Melissa Kaplan's
Herp Care Collection
Last updated January 1, 2014

Useful tips for maintaining a healthy home

Health Extra, August 2001, The Cleveland Clinic


Simple modifications to your daily routine may help you keep germs that cause infections, like the cold and flu, and allergens at bay. It is important to notice when and where you first start to feel ill because it may help you and your doctor uncover the cause. By doing these simple things you can make your environment healthier and safer for yourself and your family.

Living areas
Keeping your house clean and free from excess dust, molds and bacteria:

Use a disinfectant to clean commonly touched surfaces, like the telephone and doorknobs.

Keep the windows closed and use air conditioning if you are allergic to pollen. Don't use fans - they stir up dust.

Clean air filters frequently and air ducts at least once a year.

Filter the air; cover air conditioning vents with cheesecloth to filter pollen and use a high efficiency particulate air filter (HEPA) if you have a forced air furnace.

Keep the humidity in your house below 50 percent to prevent mold growth.

Avoid damp areas where molds collect like basements, garages, crawl spaces, barns, compost heaps; clean these areas often. Installing a dehumidifier in inside areas can make a big difference, but be sure to clean it every week.

If you have pets, consider keeping them outside if possible; animal dander and saliva are allergens for many people. Otherwise, do not allow pets in the bedroom and be sure to bathe pets often.

Vacuum twice a week.

When possible, choose hardwood floors instead of carpeting. If you must have carpeting, choose low pile material.

Avoid Venetian blinds or long drapes because they collect dust. Replace old drapes and use window shades instead.

Wash shower curtains and bathroom tiles with mold-killing solutions.

Limit the number of indoor plants you have. Mold sometimes grows on the damp soil.

Use plastic covers for pillows, mattresses and box spring; avoid overstuffed furniture and down-filled bedding or pillows.

Limit throw rugs to reduce dust and mold. If you do have rugs, make sure they are washable.
Wear a mask and gloves when cleaning, vacuuming or painting to limit dust and chemical exposure.

Don't allow smoking in your house.

Clean your kitchen sink and counters with antibacterial solutions after each use. Bacteria left from meats and vegetables can flourish and get on your hands, utensils or other foods you are preparing.

Do not use the same utensils for uncooked food without washing them first.
Wash utensils with warm water and soap after each use, especially when preparing meat.

Air out damp clothes and shoes (in the house) before storing.

Remove laundry from the washing machine promptly; don't leave wet clothes in the washer.

Wash your bedding once a week in hot water.

Don't hang clothes or linens out to dry, as pollen and molds may collect in them and can make your allergies worse.

Check the forecast; stay indoors as much as possible on hot, dry, windy days when pollen counts are generally the highest.

Try to avoid extreme temperature changes, as they are triggers for some people with asthma, but also help incubate germs.

If possible, stay indoors between 5:00 and 10:00 a.m. when outdoor pollen counts are usually highest.

Wear shoes, long pants and sleeves and do not wear scented deodorants, perfumes, shampoos or hair products to protect yourself from insect stings.

Wear a mask and gloves when gardening. While different flowers have allergy-inducing pollens, soil also has molds and fungi.

Avoid raking the leaves or working with hay or mulch if you are allergic to mold.

After being outdoors, take a shower, wash your hair and change your clothes to remove pollen that may have collected in your clothes and hair.

Need to update a veterinary or herp society/rescue listing?

Can't find a vet on my site? Check out these other sites.

Amphibians Conservation Health Lizards Resources
Behavior Crocodilians Herpetology Parent/Teacher Snakes
Captivity Education Humor Pet Trade Societies/Rescues
Chelonians Food/Feeding Invertebrates Plants Using Internet
Clean/Disinfect Green Iguanas & Cyclura Kids Prey Veterinarians
Home About Melissa Kaplan CND Lyme Disease Zoonoses
Help Support This Site   Emergency Preparedness

Brought to you thanks to the good folks at Veterinary Information Network, Inc.

© 1994-2014 Melissa Kaplan or as otherwise noted by other authors of articles on this site