If we’re spending most of our time at home, we need to make sure that it can protect us from all kinds of illnesses, not just COVID-19. Experts have been warning Americans for months that we are facing one of the worst winters we’ve ever had in recent years, and now more than ever, we need to make sure that we are healthy and that we’re doing everything we can in our power to protect ourselves from infection. If you’re physical-distancing, wearing a mask outside, and washing your hands thoroughly, you’re already doing half the work.
Unfortunately, having allergies can show the same symptoms as COVID-19 and other flu viruses. To protect our health and our sanity, we need to make sure that our homes are allergy-proof this season. Here are some ways to make sure you’re breathing clean and pure air in your home these coming winter months.
Do a deep cleaning session.
More than just a regular dust-up, you need to make sure your home is properly disinfected and sanitized. You can consider hiring cleaning experts and professionals to take care of this, but if you’re doing this yourself, here are some things to consider before you start:
- Clear the clutter. Get rid of items that you never use and are just gathering dust in your home.
- Make a schedule of when you’re cleaning which room. You need to have a game plan and a strategy so that you’re not overwhelmed by the task.
- Make sure you have the necessary tools (regular broom, yard broom, dustpan, brush with stiff bristles, dusting cloths, gloves, lint roller, mop, pole for hard-to-reach and high areas, and sponges), ingredients (baking soda, white vinegar, and organic multi-purpose cleaners), and equipment (garden hose for some yard work, window and glass cleaner, and vacuum cleaners and accessories).
It’s important to have a game plan and all the necessary tools and equipment before starting, lest you wage war against dust and dirt without a strategy and weapons. After deep-cleaning your home, make sure you dust up regularly during the winter months.
Inspect and maintain your HVAC system.
If not properly maintained, your HVAC system (the filters, in particular) can gather dust, dirt, and soot over time, negatively affecting your home’s indoor air quality. Regularly cleaning and changing the filters in your home’s HVAC system is a must. However, before winter comes, don’t just clean your filters; change them to prevent your HVAC system from gathering and trapping airborne allergens and dangerous particles that may cause you and your family to get sick.
You might want to change your furnace filters in particular, especially if you’re using your heating unit throughout the cold season, to help keep particles like pet dander, dust mite feces, mold, and other allergens from circulating through the air. Change the filters as often as you can throughout the winter months.
Invest in a top-of-the-line purifier.
While the air filters in our HVAC systems work to stop dirt, dust, and other impurities from infiltrating your system from the outside and being blown into the rooms of your home, they’re not always enough. A simple filter doesn’t defend your home from mold spores, viruses, pollen, bacteria, and other living organisms. These microscopic contaminants are often the reasons we get allergies, the symptoms of which can last for weeks and even months.
In the time of COVID-19, these are allergens that we need to do away with completely. Consider having a top-of-the-line UV air purifier installed in your home. It can help kill these living organisms almost instantly while also getting rid of harmful irritants like odors, smoke, and VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
Avoid chemical cleaners.
If you’re cleaning your own home, make sure to avoid using chemical-based cleaners. Cutting down on the chemical-based products in your home can help improve its indoor air quality. Opt for more organic or plant-based ones, like those approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or those that make use of more eco-friendly ingredients. Even a DIY concoction of baking soda and vinegar can go a long way in cleaning the surfaces of your home.
Not Just For You
Doing everything you can to stay healthy is not just for you and your family; it’s also for our front line healthcare workers and everyone who works in hospitals, to make sure that we are not overwhelming them with so many people to care for this coming winter. Let it be a holiday gift for everyone working hard to fight this pandemic—and to yourself, for knowing that you did your part in helping lift the burden off of the medical community.