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Healthy You

Your House Needs a Checkup Too

Monday, November 12, 2018 6:56 AM

Most people have an annual checkup with their physicians in order to stay healthy. But did you know that your home could use a checkup each year to keep you and your family healthier and safer.


Adam Cohen-Lewe, MD, at NorthShore weighs in on checkup items for every household:

Clean the Medicine Cabinet. Getting rid of old medicine can help clear clutter while also keeping someone from taking expired medicine or accidentally ingesting the medicine. Many cities offer drug take-back programs which will allow you to properly dispose of unwanted meds. If your city doesn’t offer these types of services, try and mix the pills with an unpalatable substance such as kitty litter in a Ziploc bag and dispose of it that way.

Check Smoke Detectors. Checking your smoke detector once every six months will make sure that batteries are still working while also allowing to see if the smoke detector is getting old and may need to be replaced. Replacing a smoke detector once every ten years is recommended for best results. This same practice can also be applied to carbon monoxide detectors.

Inspect Fire Extinguisher. A fire extinguisher is a necessity in the home and checking the gauge pressure and expiration date every six months will make sure it is in proper condition to be used in case of an emergency.

Replenish First Aid Kit. Checking up on the first aid kit will help refill items such as adhesive bandages, antiseptic sprays, and sterile gloves. Making sure all of these items are in the first aid kit will help if accidents happen around the house.

Clear Out Pantry. Cleaning out and removing out-of-date food will ensure no one in the household eats anything that is expired. Check dates of canned goods as well as everyday snacks to make sure they are up to date.

Clean Fan and Change Direction. During house cleaning the fan is often lightly cleaned or totally forgotten. Cleaning excess dust off the fan will help those with allergies in the household. During the summer, switch the fan to a counterclockwise direction and at a higher speed in to help keep the room cool. For winter months, turn the fan back to a slower clockwise direction to help keep warm air in the room.

Change Filters. The filters on your furnace should be changed once every three months to keep energy bills low and the furnace working properly.

Test for Radon. Radon is a radioactive chemical that can build up in lower levels of houses. It is linked to cancer, so testing your home for radon is a smart idea.