The short days and long nights of winter can be a wonderful time to stay inside and cozy up next to a crackling fireplace with a hot cup of tea and a good book. However, this time of year is also the season when colds hit, asthma attacks get triggered, and your weight can slowly creep up. There are several environmental conditions in your home that can contribute to ill health and there are solutions to remedy them!
When rainfall is more abundant than sunshine, mould can begin to grow throughout your home. It can be found in the corners of showers, under kitchen sinks, in the basement, in your clothes, and even in your car. Mould is not only unsightly and a nuisance, it can also be a health hazard.
Some of the signs and symptoms of a mould sensitivity can include a headache, stuffy nose, throat irritation, and coughing or wheezing. If you or someone in your family is actually allergic to mould, the reaction can be much more severe. People with allergies who are exposed to mould and their spores are prone to serious respiratory infections, which may lead that person to have to take a series of antibiotics to quell the infection. Mould sensitivities and allergies may even cause brain fog, lethargy, and a general sense of malaise.
Mould is quite tenacious and will grow in damp environments quite prolifically. It loves to grow on cardboard, wood products, fabrics, carpets, drywall, and insulation. It especially loves wet places like shower enclosures, and damp dark places under sinks.
The best way to control mould is to have plenty of ventilation in the house. In winter, this can be challenging as the tendency is to close the house tight so cold air does not enter. Adding ventilating fans to the bath and laundry areas can help circulate air. If you experience any water leaks, fix them as soon as possible! Clean the area and place a fan in front of the wet spot so that it can dry quickly. Make sure and fix any leaks in the roof and around windows.
Controlling the humidity levels in your home is vitally important to prevent mould from growing. If humidity levels are over 60%, the mould will begin to flourish. Adding a dehumidifier to damp rooms and keeping the level below 50% will make the mould go inactive. It will not die, but it will not grow either. The best way to kill the mould is with vinegar, or a solution that uses tee tree oil. Mix 2 teaspoons of tea tree oil with 2 cups of water and put into a spray bottle. Always wear a mask when working around mould to prevent inhaling spores.
Sitting by the wood stove can be such a pleasurable experience. The warmth it produces is comforting, while the sight of logs crackling can be dreamy. Wood smoke can have a lovely smell as well – but beware the dangers of inhaling wood smoke!
Wood smoke is actually made up of a complex system of fine particles and gases. Because fine particulate matter is released from wood smoke, these particulates can enter into your respiratory system wrecking havoc on your sinuses, bronchial tract, and even your eyes.
In order to burn firewood properly to avoid inhaling wood smoke in your home, make sure that you have the proper wood-burning appliance for your home. If you have a wood stove, make sure that is well-sealed and burns efficiently and does not leak. If you have a stone or mason type of fireplace, it is advisable to have a good insert installed. Hire a professional to install it so that it fits snug and that the flue fits perfectly to avoid any leaks.
Always make sure that your wood is well-seasoned, usually for two years. Have the firewood sized properly so that it fits into your wood burner to avoid clogging up the system and allowing too much smoke to build up. Keep your firewood very dry as wet wood smokes terribly!
Keep Asthma at Bay
For many asthma sufferers, cold dry air may trigger an attack. If they are suffering from an upper respiratory infection, this may even worsen the attack. There are ways to lessen the chance of triggering an attack in the winter. If the humidity level is too low in your home, from forced air heating or wood heat, asthma attacks may occur. Adding a high-quality humidifier to your home can help control moisture levels.
Avoid sitting by the fireplace, as the smoke can act as an irritant in your respiratory system. Keep filters in the HVAC system well cleaned to avoid having dust blow into the house. If it is really cold outside, it is best to exercise indoors where you can control the temperature and humidity. Head over to your local gym to exercise, or invest in some simple equipment so that you can exercise at home.
Make sure and get plenty of sleep during the winter to recharge your body. Eat clean and drink teas that will keep you nice and toasty – ginger tea is perfect! Keep hydrated and invest in exercise equipment such as an exercise ball, kettle balls, resistance bands, and yoga mats. Take a glass of Isagenix Greens daily to make sure you get plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet!
You can enjoy a healthy winter in your home by controlling moisture levels, preventing nasty mould growth, keeping wood smoke under control, and by eating healthy, staying hydrated, and keeping up on an exercise regime.