Find a Doctor
10 Household Activities That Can Make You Sick

10 Household Activities That Can Make You Sick


Ever wonder why you feel under the weather so often? Maybe you haven’t even done anything outdoors in a while, yet you still feel sick and allergy-ridden? It may surprise you to know that it could be factors inside your house, not out, that are causing you to sniffle and cough all day long. Luckily, you can eliminate most of this risk by making a few changes in your daily habits.

1) Not checking the expiration date on food

Eating expired food is a very common way to get sick in any number of ways. If you think you can chance and eat the expired can of salsa in the fridge, you may want to think again. Food poisoning is a common outcome of eating certain kinds of expired foods. Other illnesses include nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. If it’s past the date, don't risk it - just buy a new one.

2) Not vacuuming/shampooing your carpet

Carpets are an amazing trap for dirt, dust, and other allergens that, when left untreated, can cause your sinuses to flare! A simple vacuuming removes over 80 percent of the dirt trapped in a carpet. To go the extra mile, health professionals recommend getting the carpet shampooed once every six months or so to keep it as sanitary as possible. Don't want to spend the big bucks for a carpet cleaner? No problem! Most towns have shops where you can cheaply rent one for a few days a time.

3) Not cleaning your air conditioner

The inside of an air conditioner is a common breeding ground for many different kinds of mold. Because of the air conditioner’s moist ducts and generally warm environment, mold has a very easy time growing and sprouting inside the unit. As soon as you turn it on, mold and mold spores (both powerful allergens) can fly out of the ducts and circulate all throughout the house. To avoid allowing your entire house to be overrun by mold, simply make en effort to clean your air conditioners once a week during high-use seasons.

4) Leaving dirty dishes out for too long

Leaving dirty dishes in the sink for a few days is something we have all been guilty of, but even this lazy habit can introduce germs to the sink and surrounding countertops. The next time you throw a snack down on that countertop, you might be getting ready to eat a mouthful of harmful bacteria. Taking the time to wash the dishes as soon as you are done eating will help to ensure a more sanitary kitchen.

5) Not washing your dog

Sometimes giving a dog a bath can be a very long and difficult process, especially in the case that your dog hates water. If you allow your dog to roam around the yard and then come inside, you are just asking for ticks, germs, dirt, fleas, and lots of other parasites and allergens all to be tracked in by your best buddy! Although bathing your dog may seem like an arduous task, inside dogs need a good, thorough bath at least once a month while all dogs that spend part of their time outdoors require at least one every two weeks.

6) Letting heaps of dirty clothes sit around for days or weeks

Not only does it make your room smell like a gym locker, leaving dirty clothes out for days on end contributes to the overall bacteria in the air. This can lead to the common cold, allergic reactions, and more. As long as you wash your clothes often and don’t let piles of dirty clothes accumulate, this should not be a problem for you. Just make sure any roommates and siblings you’re living with follow suit!

7) Using cold water to wash your dishes

Contrary to popular belief, hot water is essential to washing your dishes properly. Hot water actually kills the bacteria on the dishes, while cold water simply removes the visible grime but leaves the harmful germs behind. Every time you wash your dishes, use soap and hot water to make sure that the next person who eats with them will remain healthy.

8) Not dusting hardwood floors

If you live in a home with hardwood floors and don’t regularly dust, take a peek under the sofa, bed, dresser, or TV stand. What you will likely find are large gatherings of dust that have been there since the furniture was moved in! Large accumulations of dust are among the most common causes of allergies and allergy-related colds found in homes. A simple dust job once every other week will keep the floors shiny and clean, and keep your sinuses healthy and clear.

9) Not changing the frog’s / turtle’s / fish’s water

Any time you have an aquatic environment set up in your home, you are breeding new bacteria that live in the warm, tropical environment you have created. Frogs and turtles are known to spread salmonella bacteria, which leads to salmonella poisoning in humans. Fish tanks are home to many germs and bacteria that will eventually contribute to the bacteria level in the air of the room. Depending on how big the tank is and how good your filters are, you may want to do twice-monthly water changes on the tanks of whatever aquatic animals you have just to be on the safe side.

10) Not changing your bed sheets often enough

Believe it or not, experts recommend changing your bed sheets once a week. Most of us let it go much longer than that, which is actually a big contributor to acne and allergy-related colds. Bed mites will also begin to gather in old, unchanged bed sheets. The best way to protect yourself is to get into the habit of changing your bed sheets as often as possible.

Want More Information?

Contact a Doctor Near You.