In the New Reality, Cleaning Our Homes Will Be a Social Responsibility

The public concern over health and safety has understandably escalated during the pandemic. And as we spend more time at home, how does this change our behavior? What measures can be taken within our homes to address immediate concerns, and what might be the best long-term response for a safe and healthy lifestyle?

Keeping the coronavirus outside the home

If you want to win a war, you need the right information. And if you want to stop the disease from entering your home, you have to filter out the many misleading or inaccurate sources of information online and on social media.

How does Covid-19 spread? There are two currently accepted modes of transmission: surface contact and respiratory droplets. Aerosol particleshave been proposed and are seeing increased evidence as a likely third mode.

While scientists are still investigating the coronavirus, it's sensible to abide by the standard safety measures at home. Can you be sure that everyone in your household hasn't had contact with someone else who might have been infected? If not, wear face masks when you're in the presence of other people, observe social distancing, and disinfect surfaces and wash hands periodically.

But going above and beyond those protective measures will add further layers of risk management. So you can make the smart move and improve your home ventilation by adding HEPA filters, for instance. Or make a point of staying no longer than 15 minutes in an indoor space; hang out on the patio or in the garden more often. And look to entertain any visitors you might have in those outdoor spaces.

You can also plan for contingencies, such as when someone in your household exhibits symptoms of illness. Is there a room where they can self-isolate until the symptoms fade? Ensure that this designated area has a separate ventilation system to avoid spreading disease throughout the home.

Fending off sick building syndrome

Getting some sunshine, spending time with natural elements around you, and merely stretching your muscles now and then; those aren't inconvenient adjustments to make to your behavior. They are a great way to improve health and well-being.

Way before the pandemic, modern offices have gradually evolved to incorporate more of these practices. They have come to recognize that the phenomenon of 'sick building syndrome' (SBS) is real. And it negatively affects the performance of their workers. Thus, you're more likely to see offices with green spaces, letting in more natural light, and encouraging employees to use the stairs or take walks outside during their breaks.

But SBS isn't restricted to commercial buildings or office spaces. Our homes can acquire several of the factors that have been linked to SBS. As we work remotely and turn to the internet for everything from food delivery to kitchen appliance stores, we also need to ensure that our indoor environment is safe.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are frequently cited as a cause of SBS. So are biological irritants from the presence of vermin and mold. Sufficient ventilation again plays a role here, removing excess moisture and filtering out airborne particles. By minimizing the use of chemicals and keeping your home clean, you can reduce the risk of feeling unwell due to spending more time at home.

Cleaning as a lifestyle commitment

Even when we've managed to put the pandemic behind us, these practices should remain a part of our home maintenance routines. Experts believe that the coronavirus might eventually become endemic. When a vaccine becomes available, it might not be as threatening, but we could see it join the ranks of the flu and other viruses that have sporadic winter outbreaks.

Making your home cleaner, in general, is a practice that will benefit not only your personal well-being but also the health of everyone in your household. And by extension, it will improve the overall level of health and safety within your community.

Moving forward, we need to accept and embrace cleaning as a form of social responsibility. For instance, decluttering isn't just a lifestyle trend. Clearing out unnecessary stuff each day makes your cleaning job easier, and your home less conducive to harboring disease-spreading pests.

Every time you skip your cleaning routine, the house accumulates more dirt. The mess tends to pile up. Germs are more likely to spread around in the air indoors. When you stop and consider the consequences for everybody, it's not optional. Just like good values and manners, health and cleanliness have to start with regular practice at home.

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