Daily Activities That May Be Detrimental To Your Health
Where else can we feel the safest other than in our own homes? However, we are not aware that some of the daily household activities we perform may make us sick or that we may expose ourselves to airborne, waterborne, and food-borne agents that may have detrimental effects on our health while inside our homes. Read on and find out what day to day household activities may pose harm to our health.
Sleeping on Your Mattress and Pillows
Your mattress and pillows are among the dirtiest and ickiest items in your house. Over the course of ten years, your mattress has accumulated enough human hair, dead skin cells, bodily secretions, animal hair and dander, fungal mold and spores, bacteria, chemicals, dust, lint, fibers, dust mites, insect parts, and other particulates to double its weight. We sleep on our bed and lay our heads on our pillows in all their grossness every night. All these dirt can also make your asthma and allergies worse.
What you can do is to protect your mattress and pillows with impervious outer covers. These covers are allergy-proof and prevent anything from getting in or out. You should also change your sheets at least once a week and wash the dirty ones in hot water to kill off bacteria.
Vacuuming our floors may make them look shinier and cleaner. Most vacuum cleaners do the job by sucking up the dirt but only the big pieces are retained inside the vacuum bags. The tiny dust particles pass right through the pores of the bag and back into the air before settling back on the surfaces of your house. Even in the tiniest dust particles of pet allergens and indoor dust, hazardous materials like heavy metals, lead, pesticides, and other chemicals may be present. Cleaning with a conventional vacuum cleaner does not get rid of these particles which may trigger asthma and allergies.
However, there are vacuum cleaners that come with HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters. These filters prevent even the smallest dust particles from escaping and contaminating the air you breathe inside your house.
Using the Sponge
Whether it has the most modern and state-of-the-art equipment and design, or is plain and traditional, the kitchen is the dirtiest room in everyone’s house. This is mostly because we bring, store, and prepare meat that may carry viruses and bacteria in our kitchen.
One item that is found in almost all kitchens is the sponge, and together with the dishrag, it is the dirtiest thing in the kitchen. We use the sponge to clean the countertop after preparing our food, to soak up the liquids and other wipe off other messy stuff. But sponges, especially when left wet for any period of time, are breeding grounds for bacteria, like E. coli. The more you use your sponge to clean your kitchen, the more you spread the germs. In addition to contaminating the surfaces of your kitchen, cross-contamination of other appliances and the food in your kitchen also happens.
The solution is to always keep your sponge clean. Before using it to clean up your kitchen, dip it into a bleach-and-water solution. After use, make sure that you air-dry your sponge to kill off organisms. Lastly, you should regularly microwave your sponge, at least once a week every week. Place it in a microwavable dish with water and put the dish in the microwave for at least one minute. Of course, you should replace your sponge regularly too.
When meat is cooked at a very high temperature, like grilling for example, cancer-causing compounds are formed. These compounds are called PAHs, or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and HCAs, or heterocyclic amines. These compounds are released when fat from the meat drips onto the hot grill and produces smoke, which is absorbed by the cooking meat.
The most sensible solution is to limit grilling your meat. However, when the occasion requires it, especially during the summertime picnics, you can wrap the meat first in tin foil and poke holes in it. This way, the smoke with the harmful compounds that is absorbed by the meat is reduced. You can also microwave the meat prior to grilling to remove some of the excess fat, or buy leaner cuts of meat.
Throwing Open the Windows
Throwing open the windows can be so tempting when the weather is refreshingly nice. Letting fresh air come into your home may be a very good idea but you may also be letting in allergens and/or air pollutants. If you are living in a city, for example, the quality of the air outside can be very poor and unhealthy.
The air quality inside your home may also be in question. You may not be aware that you and your family are also exposed to a lot of household pollutants, including bacteria, mildew, viruses, dust mite, tobacco/cigarette smoke, animal dander, and pollen.
To avoid inhaling unhealthy air, you can opt for an air conditioner or other air purifying systems. Keeping the air you breathe clean is especially important inside the bedroom where there is plenty of bacteria and where you spend a third of your day every day. Air conditioning and air purification systems have filters that remove particles from the air. Just be sure to get those with filters that can capture not just the large dust particles but also the very small and inhalable ones.
Air conditioners and air purification systems are very good investments. One study has claimed that cleaner air might add as much as five months to a person’s life.
Constantly Watching TV
Since the television was invented, watching TV has become the most favorite pastime in every home. It is also the laziest and unhealthiest recreation one can indulge in. When you are watching TV, you tend to eat more, and being plopped on the couch is a very idle activity that does nothing to the calories that you are adding to your weight.
There are more and more overweight people nowadays and, even worse, the number of people who qualify as obese is increasing. Being overweight and/or obese increases your risk for heart disease, cancer, and arthritis, among many other diseases. Sitting in front of your TV may be unhealthier than the toxic cleansers under your sink.
The solution: turn off your TV, put away your beer and bag of chips, and take a long and leisurely walk instead. There are a lot of interesting things you can watch outside, too.