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Are You Sick? Blame Your House

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Jessica
09.27.12

Do you suffer from headaches? Itchy eyes? A runny nose? Sure, it might be allergies, but it could also be your house that’s making you sick!

This time of year, you’re closing windows and shutting doors to keep the cold air out, but by doing this you’re also sealing polluted air inside. In fact, indoor air can be as much as 3–5 times more polluted than outdoor air, which can cause dry throats, dizziness, headaches, irritated eyes and even fatigue. In 1984 the World Health Organization officially termed this phenomenon Sick House Syndrome.

Does this sound familiar? Fix the problem! Here’s how:

Clean Your Bed. You spend 1/3 of your life in bed, but have you ever cleaned your sheets or pillows? Every night, you’re adding another layer of dead skin and allergens to your bed! Make sure you clean your pillow once a week and maintain your mattress every few months.

Fill Your House With Plants. According to NASA, houseplants help fight Sick House Syndrome because they grab and filter polluted indoor air. While some plants are better than others for absorbing pollutants, all plants have properties that are useful for improving indoor air quality. For more details, read: Eight Health Benefits of Houseplants.

Take Off Your Shoes. About 85 percent of the dirt that enters your home is tracked in from the outside on the bottom of peoples’ shoes. To keep your house clean and your lungs dirt-free, get in the habit of taking off your shoes when you come into the house. Don’t forget to tell your family about the new rule!

Lower Your Home’s Humidity. Dust mites cannot survive if the humidity in your home drops below 40 percent, so invest in a dehumidifier if you have a dust problem! For more dust-fighting tips, read: Reduce Dust in Your House.

Keep Your Carpet Clean. Did you know there are around 100,000 dust mites per square inch of rug or carpet? Vacuum your carpet at least once a week to keep these dust mites out of your air. If you use throw rugs, try to wash them in hot water every few months or, better yet, give them a full spa treatment.

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