Keeping your home clean and tidy is essential no matter your health status, but it is even more crucial if you or a family member are immunocompromised or sensitive to certain allergens. If you are asthmatic, allergic to certain household contaminants orâ€”more seriouslyâ€”you have cancer, are a bone marrow patient or have primary immunodeficiency (PID), then making sure your home is sanitary should be your number one priority. There are a number of ways to keep your house (and therefore yourself) healthy, but here are a few important tips to get you started.
1. Install a Filtration System
Air purifiers or filtration units are often used in laboratories and clean rooms, but smaller units can also be purchased for the home too. The best air filtration systems are those that meet the HEPA standard, and can be a lifesaver for those affected by airborne particles of dust, mold spores and other allergens. For those with long-lasting immunodeficiency, especially those with PID, having a filtration system build into your home (as opposed to freestanding units) might be a good idea. Filtration systems do have downsides: they can be noisy, require cleaning and emit ozone. Overall however, they are an important investment for anyone who truly values clean air.
2. Always Buy â€˜Hypoallergenic'
Bed linens and other fabrics are often problem points for those with allergies, so always try to buy hypoallergenic duvets, pillows, coverlets and other linens. In addition, regularly change and wash your linens, and always make sure they are 100% dry before putting them back on your bed. Quality often counts, so make sure that the items you buy truly are certified to be hypoallergenic and are not just using the label to heighten the price.
3. Install a Radon Mitigation System
If vapors are a problem on your property, then the EPA recommends installing a radon mitigation system into your basement or foundations. A radon mitigation system will filter out any harmful chemicals seeping into your building through vapor intrusion, and has the added benefit of also reducing radon levels in your household. Radon is thought to be the second most common cause of lung cancer after smoking, and therefore ridding your home of harmful radon as well as chemical vapors is always a plus. If you are worried about vapor intrusion, then check out local environmental data resources and see if a radon mitigation system might be a good choice for you.
4. Ditch Carpets and Heavy Fabrics
If allergens are a problem for you, or you suffer from asthma, then the easiest thing to do to help your condition is to rip up your carpets. As fuzzy and warm as they may be, carpets and heavy linens like drapes are the perfect environment for dust, mold and bacteria. Hard floors are much easier to clean and therefore are also generally a lot more hygienic. If you cannot live without carpets or rugs, try ensure they are low-pile and clean them as regularly as you can.
5. Reconsider Your Pets
It might be heartbreaking to hear, but sadly pets can be a serious problem when it comes to keeping your home hygienic and hypoallergenic. Firstly, many people are actually allergic to their beloved pets without even realising it, so your pet could be the source of your allergen problems. Secondly, if you are immunocompromised, then most pets other than cats or dogs should not be allowed in your house in the first place. Even then, your doctor may recommend you find an alternative home for any cats or dogs on your property while you remain immunocompromised. If your pets are allowed to remain, then it is important that you do not handle any excrement, that you wash your hands after touching your pets and that you declaw your pets if possible.
All in all, these are just some of the things you can do to make your home as healthy as it can be. If in doubt, always check with your doctor to seek their opinion on what you should embrace in your home and what you should avoid. That way, you can maximise your chances of getting and staying healthy.