Clear the Air, and other Healthy-House Tips

We often think of spring as the time to give the house a deep cleaning, but scrubbing, dusting, and airing out now could help your family stay healthy through the winter months.

Experts seem to agree that one of the biggest ways to stay healthy when it’s cold outside is to clear the air inside.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notes that Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors. Unfortunately, the air we’re breathing during all that time typically isn’t very good for you. The concentration of some pollutants are two to five times higher than outdoors, according to the EPA, and some experts suggest those levels increase to almost 10 times when we close the windows and fire up the furnace.

Of course, concerns about healthy air have seized our attention more than ever during the pandemic. If we’ve learned one thing over the past couple of years, it’s that some really bad things move through the air.

Texas physician and professor of medicine William J. Calhoun, MD, puts in bluntly: “Indoor air quality can be worse than outdoor air quality in almost every case.”

So, what should you do about the air you breathe? The simplest and most effective remedy for bad air is to open the windows for a few minutes to let fresh air circulate into your house. Some experts recommend doing this as much as twice a day. Others suggest less frequency. Either way, it clearly pays to clear the air. Of course, that alone won’t do the job. Make sure your furnace filters are clean before you turn on the heat. Also, clear the house of toxic chemicals, storing them in a shed or garage so their invisible fumes won’t pollute the indoor air. And keep out moisture as much as possible (moisture allows molds and mildews to thrive), and dust and vacuum regularly. Finally, urge smokers to do their smoking outside—or to quit all together—for everyone’s well-being.

The air isn’t the only challenge to a healthy home, especially in these times. So, be sure to disinfect high touch surfaces regularly, and make sure your sinks are stocked with soap, sanitizer and clean towels so everyone can wash and disinfect their hands regularly.

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