What’s creeping through your castle?
When it comes to feeling cozy and safe, there’s certainly no place like home.
But don’t assume that being indoors in your “castle” can protect you from all of the environmental hazards — like air pollution and toxic exposure — that come with modern life.
From mold growing in damp spots… to toxins in your home’s building materials… and even household chemicals that find their way into dust, the INSIDE of your home has just as much potential to make you sick as what’s going on OUTSIDE.
And according to a new report, you may actually be sharing your home with a whole “community” of microorganisms, including bacteria and fungi, that can threaten your health.
Issued by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the report calls attention to the fact that buildings have “microbiomes” — the same term we use to refer to the mix of “good” and “bad” bacteria in your gut.
If you’ve been reading my eTips for a while now, you already know that when the bad guys outnumber the good guys in your gut, it can open the door to a bundle of illnesses.
Something similar can happen in buildings.
If toxic mold and bacteria take hold in drain pipes, ducts, or moist areas of your home, it can cause what’s known as “sick building syndrome.” Symptoms range from headaches and dizziness… to asthma attacks and cough… and even changes in your personality.
At the same time, trying to keep nasty microorganisms at bay with chemical cleaners like bleach isn’t the answer.
Not only can bleach and other common cleaning products INCREASE your chances of respiratory illnesses, but they also wipe out the HEROES along with the villains.
Some of your home’s microorganisms may actually PROTECT you from the pathogens, just as probiotics do in your gut!
The report calls for new research nationwide to find out exactly how microbial environments function and impact your health — but you don’t have to wait for the data to pile up.
There are a few easy changes you can make right NOW to promote a healthy “microbiome” in your home and minimize your exposure to household toxins:
- Decrease humidity: To prevent dampness that can lead to toxic mold, invest in a dehumidifier to suck excess moisture out of the air.
- Clear the air: Having one or more portable HEPA room air filters is an excellent way to keep the air you breathe as clean as possible.
- Buy some houseplants: Studies show that houseplants can absorb chemicals from the air, and they can also introduce more “friendly” microbes into your home.
- Clean the old-fashioned way: Time-tested cleaners like baking soda, vinegar, and plain old soap and hot water will spare the good “bugs” as they knock out the bad ones. You can use them on your floors, countertops, and even down the drains in your sinks and tubs to clear out any muck that may be harboring the nasty stuff that you can’t see.