Just An­other Manic Mon­day

Or per­haps there are hid­den al­ler­gens in your home that are im­pact­ing your en­ergy lev­els and well-be­ing

Bonita & Estero Magazine - - DEPARTMENTS - BY KERI JORD AN

You’re feel­ing tired, a bit grouchy, and you haven’t been able to shake that headache since this morn­ing. Sure it could be just one of those days—or there could be some ev­ery­day items around your home that are caus­ing you, or mem­bers of your fam­ily, to have an al­ler­gic re­ac­tion.

From choos­ing the right vac­uum cleaner, to us­ing low-emis­siv­ity paint and clean­ing prod­ucts with fewer chem­i­cals, there are ways to re­duce the chances of your home mak­ing you sick. Here are five easy things you can do to­day to make your home a health­ier place to live.

EN­SURE AD­E­QUATE VEN­TI­LA­TION

Fresh air is vi­tal to our health and well­be­ing, and ev­ery home should have a suf­fi­cient through­put of fresh air. Open win­dows fre­quently and change the fil­ters in your air con­di­tion­ing sys­tem on a reg­u­lar ba­sis to en­sure op­ti­mum per­for­mance. Al­ways work in a well-ven­ti­lated area when us­ing paint or clean­ing prod­ucts, and go out­side to take reg­u­lar breaks.

“Con­sider buy­ing some air-pu­ri­fy­ing plants that nat­u­rally re­move pol­lu­tants from the air,” says Lisa Walsh of R.S. Walsh Land­scap­ing in Fort My­ers. “NASA and the As­so­ci­ated Land­scape Con­trac­tors of Amer­ica stud­ied house plants as a way to pu­rify the air in space sta­tions. Top­ping the list of com­mon air-pu­ri­fy­ing plants are the peace lily, aloe, Draceana marginata, Fi­cus ben­jam­ina, English ivy, aglaonema

FOR A MORE HY­GIENIC HOUSE, CHOOSE A VAC­UUM CLEANER WITH A HEPA (HIGH-EF­FI­CIENCY PAR­TIC­U­LATE AIR) FIL­TER THAT CAN TRAP THE SMALLER PAR­TI­CLES THAT OTHER CLEAN­ERS MAY RE­CIR­CU­LATE BACK INTO THE AIR.

and chamadorea or bam­boo palm. All these plants can be found lo­cally at In The Gar­den, a gar­den cen­ter lo­cated on Sani­bel-Captiva Road across from the Sani­bel School.”

CHECK THE LA­BEL ON CLEAN­ING PROD­UCTS

Many house­hold clean­ers, sprays and build­ing ma­te­ri­als con­tain volatile or­ganic com­pounds (VOCs) that evap­o­rate into the air and can lead to headaches, dizzi­ness and si­nus ir­ri­ta­tion. Look for prod­ucts with nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents such as bak­ing soda, vine­gar and hy­dro­gen per­ox­ide that don’t re­lease these ir­ri­tants.

VOCs, such as formalde­hyde and trichloroethy­lene, can be found in a num­ber of house­hold prod­ucts, in­clud­ing paint, pes­ti­cides, up­hol­stery and ad­he­sives. Con­sider us­ing low-VOC paints, which are de­signed to give off less harm­ful gases and re­duce the use of harsh chemical so­lu­tions for a health­ier in­door en­vi­ron­ment. Con­sult an ap­proved pain­ter or dec­ora- tor to dis­cuss which prod­ucts would be suit­able for your re­quire­ments.

USE A HEPA-FIL­TER TO CON­TROL POL­LU­TANTS

Reg­u­lar vac­u­um­ing helps to re­duce com­mon in­door al­ler­gens and pol­lu­tants like dust, dirt, pollen and pet dan­der. For a more hy­gienic house, choose a vac­uum cleaner with a HEPA (high-ef­fi­ciency par­tic­u­late air) fil­ter that can trap the smaller par­ti­cles that other clean­ers may re­cir­cu­late back into the air. Con­sider wood, tile or vinyl floor­ing as an al­ter­na­tive to car­pet, all of which are eas­ier to keep clean and dust free.

“Car­pet­ing and rugs can be a breed­ing ground for al­lergy-caus­ing sub­stances that may trig­ger asthma and other pul­monary con­di­tions,” says Chris Smith of De­sign­ers’ Rug Cen­ter in Naples. “Steam clean­ing car­pets on a reg­u­lar ba­sis can help re­duce the pres­ence of dust mites and other al­ler­gens in your home. We rec­om­mend that you have

IF YOU HAVE NO­TICED A MUSTY OR EARTHY ODOR, PEEL­ING PAINT, GREEN DUST­ING (MOLD BLOOM) OR DIS­COL­ORED SPOTS ON CLOTH­ING, FUR­NI­TURE OR WALLS IN YOUR HOME, IT COULD BE A SIGN THAT MOLD IS PRESENT.”

—JON LAVEN­DER, IN­SUR­ANCE FIRE & WA­TER RESTORA­TIONS, FORT MY­ERS

rugs pro­fes­sion­ally cleaned ev­ery three years. It is amaz­ing how much dirt col­lects in car­pet and rugs when left un­tended.”

ERAD­I­CATE MOLD

Florida’s warm cli­mate pro­vides ex­cel­lent con­di­tions for mold to grow, with high hu­mid­ity, con­den­sa­tion and stand­ing wa­ter all con­tribut­ing to the growth of mold and mildew in­doors. Mold is not al­ways vis­i­ble; it can grow be­hind wall­pa­per, un­der car­pets and be­tween in­su­lated ar­eas, and it can cause re­s­pi­ra­tory prob­lems and skin out­breaks if left un­treated.

“If you have no­ticed a musty or earthy odor, peel­ing paint, green dust­ing (mold bloom) or dis­col­ored spots on cloth­ing, fur­ni­ture or walls in your home, it could be a sign that mold is present,” says Jon Laven­der of In­sur­ance Fire & Wa­ter Restora­tions in Fort My­ers. “If there is vis­i­ble mold and the wall is non-por­ous, you can sim­ply wipe it with a wet cloth along with a dis­in­fec­tant mix­ture. How­ever, if the mold reap­pears, there could be wa­ter in­tru­sion or a hu­mid­ity prob­lem. In this case, it is best to con­sult with a li­censed mold re­me­di­a­tion com­pany as soon as pos­si­ble.”

LIGHT UP YOUR LIFE

Ac­cord­ing to the Amer­i­can Mi­graine Foun­da­tion, more than 30 mil­lion Amer­i­cans suf­fer from mi­graines, which can be ex­ac­er­bated by in­ter­nal light­ing in the home that is too bright. So choos­ing the cor­rect light bulb can make a dif­fer­ence.

“LEDs will re­duce eyestrain; there is no flick­er­ing as found in flo­res­cent lamps,” says Steven Stafford, pres­i­dent of Stafford En­gi­neer­ing, Inc. in Bonita Springs. “When com­pared to in­can­des­cent lamps, the LEDs save much more en­ergy.” LED bulbs are also a low-cost and en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly source for op­ti­mum light­ing.

Other ex­perts who work with light­ing sup­port the use LEDs as well. Ben Mad­ing, CEO of Green Se­cure En­ergy, in Bonita Springs, says that not only do LED lights al­low con­sumers to save en­ergy, they cre­ate ut­most vi­brancy in homes.

“LED lights last four-to-five times longer than tra­di­tional light­ing, which re­duces main­te­nance and re­place­ment costs, as well as re­duc­ing am­bi­ent heat, al­low­ing greater sav­ings on air-con­di­tion­ing costs,” points out Ann Ce­mer, se­nior project man­ager at Green Se­cure En­ergy So­lu­tions. “[LED light­ing] pro­duces less glare, bet­ter vis­i­bil­ity and shows true col­ors whether in­doors or out."

And since our brains tend to func­tion best in nat­u­ral light, it’s bet­ter to carry out ac­tiv­i­ties, such as read­ing, in well-lit ar­eas wher­ever pos­si­ble.

Home tips: Look for clean­ing prod­ucts with nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents, such as vine­gar and bak­ing soda; change your air con­di­tion­ing sys­tem’s fil­ter more fre­quently in sum­mer.

Fill­ing your home with air-pu­ri­fy­ing plants is an easy way to nat­u­rally re­move pol­lu­tants; steam clean­ing car­pets is the key to con­trol­ling dust mites and al­ler­gens.

A longer life­span and elec­tri­cal ef­fi­ciency have made LED light bulbs pop­u­lar with home­own­ers.

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