As temperatures rise and daylight stretches into evening, many of us want to open the windows and let fresh air in as we clean the house from top to bottom. After the year we've all just had, that urge is stronger than ever!
While you are scrubbing floors and washing linens, make time for some health-related spring cleaning tasks too. Check out our to-do list in the video above and find out more in the details below.
Clean and Disinfect Your Home
Spring cleaning doesn't just feel good, it offers measurable health benefits. The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology has found that spring cleaning can remove significant allergens from the home environment, such as pet dander, dust and mold.
Follow these tips to clean safely:
- If you are using commercial cleaners, wear gloves and work in well-ventilated areas
- Keep your face covered when changing air filters and cleaning moldy areas
- Enlist help to move heavy furniture
To prevent the spread of COVID-19 (and other viruses and bacteria), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers guidelines for cleaning your home. Put on disposable gloves to protect your skin, open the windows for ventilation, and get started:
- Clean high-touch surfaces with soap and water. These include tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, cabinet pulls, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, bathroom fixtures, remote controls, etc.
- Disinfect nonporous surfaces using household disinfectants, diluted bleach solutions or 70 percent alcohol solutions.
- Clean and disinfect soft surfaces like rugs and curtains with soap and water followed by household disinfectants.
Visit the CDC website for more additional guidance for arranging and cleaning your home when someone there is sick.
Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet
Now is a great time to dispose of any prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and dietary supplements that have expired or that you or your family members no longer take.
Box them up and bring them to a drug-take-back day event, or follow the guidance from Virginia’s attorney general for home disposal:
- Crush and dissolve medications with water and add coffee grounds or kitty litter to prevent children or pets from ingesting them.
- Place the mixture in a sealed container and throw in the trash.
- Remove identifying information from packaging before placing in the trash or recycling bin.
As part of keeping your medicine cabinet current, check your first-aid kit and make sure it still contains everything you might need in case of an emergency.
Keep in mind that Carilion Clinic Pharmacy offers a free mail-order service for any maintenance medications you need, as well as being able to refill them 30 days early. Call 540-853-0905 for assistance—our team can transfer your prescriptions for you if you use another pharmacy.
Clean Out Your Refrigerator
That fuzzy science experiment in the back of the fridge needs to go! Throw out anything that has begun to rot or smell, and scrub each drawer and surface with warm, soapy water.
To restock, bring home a variety of fresh, healthy foods along with the shelf-stable staples you're picking up at the grocery store.
When you get home, wash your hands, disinfect the surfaces you touched along the way, and wash your fruits and vegetables with soap and water before putting them away.
Hint: Instead of hiding vegetables away in the crisper drawer, after you wash them, chop them into snack-sized pieces and store them in clear containers where you are more likely to see them—and snack on them.
Refresh Your Resolutions
Spring is typically a great time to assess your goals, your progress and your strategies for reaching them.
Michael Gallant, clinical programs manager at Carilion Wellness, offers tips for:
- Refreshing your exercise goals
- Boosting your nutrition
- Getting enough rest to recover from your efforts
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