Home Sweet Home: The Link Between Your Home and Your Health

Have you ever stopped to think about the significance of your home as it relates to your family’s health? You probably view it as your sanctuary from the outside world, a space where you can let down your guard and relax. You might prefer to think of it as your refuge rather than a contributor to health issues. In order to safeguard your family, it may be helpful to take a look at some common culprits and circumstances that can contribute to health concerns.

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These are small organisms that can cause disease and be found virtually anywhere including your home. There are several types of germs that you might want to consider when it comes to your household.

  • Bacteria: These single-celled creatures thrive on the nutrients in their environments. They can survive and reproduce both inside and outside of your body and might be found on everyday surfaces such as your kitchen sponge, sinks, countertops, doorknobs as well as remotes and phones. Bacteria can cause infections which include pneumonia, urinary tract infection, and even strep throat.

  • Fungi: These multi-celled organisms, plant-like in nature, require food from organic matter in order to survive. This means that they can be feeding off of people, plants or animals in your home. Fungal infections can range from athlete’s foot or ringworm to more serious issues which can affect your respiratory or nervous systems. Areas in the home that are damp and warm can be a breeding ground for this type of germ.

  • Viruses: These organisms require living cells in order to reproduce and grow, and can sometimes survive outside of their hosts for a short period of time. These organisms can be spread through contact with surfaces by contaminated hands or aerosolized particles from sneezing or coughing. Examples of viral infections include the common cold, flu, and chickenpox.

Air Quality

Air quality in your home has the potential to have a big impact on your health. You may want to consider a couple factors that can contribute to possible health issues.

  • Particulates: Airborne irritants in your home can increase your risk of, or exacerbate pre-existing respiratory issues. Examples of air pollutants may include allergens, bacteria, and viruses. Health issues resulting from airborne particulates can include asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, as well as allergic reactions such as rhinitis, hives, and/or shortness of breath.

  • Humidity: Humidity levels in the home might have a pretty big impact on the physical health of both you and your home. High levels of humidity can assist with the growth of fungi, bacteria, and viruses, as well as increase levels of dust mites and other allergens. Humidity may also cause building materials such as wood products and carpets to release chemicals into the air. Higher concentration of these chemical contaminants is due to their reaction to water vapor. Some health issues might include irritation of the eyes, skin and/or throat as well as worsening respiratory issues.


Allergens are objects foreign to your body which can cause allergic reactions. While these may be found in the air, they can also be present on bedding, furniture, flooring, and clothing. Examples of allergens include pet dander, dust mites, mold, and pollen. Symptoms of allergic reactions might include rash, hives, itching, watery or itchy eyes, wheezing, sneezing and even allergic rhinitis. Experiencing these symptoms at night can negatively impact the amount and quality of sleep you get. Lack of restful sleep can lead to fatigue, trouble thinking, weakened immune system, and/or even increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Prevent Health Issues

You can greatly decrease the levels of germs and allergens in your household by committing to a regular cleaning schedule. This should help you reduce the risk of getting sick as well as assist in keeping surfaces family friendly.

A mattress protector may greatly increase your level of comfort when it comes to getting a full night’s rest. Benefits of using a mattress protector can include reducing the development of and contact with allergens such as mold or dust mites. It also has the potential to lower the likelihood of marking or staining your mattress. Using a product like this can protect your investment as well as help ensure an uninterrupted slumber.

Use of appliances such as air purifiers and dehumidifiers can be an effective way of minimizing conditions for growth and high concentrations of airborne irritants and germs. When using an air purifier you may want to make sure it has a HEPA filter. HEPA filters should trap particles and provide you with relief from related symptoms. Dehumidifiers should assist in reducing the conditions that favor the growth of dust mites, fungi, and bacteria.

When it comes to germs, allergens, and air quality implementing these simple steps should lower potential health risks for you and your family, especially this holiday season.

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