stuffy nose, watery eyes, sneezing, and breathing trouble. If you have allergies, the Old Farmer’s Almanac recommends the following:
- Large shade trees such as oaks, maples, and beeches
- Most lawn grasses
- Common weeds such as lamb’s-quarter, pigweed, and ragweed
You have too much stuff
You love throw pillows, coffee table books, and knick-knacks: All these things collect dust, dander, and pollen, and they can contribute to poor air quality in your home. Unless you plan on constantly moving and cleaning all of this, you should consider minimizing your furnishings and collections.
You let your pet sleep in your bed
They’re cozy, loving, and even help you sleep, but if you’re walking your dog around the neighborhood, you can bet they’re carrying a lot of dirt, germs, and even insects (think ticks) into your bed. Not only that, but pet dander traps allergens, which means you’re subjecting your sleeping space to those allergens.
You often get tired — especially after a minor cold — and it’s difficult to breathe.
It’s believed that the main symptoms of pneumonia are a long-lasting cough and fever. However, hidden pneumonia is also an enemy to your health, and unfortunately, is not as rare as you’d think. If you recently had a cold and still have difficulties breathing, especially after non-intensive workouts, or you feel extremely tired after a working day, it can be a sign of hidden pneumonia. There can be other symptoms too, such as whistling while exhaling and inhaling, irritability, and pallor. Visiting a doctor would be wise in this case.
There is a bump under your skin located anywhere on the body.
Instructions on self-checking for signs of oncological dangers usually say to palpate (or examine) and check for lumps in certain places such as the breasts and groin.
However, the location of these bumps of different etiology could be anywhere on the body. They could turn out to be lipomas or atheromas (varieties of wens or cysts) that are relatively harmless but they could also be symptoms of more serious diseases. The doctor you should visit first is a dermatologist.
You have excessive hair loss.
Undoubtedly, the endocrine system affects all processes that occur in the body. That’s why it’s important to monitor your thyroid health condition. One of the signs that there is something wrong with your hormones is sudden hair loss or a change in the hair’s structure.
Hair cells are the “quickest” in our bodies to duplicate, which is why hormonal changes affect them first and lead to the slowing down of hair growth, hair thinning, hair weakening and eventually, hair loss. If you have irritability and fatigue, weight changes and irregular menstruation cycles in addition to hair loss; it’s a sign that you should probably visit an endocrinologist rather than a trichologist.
Shortness of breath that appears suddenly
People suffering from chronic diseases associated with the respiratory system usually know the reasons for their shortness of breath.
But what do you do when dyspnea starts suddenly and without any reason? Doctors name 2 widespread reasons: acid reflux and heart problems. Acid reflux is when the contents of the stomach get into the esophagus and it’s not always manifested by heartburn and discomfort in the stomach. A shortness of breath especially after having a meal can also be a symptom of this issue. Moreover, the shortness of breath can be a sign of heart failure too. Therefore, if you’ve had several attacks of dyspnea, you’d better explore things further with your doctor.
You have painful periods.
Gynecologists say that very painful menstruation is a normal thing for young girls because their cycle is just starting to develop. But if you suffer from severe pain during menstruation in adulthood, it’s better to visit a gynecologist to exclude endometriosis — the reason for many issues with the reproductive system.
With endometriosis, the tissue that usually covers the uterus from inside extends beyond it and can grow in places where it shouldn’t like on the peritoneum, ovaries, and intestines. When a woman with this condition menstruates, these “outgrown” fragments behave the same way they would inside the uterus. They increase in size, then some of them get rejected during menstruation. These mini-processes in unnecessary places cause incredible pain.
Your kid sleeps badly and is often irritable.
Unfortunately, very often kids can’t say what’s wrong with them which is why parents need to be able to read signs and diagnose some health issues indirectly. A consistent bad mood in the mornings, for example, might be a symptom of pinworms — “harmless” helminths that are specific to children.
Irritability and bad moods in the morning are due to the night activity of helminths which deprives a child of adequate sleep. Curiously enough, the itchiness the issue causes doesn’t always appear instantly — the baby can simply feel some discomfort without being able to explain it.
Throat inflammation more than 2 times a year
When getting angina and tonsillitis quite often, your joints are subjected to unnecessary stress even if you don’t have obvious complications during the illness. All because angina and tonsillitis are streptococcal infections — and streptococci is one of the causative agents of rheumatism.
Joint diseases worsen the quality of life drastically and can cause a lot of harm to a person’s life.
We’re used to thinking that joint problems relate to just elderly people. But it’s not always true — even kids can have such issues. That’s why doctors remind us that if you’re prone to having angina quite often, get cold all the time, and feel a slight discomfort in your joints in the mornings, you should visit a rheumatologist. It might help to spot out a possible inflammatory issue and stop it on time.
The color of your skin has changed significantly — fully or locally.
Skin is the biggest organ of the human body and very often, skin problems that may seem cosmetic, speak about more serious malfunctions in the body.
You should visit a doctor if you get an unusual tinge of the skin. One of the first symptoms of having issues with the liver is a yellow tinge on the skin and a brownish pigmentation of the armpits. Skin yellowness can signal the damage of liver tissues or ducts, while the changed color of armpits signal about an iron overload.
It takes a lot of time for a small wound to heal.
Doctors keep reminding us about the necessity to monitor moles and other formations on the skin and to consult them if you find something unusual.
But few of us know that a skin wound that won’t heal is a manifestation of the type of skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma. Men are prone to this type of oncological disease more than women. This disease is easily curable in its early stages.
Doctors recommend getting a consultation as early as possible. 6 weeks of having a wound that won’t heal is considered to be too long. Such wounds are especially dangerous in places where they are not noticeable at first glance (auricles, scalp) and they don’t always cause pain.
The pupil is dilated in any light.
Dilated pupils (mydriasis) together with other symptoms, can signal about infectious, neurological, and ophthalmologic diseases.
If there are other symptoms besides dilated pupils such as nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, impaired movement, or the decreased sensitivity of the limbs, then you should call an ambulance.
If dilated pupils are the only symptom, then consult a neurologist and oculist within the next 3 days. Diseases of the eyes that are indicated by the dilated pupils can lead to poor eyesight and even the loss of vision.