We hear the warnings every winter as cold and flu season approaches. Don’t touch doorknobs. Wash your hands frequently. If you can’t access soap and water, carry around hand sanitizer. Don’t go to work if you’re sick, because then you’ll just get everyone else sick.
But catching the flu from a sick child in a coffee shop isn’t the only way to get sick. There are also some more under-the-radar ways to get sick that a lot of people don’t spend much time thinking about.
Yup, your house or apartment can make you sick, and we’re not referring to the old shag carpeting the previous tenants installed on the garage walls. Dust and allergens can build up in your house and turn you into a sneezy, sniffly mess, especially if you’re already prone to seasonal allergies (it counts as seasonal if you get them all four seasons, probably). You can fight back by vacuuming your carpets regularly, and by mopping and sweeping hardwood floors. If you use a window unit air conditioner, make sure to replace or clean the filter regularly, since you don’t want the nasty stuff that builds up in your filter to be dispersed into the air in your house.
Another, more serious problem comes in the form of mold that can invade houses, then spread like a virus. Know the warning signs of mold, and be ready to attack it if you see it. In addition to giving you a sore throat and making you sneeze, mold can also give you a rash that subsides when you’re out of the house. If your symptoms get better when you’re travelling, and if you’re doing all you can to keep the house clean and dust-free, you may have a mold issue. You can look up information on remediating the mold yourself, or you can call in mold removal experts.
Your mental health
This is a more indirect cause, but it’s still worth paying attention to. In the year 2017, just reading the newspaper or watching the evening news can make people queasy and anxious. Smartphones put all the world’s news right at our fingertips, which means people who can’t sleep can spend the night looking up all the ways in which we might end up in a nuclear war. That, in turn, makes it even harder to sleep. If you’re anxious and tired, your body’s immune system is weakened, which makes it easier for viruses to take hold and wreak havoc.
There’s no doubt that a lot of people feel like America is on the wrong track, but it may help to try and do something about it rather than just worry passively. Go to town hall meetings held by your local representatives in Congress. Go to marches, rallies, or other community events. And put down the phone after a certain hour. Read a book and get lost in another world instead of getting bogged down in ours.
Make sure to see your doctor regularly as well. If you’re on Medicare but find that it doesn’t cover as much as you would like, look into supplemental Medicare plans that will give you more peace of mind. In times like these, a little more security is worth a few extra dollars.