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It can be difficult to CALM the nervous system and immune system (and achieve optimal symptom relief) without reducing your exposure to environmental triggers like
CIRS – Mold illness : Mold and fungi
Allergies – food allergens, environmental – mold, dust mites, pollens other as applicable
Lost (sensory overload) – smells, light, temperature, noise, touch, clutter, other sensory
MCS -pseudo allergies – everyday chemicals – environment, products and foods (e.g. salicylates, amines/histamine other, glutamate
A good place to start is at home. Creating a healthy home with good air quality can provide symptom relief – often very significant. However before doing this it is a good idea to take and exposure history and discuss it with your doctor. It will help you identify any very high exposures to environmental triggers that need to be addressed immediately.
Resources for creating a healthy home with good air quality include:-
Some Tips for creating a healthy home include:
Keep relative humidity in the home at 30-50%. Too much moisture will give food sources to mold, dust mites and bugs. Too little can dry out nasal passages making you more susceptible to cold viruses.
Test your home for mold. You may see mold or it may be in the walls where it is not visible. You can use a professional DIY kit or hire an indoor air quality professional, or do an ERMI test, (recommended for anyone diagnosed with CIRS). Molds release proteins, MVOC’s and mycotoxins into your environment which can have many undesired health impacts, particularly in those who are poor detoxifiers of mycotoxins (about 1 in 4 of us!)
Remove mold. If you smell something musty/moldy or see a large amount of mold in your home call a certified professional to deal with the problem immediately. If building is water damaged or you are very sensitive to mold, leave. Find a healthier home to live in. For mold remediation tips you can do for smaller problems read Dr Jills Mold Guide and resources shared at EPA.gov.
Take off shoes upon entering your home. Toxic bacteria, like Enterobacter found in soil and E. coli excreted from most mammals, are plentiful outside and can cause health issues, especially in immune-compromised people or the elderly. These bacteria can enter the home through shoes and pests that go outdoors. Shoes also bring in pesticides, herbicides, mold toxins and chemicals
Reduce odors and fragrances in the home, too much aroma – natural or not – puts stress on your lungs and respiratory system.Just because something is green does not make it healthy. Natural items like wood, pine, citrus, lavender, essential oils, perfume can produce VOC’s or chemicals in your environment. Too much of these natural sources may produce negative effectson the body and lungs as a synthetic chemical.
Vaccum homes at least twice a week. If there are a lot of occupants in your home vaccuum more frequently. Make sure to use a vacuum with a certified HEPA filter and a sealed system.
If possible have a non attached garage, if not possible consider sealing the internal entry. Do not to store items like gasoline, lawn equipment and automotive products in a garage that is attached to your home. These products contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that can migrate into your home and contaminate your indoor air quality, causing serious health effects. A ventilation system or fan in your garage is the best to remove carbon monoxide and other air pollutants from attached garages and automobiles.
Keep pets outside (or at least off sleeping areas and couches). Pets can be sources of allergens, mold and chemicals! Wash clothing at a temperature above 60/C – 140F or to properly remove dust mites, molds, pet proteins and more.
Refrain from using pesticides around the home. Occupants exposed to pesticide are at higher risk of develop neurologic disease than those who are not. . If you have bug infestations, remember bugs are drawn to water and food sources. Reduce moisture sources in the home and make sure to keep all foods sealed and do not have crumbs or food droppings in your residence. When pests do present use simple manual integrated pest management (IPM) strategies (as discussed at the EPA). Most pest can be removed manually or with non toxic methods like those discussed at Beyond Pesticides, EPA.gov and Oregan Metro.
If you have a Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system with ducts, you must have them cleaned every 5 years (more frequently if very hypersensitive to environmental pollutants!). Proteins from pets, construction dust and dander get trapped in the system. Also, ask your heating and air conditioning contractor if you have insulation inside your duct work. HVAC systems with insulation inside ducts have been known to cause occupants allergies inside the home. Insulation should be wrapped around the outside of the duct.
Choose unscented, and sensitive-low irritant or free and clear, laundy detergents and do not use fabric softener. Fabric softeners are designed to stay in your clothes. They increase your exposure to chemical gases (VOCS) and irritants. Studies show that most fabric softeners do not perform better than “soft water”. If you water is hard add vinegar, bicarb (baking soda) or epsom salts to your was load. Scented laundry products emit chemicals like acetaldehyde and benzene. Studies show that captured gases from dryer vents where occupants used scented laundry detergent contained carcinogens.
When you live in a home environment for a long time, you can develop olfactory fatigue. That is the inability to smell what is around you. Have a friend or neighbor come into your house to see if they smell mildew, pet odors, chemicals, natural gas or scents that you may no longer be detecting.
Have furnaces, hot water heaters, and appliances serviced every
year. If your furnace is not burning correctly, it may cause a very dangerous carbon monoxide problem. Check your furnace filters once a month and replace if dirty. Flu pipes must be maintained and checked to make sure they are exhausting gases properly and are not blocked by animals, debris or malfunctioning equipment.
If you need a humidifier, make sure it is very clean or purchase a new humidifier wth “flow through technology ” that does not hold water. Try using portable dehumidifiers that can be cleaned and have UV light to help reduce bacteria and mold. Older humidifiers in your home heating system that have standing water or a reservoir-type system can lead to bacterial growth, potentially growing Legionella that can cause Legionnaires disease.