Household Chores to Skip With CF
Dust, fumes, mold, and bacteria, oh my! Our homes are filled with many irritants that can be harmful to our respiratory systems. However, those same irritants do need to be cleaned and removed to help keep us healthy in our homes in the long run. With CF, there may be more risk and negative effects when dealing with these environmental irritants.1
So what can we do about it? It’s a good idea to pass these particular chores to your partner or someone willing to help you out. Consider this your free pass to get out of some household chores. (Just kidding, or am I?) If you can’t pass the responsibility, consider taking additional safety precautions when doing these particular chores.
Household chores to reconsider
Cleaning out HVAC
HVAC systems serve as an important filter to clean the air in our homes. However, they can also be a hotspot for dirt, dust, and bacteria without regular maintenance and cleaning. I would assume most people, like me, have no idea how to even clean an entire HVAC system. It’s best to leave it to the professionals like a local HVAC company to ensure your HVAC systems are keeping your air as clean as possible. This is a perfect chore to outsource as a means to making your home as healthy and safe.
Scrubbing tubs and sinks
One particular place the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa loves to grow is in wet environments like shower heads, tubs, and sink drains.2 When we scrub these areas and release the bacteria into the water and air, there is a risk of inhaling the bacteria which is especially dangerous with CF. It’s best to avoid the risk full stop when it comes to Pseudomonas a. and have another member take over this chore. This is an important matter of protecting your lung health.
Mulching yards and raking leaves
Many people with CF enjoy doing outdoor chores like gardening and yard care. While I personally believe you need to weigh the risk versus benefit in this situation, outsourcing certain outdoor chores is still a good idea. Especially, any activity where you are disrupting moist soil, leaves or mulch where bacteria and mold can grow. Remember to mask up, wash your hands and tools, and avoid heavily moist soil as a way to ensure safety while completing outdoor chores.
Once again, dusting fans or other surfaces, especially after a long winter, can release a lot of particles into the air. With the help of dust, dirt, and animal hair, bacteria can travel and trigger an inflammatory response in the lungs and sinuses.1 You might cough, wheeze, or feel short of breath or develop a sinus infection after being around dust.2 One simple way of protecting your lungs is to wear a filtration mask such as an N95 when dusting fans.
Using heavily fumed cleaners
Many household cleaning products are heavily scented or contain harmful chemicals.4 Scented cleaning products can be very irritating or even harmful for people with lung disease.4 Always try to opt for fragrance-free cleaning products to reduce the risk of the products making you sick. If it’s not possible to use safer products, recruit help or make sure the room is well ventilated when using them.
Are there certain household chores you choose not to do? What kinds of solutions have you used? Tell us about them!
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