When people think about health, diet, exercise, and sleep come to mind. They aren’t wrong because all of those things are fundamental to overall health. If you’re truly committed to creating a healthier life, you have to address your home, where you spend a lot of your time. Depending on your type of dwelling, your living space may require very little or a lot of upkeep. Regardless of where you live, there are a few key aspects to keep in mind. In this article, we break down the most important ways to keep your home safe and healthy.
Preserve Indoor Air Quality
The air you breathe inside your home is the first thing to address. After all, indoor air quality can positively or negatively affect lung health. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAI) said that 50% of homes potentially have six allergens detectable in the air. Of those allergens, popular ones include pet dander, mold, dust mites, and cockroach droppings. You should ventilate your home when possible, but the weather can dictate whether or not the windows stay open or closed. For better indoor air quality, consider the following:
- Vacuum any rugs or carpets regularly to control pollen, dust mites, and pet dander.
- Try to keep your bathroom dry to help prevent mold and mildew from growing. Clean any mold you see on hard surfaces with bleach cleaners in a well-ventilated space.
- Keep your thermostat below 70 degrees F and aim to have humidity levels between 40-50%, if possible.
- Was all bedding once a week in hot water to help get rid of allergens.
Believe it or not, 60% of all falls occur in the home, where people spend the majority of their time. It’s very natural to let your guard down at home, so you move around in a distracted way without considering safety. To prevent falls or other injuries, the following tips may be helpful:
- Install handrails wherever possible: next to toilets, along stairs, and in bathtubs.
- Wear a medical alarm if you are at a higher risk of falls.
- Make sure that your home has sufficient lighting throughout, and install night lights in bathrooms and other spaces you may need to access at night.
- Choose larger rugs over small area rugs. For those larger rugs, make sure that the corners are firmly affixed to the floor, or you have anti-slip pads in place.
- Make sure that there are no wires or cords obstructing common area walkways.
Clean Your Home
One of the best ways to maintain a healthy home is to clean it regularly. Disinfecting high-touch surfaces, cleaning your bedding, vacuuming your carpets, and mopping floors work to prevent indoor allergens (discussed above). Having a regular cleaning schedule can help remove general grime and germs, including the norovirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Disinfecting the home may be necessary if you or another member of your household is sick. Clean the following areas to maintain a clean and healthy home:
- Carpets and other flooring
- Light switches
- Laptops, smartphones, and other electronic devices
In order to properly clean your home, you have to scrub surfaces with soap and water. Sanitizing the home is a little different, as it reduces germs with the aid of sprays or products that contain a small amount of bleach. Always remember to clean surfaces before sanitizing them. If you are sick, disinfection may be necessary, especially for high-touch surfaces.
Store Your Food Properly
The way you store your foods is just as important as the foods you eat. Because of increased exposure to harmful ingredients in various plastics, health experts advise looking for containers that are free of bisphenol A (BPA). High exposure to BPA may have adverse effects on reproductive health. Glass containers are excellent, but make sure that you check that the materials are free of BPA. Additionally, make sure your bottled water, or reusable bottles, are BPA-free.
Personal Hygiene And Medical Supplies
Smelling great is a beautiful thing, but personal hygiene goes beyond soaps and bath supplies. Some people don’t have certain products in their medicines cabinets, but health experts recommend having the following on hand at all times:
- Reef-safe sunscreen
- Antibacterial ointment
- Calamine lotion for bug bites and minor burns
- A thermometer
- Activated charcoal
- Allergy medicines
Foods That Support Your Health
Dietary needs and preferences vary from person to person. Some people may have food sensitivities that others don’t, so a healthy diet for you may be different than it is for someone else. That said, health experts agree on a list of basic food items that you should always have on hand in your pantry to promote better eating habits:
- Steel cut oats
- Wild rice
- Beans (no salt added varieties if purchasing canned varieties)
- Raw nuts and seeds
- Raw nut or seed butters
- Coconut oil, avocado oil, and extra virgin olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar and raw apple cider vinegar
- Natural sugars, including grade A maple syrup, stevia, and raw agave nectar
- Seasoning and dried herbs
- Frozen fruits and vegetables
Additionally, stock your fridge with fresh fruits and vegetables. We all know that fruits and vegetables are essential for optimal health!