Forget “Spring Fever;” local families are bracing for “Spring Sickness.” Allergies are already attacking, and with the flu projected to lurk through May, local families are battling dangerous allergens, bugs and bacteria infesting their homes.
Many of those microbes enter on purses and shoes (think about where you walked today or surfaces you touched.)
“As allergies hit early and the flu won’t go away, we can become healthier just by being vigilant about keeping our homes cleaner and as germ free as possible,” says Jeff Dudan, CEO and founder of AdvantaClean. “There are certainly enough pollutants and toxins in the outside air to make us sick. But we must protect the indoor environment as well. That’s why we are offering ‘The Healthier Home Checklist,’ to arm people with the facts they need to protect themselves and their loved ones inside the home.”
A Healthier Home
- Go barefootin’. Here’s a shocker from a recent University of Utah study: more than 90 percent of bacteria, including e. Coli, found on shoes is transferred to tile or carpet. If you have crawling infants, this is especially alarming. Shuck your shoes once inside the door and replace with indoor shoes or skid-resistant socks. This will not only cut back on the germs, but save wear and tear on carpet.
- Sleeping alone? Don’t bet on it. You share your bed with millions of dust mites. They love the warm, moist atmosphere beneath your sheets, and they feed off your dead skin cells to help them multiply super fast. They can carry all sorts of nasty allergens, plus they make eczema worse as well as other skin irritations. Wash linens in hot water regularly, but if you really want to kill off the relationship with dust mites, don’t make your bed.
- Pump out the soap. Every health care specialist urges frequent hand washing to help stop the spread of allergens and germs, but some believe you pick up more bad stuff using bar soap because it may be used by others in the family. However, a recent study says maybe not. If you don’t want to take chances, the “pump dispenser” may be best for you.
- Don’t be all wet. If you step out of the shower, dripping wet, bath mats trap that additional moisture, allowing dangerous bacteria like mold to thrive. Dry off in the shower or tub first before stepping onto the mat.
- Make sure to vent. Often people are suddenly overcome with allergies or become sick for no reason at all. The culprits may be the duct system in your home. Some dust is normal, but if it builds up, it can become a breeding ground for mold and other toxins. That’s why the EPA recommends cleaning of those ducts regularly to decrease the odds of getting sick.
- Share the tub, not the towel. There are a lot of staph bacteria which we unknowingly carry. One of the worst is called MRSA. It’s deadly and drug resistant. Towels can be a link to MRSA if people share them or they’re not properly cleaned or dried. Don’t hang wet towels on hooks. The folds created by the hanging towel never dry as well, which means bacteria can grow there. Hang towels flat over a towel bar for even drying and germ prevention.
- Steam clean. Experts say nothing cleans like steam. The hot, forced vapor molecules can kill up to 99.9 percent of all germs and viruses in your carpet, plus you can sanitize, deodorize and make surfaces hypoallergenic with steam.