Lowes Offers Tips for Healthy Homes

Oct. 7, 2004
Americans spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors. What most homeowners don't realize is that they have more control over their living environment than they think.

As homeowners begin to retreat indoors this fall, Lowe's encourages homeowners to undertake simple home improvements to promote a healthier lifestyle for the entire family.

According to MedicineNet.com, studies show that 95 percent of Americans have difficulty sleeping at some point in their lives. Lack of sleep can lead to serious health problems. To encourage a sound slumber:

  • Keep thermostat between 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. A cool bedroom environment year-round will promote sleep.
  • Use foam earplugs or a fan to suppress intrusive noise. The sound of a fan can be soothing and reassuring.
  • Hang light-blocking window treatments. This shields light and blocks noise. Outdoor light also disrupts sleeping patterns for some people.
  • Install a dimmer switch. Adjustable lighting is a perfect solution for children and others who need light to sleep comfortably.
  • Paint the bedroom blue, violet or green. Cool, soothing colors provide a sense of calm.
  • Avoid using loud and brightly lighted alarm clocks. Place clock out of eyesight, because constantly looking at it can cause anxiety.
  • Refrain from watching television or reading in bed. Bright light from these activities can hinder good sleep. If reading is necessary, use a small wattage light bulb (about 15 watts).
  • Use a humidifier if dry air is a problem. A sore or dry throat and nosebleeds are signs and symptoms of dry-air irritation.
  • Take a hot shower/bath. Jacuzzi baths will help loosen muscles and encourage relaxation before sleep.

According to the Office of Environmental Affairs, indoor air is often two to five times more contaminated than outdoor air. Combat this issue with these easy improvements:

  • Open windows frequently. Let outdoor air circulate throughout the house.
  • Invest in an air purifier. These help trap airborne pollutants and allergens. Look for a compact unit offering High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filtration and quiet operation.
  • Install ventilation fans in bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms. This helps prevent mildew and mold. The rule of thumb is one square foot of vent per 30 square feet of floor space.
  • Grow indoor plants. Spider Plants, Ferns, Dracaenas, English Ivy and Daisies will absorb indoor pollutants, such as carbon monoxide.
  • Use safe paint. Respiratory problems in both children and adults have been related to interior painting. Look for brands that are safe and non-toxic.
  • Check smoke alarms and carbon-monoxide detectors. Test twice a year, in April and October, when clocks are changed for daylight-saving time.

Quick fix-its in the kitchen can encourage healthy eating and living spaces. Below are several recipes to cook up healthy habits in the kitchen:

  • Organize foods in the refrigerator by nutritious and nutrient-challenged. Place wholesome food choices, such as fruits and vegetables, up front and in easy-to-reach places, while keeping sugary and fatty foods, such as desserts, toward the back of the Check the fridge every day or two. Dispose of out-of-date items. Aging food items can cause a serious health risk.
  • Keep cold water readily available. Encourage family members to drink eight glasses of water a day to feel revitalized.
  • Freeze fruits such as bananas, grapes and orange slices. Frozen fruit presents a healthy alternative to ice cream and will satisfy the sweet tooth.
  • Wash kitchen sponges in soap and hot water frequently. Research shows sponges are the greatest source of bacteria in households. Placing them in the microwave on high for a minute or two also will kill germs.
  • Run the garbage disposal at least once a day. This helps eliminate rotting food in the disposal, which can grow mold and bacteria.
About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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