Many people choose to clean their home in spring.
It is a great way to give the home a fresh start and gain a sense of accomplishment.
However, spring cleaning can be harmful to health for people with asthma or other chronic lung conditions.
Some cleaning supplies may have dangerous chemicals that can harm the nose, throat, eyes, and lungs.
Dr. Timothy Craig, an allergist, and immunologist at Penn State Health suggests people be careful when they use fresheners, rug cleaners, chlorine bleach, oven cleaners, and floor polish.
For most people, using chemical cleaners once a while would not strongly reduce lung functions.
But repeated exposure to harmful chemicals could cause disability later in life, especially for people with asthma, COPD or some genetic diseases.
He gives several tips to do spring cleaning safely:
Don’t combine chemical cleaners. People should never mix ammonia and bleach.
Create proper ventilation. For example, people need to open a window or door — or run a fan — while cleaning.
Wear rubber gloves. Rubber gloves can help reduce risks of developing redness or rashes on hands.
Use old-fashioned cleaners. For example, people can use warm water, baking soda, a washcloth, and some old-fashioned elbow grease.
Read labels. People need to look for volatile organic compounds and other potential irritants, even in products labeled as “green” or “healthy.”
Look for the “Safer Choice” logo. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the label means the product is safer for human health and the environment.
If people experience coughing, wheezing, throat soreness or eye-watering while using chemical cleaners, they should stop and get fresh air.
If the symptoms stay for a long time, they need to see a doctor.
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