Healthy U: Preventing illnesses from pathogens inside your home

Health

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – When most of us think about winter illnesses, we think of things like the flu, pneumonia and strep.

With so many of us staying at home for long periods of time these days, it’s time to pay attention to what’s already inside our houses and the air we breathe.

They’re not visible to the naked eye, but living in your carpets and walls, the ceilings and the window frames – are pathogens like mold and dust.

“There’s such a thing as ‘Sick Home Syndrome’ – is what we call it and if you have mold and dust and things built up in your home, it will cause you to be sick year-round,” says Anthony Lewis, Bactronix Marketing Coordinator.

But it’s especially a problem during the winter.

When we seal up our homes to save on our heating bills we also seal in allergens and microorganisms that can make us feel under the weather.

“So obviously there’s no airflow, the air’s not moving through your home, every window is open, and even during the summer when you have your doors shut, the air can be polluted with mold and that type of thing, so the important thing to do is keep your ducts clean,” remarks Lewis.

Those are the ducts for your heating and cooling system.

We tend to forget about them but replacing the furnace and AC filters can make a world of a difference for the air quality in your home.

You might also do a quick mold inspection in damp areas like your basement and bathrooms.

“It evens goes further back, if you have issues with your gutters – if the gutters aren’t running correctly off your house, they’re going into the foundation of your home and into your basement so it just continues,” said Lewis.

And when it comes to disinfecting your home, mixing harsh chemicals can do more harm than good.

“A lot of times people think the best way to kill things is with bleach and peroxide and harsh chemicals and really all you’re doing is making your plants, your kids, your animals sick and putting them in danger,” says Lewis.

When using cleaners, make sure to let it sit and soak on surfaces before wiping them down to kill any bacteria or viruses.

Your pets can bring in several diseases!

According to UC-Davis, here are some of the most common infectious diseases from pets and how to reduce your risk of being infected:

  1. Roundworm: Not actually a roundworm, it’s a disease caused by a fungal infection with the top layer of the skin. To reduce your risk, avoid direct contact with the infected animal or person until the ringworm is gone.
  2. Salmonella: While this infection is most often a result of contaminated food, it can also be spread through feces. To reduce your risk, wash your hands with soap and water after contact with animal feces.
  3. Lyme Disease: This is a bacteria transmitted through ticks. Reduce your risk by covering your arms and legs when hiking in natural areas and use a veterinary-approved tick preventative on your pet.

If your pets contract COVID-19, you have many options. Check out this list of the CDC’s recommendations.

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