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This Winter are You Breathing in Toxins?

With all the cold temperatures we have had lately, you are probably spending lots of time indoors.  We often hear our patients telling us how tired and unmotivated they feel this time of year.  Hibernating is a term that we keep hearing – but what if you were hibernating in an area that is making you sick? We want to talk about the air quality and mold in today’s homes.  Air quality isn’t something we think of often when we consider getting healthy.  If you are often tired, coughing, waking up feeling congested, in bad moods or have trouble losing weight, you might be suffering from poor air quality and toxins in the air. Think about it: since we try to keep everything air tight and to not let cold fresh air come into our homes, air can often get stagnant and poor air can accumulate.  Your body won’t be running optimally if it’s working harder to process more toxins.   According to the Canadian Lung Association, there are a number of cited airborne toxins that contribute to air quality. They can range from household cleaning products, such as air fresheners or perfumes, to volatile organic compounds ( also known as VOCs) and are often found in home improvement products. With heaters running 24/7 in winter to keep us toasty, there’s an increased chance of toxins becoming airborne. Since our windows remain closed, there is poorer ventilation compared to our warmer seasons.   Here are a few suggestions we got from the company Mold Busters:
  1. Bring the outdoors indoors! No, I don’t mean to open up all of your windows during the winter to get the ventilation going. An easy thing you can do is add more indoor plants, especially in rooms that feel stuffy or feel uncomfortable to be in the cold season. They’ll purify your air for a low-cost investment. If you’re someone who’s forgetful of watering your plants (like we are!), you can buy ones that easily retain water. As well, you should look for plants that don’t require too much sunlight or they will suffer in the winter.
  2. Do some winter cleaning. Although “spring cleaning” may be a catchier tagline, winter cleaning may save your lungs. This includes vacuuming and cleaning dusty areas more frequently, and paying close attention to areas like carpets. The cleaning also includes your pets too! They may not be trekking as much dirt in because they’re not outdoors as much, but they still shed fur and dead skin cells year round. These particles definitely impact your air quality.
  3. Freshen up with essential oils. You can use a diffuser or do-it-yourself by adding them in spray bottles some water. They are a win-win as they purify the air without leaving traces of harmful chemicals. Our favourites are tangerine and peppermint. Also, they’re great for de-stressing!
  4. Invest in a humidifier or air purifier. They come in a range of sizes or you can equip entire spaces too! It’s recommended to keep them in your bedroom at night. They’re known to improve quality of sleep and overall breathing in the colder months. You can consult a professional to select the best one for you and your household.
  5. Call an expert to get your air quality tested. They will inform you about the specific issues you’re dealing with in your house and how to best deal with them in the long term.
Getting a house inspected doesn’t need to cost much and it gives you some insight into potential problems – maybe even some of which you weren’t aware.  We have had our home inspected for air quality and mold for just a little over $100. Well worth it in our opinion! If you come to our Oaktree Body seminar this Thursday, January 25th, we will have an expert talking about these ideas in more detail.  Oaktree Body is all about helping you stay strong like an Oaktree. We explore nutrition, movement, and overall health. Please let us know if you plan on attending.  You are welcome to bring a friend too! If you can’t come to our Oaktree Body seminar, you might want to focus on spending more time outside to improve your air quality.  Spending time outside and breathing in fresh air can also help clean up the body.  Whether you are facing cold or mild temperature, you might as well embrace your Canadian roots and get out there! Martin & Dr. Emilie  

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