Ways your home could make you sick

George Herald - Private Property - - Property News -

Flu sea­son is upon us and even though you've taken your flu shot, di­gested daily im­mune boost­ers and don a med­i­cal mask ev­ery time you leave the house, you're still manag­ing to feel un­der the weather. But, how?

"Most of us are aware of the pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sures we can take to pro­tect our­selves against the germs that lurk be­yond the safety of our front doors. But, many home­own­ers are un­aware that their homes could po­ten­tially be the cause of their con­ges­tion," ex­plains Adrian Goslett, re­gional di­rec­tor and CEO of RE/MAX of South­ern Africa.

"There are many hid­den germs loi­ter­ing around our liv­ing spa­ces that pose po­ten­tial health risks. For starters, when was the last time you cleaned out your re­frig­er­a­tor? And this doesn't mean just a quick wipe-down of the door with dish­wash­ing liq­uid and a sponge. To re­move any po­ten­tial risk of food poi­son­ing and germs, you need to un­pack and wipe down each shelf reg­u­larly, clean be­tween the grooves of the plas­tic door seals with a tooth­brush, and dust off the elec­tric coil be­hind your freezer.

This coil, which helps ward against frost build-up, blows hot air into your home. To avoid dust par­ti­cles from be­ing blown around, you need to dust be­hind your re­frig­er­a­tor reg­u­larly," says Goslett.

Those who are prone to al­ler­gies also need to be care­ful what clean­ing prod­ucts they use. Many of the fra­grance-en­hanc­ing prod­ucts have neg­a­tive ef­fects on sen­si­tive si­nuses. The dye and am­mo­nium com­pounds in cer­tain prod­ucts can also ag­gra­vate skin that is prone to ir­ri­ta­tions. It is bet­ter to use as many nat­u­ral clean­ing so­lu­tions (such as vine­gar and wa­ter or bak­ing soda) as pos­si­ble when clean­ing your home.

"Those liv­ing in houses built be­fore 1980 need to en­sure that there are no traces of as­bestos or lead paint in their homes. These com­mon build­ing ma­te­ri­als were dis­cov­ered to pose se­vere long-term health risks and are no longer used in any form of con­struc­tion. If you are cur­rently look­ing at prop­er­ties, it is im­por­tant to in­quire about this when view­ing older homes," Goslett ex­plains.

Of course, there is the com­mon sus­pect that most of us know to be harm­ful: mould. Not all mould species are haz­ardous, but all mould points to damp­ness prob­lems; and this poses health risks in any home. Usu­ally found in damp places such as bath­rooms or kitchens, mould can also build up in un­seen places like cor­ners that don't re­ceive a lot of sun­light or ven­ti­la­tion. If you're re­ally strug­gling with si­nus prob­lems and on­go­ing ill­ness, it might be worth in­ves­ti­gat­ing the in­side of your ceil­ing to en­sure that there is no mould build-up hid­den away up there. "Fac­tors that pose a risk to our health do not only live out­side our doors, but also in­side our homes. Home­own­ers ought to take this into con­sid­er­a­tion if they want to stand any chance of de­feat­ing the odds and re­main­ing healthy in face of the on­slaught of runny noses and phlegmy coughs that await them be­yond their bound­ary walls this flu sea­son," Goslett con­cludes.

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