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How cold Indoor Temperatures Can Harm Your Health

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Baby it’s cold inside! When winter comes along, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends indoor temperatures of at least 64 degrees F, and raises that to 70 degrees for households which include infants, elderly members, or frail individuals. Whether due to inadequate insulation or an inefficient heating system, an underheated home feels chilly and unwelcoming. Even worse, cold temperatures inside can have a decidedly negative effect on your health.

How cold Indoor Temperatures Can Harm Your Health

Respiratory Problems:

It’s a simple equation. Cold interior home temperatures plus an accumulation of moisture equals condensation, which in turn can lead to mold. Mold inhalation is bad, bad news for a whole host of respiratory problems such as allergic rhinitis, asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis. Indoor moisture problems are made even worse by the efficient sealing of modern homes, coupled with poor ventilation.

Respiratory Problems

Minimize their effect by installing extractor fans in your bathrooms and kitchen that vent to the outdoors, rather than just recirculating humid air. Schedule regular maintenance for your HVAC system to ensure that it is working optimally and is free of mold. If you see (or smell) moldy, damp, or musty patches on your walls or floors, clean them up promptly and take care of the underlying source.

Vulnerability to Colds and Flu:

Vulnerability to Colds and Flu

Yes, it’s true. Being cold at home or work does seem to increase your vulnerability to catching colds and flu. What is the reason? According to a 2009 study at New York’s Mount Sinai Medical School, cold makes it harder for you to get rid of viruses wafted in your direction. The explanation is that normally, mucus flows into the upper respiratory tract to clean out contaminants you’ve just inhaled. Unfortunately, the viscosity of this mucus increases with lower temperatures, impairing its effectiveness in combating airborne viruses.

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