Surviving the Dangers of Domestic Life in a COVID World
By Martha Michael
If you’re a typical American, your pre-pandemic week looked a little like this: Dropping your kids at school, working about 44 hours plus four more hours on the road, catching some TV sports on weekends, and doing a little housework. But once the stay-at-home orders were put in place, your life acquired a pace of a different proportion.
While some changes to your routine may have had a positive effect on your health, others may have increased your chance of illness or injury. If you’re a less active individual whose daughters began dragging you into twice-daily fitness workouts or if you’re suddenly tackling home improvement projects that are better left for the pros, you may regret it in the long run. Take stock of any drastic changes in your lifestyle to be sure you aren’t opening yourself up to harm.
Home Sweat Home
If your coronavirus housemates are hardcore fitness fanatics, you could be one of the many adults who hasn’t stopped perspiring since the middle of March. Many popular gyms started streaming fitness classes for free as a service to Americans who became housebound when the coronavirus outbreak began. CBS News posted an article about the surprising number of companies that offered free online fitness in the first few months of the shelter-in-place period, with options to continue following the no-cost introduction.
Orangetheory set up half-hour workouts with their most popular coaches to help alleviate stress. Gold’s Gym offered more than 600 audio and video workouts for free. Planet Fitness used Facebook to stream “Work-Ins” every evening, where trainers and occasional celebrity guests led 20-minute workouts for free. And bike or no bike, new users of the Peloton app got to download cardio and strength training exercises for free.
If you haven’t connected the dots between the rapid and exaggerated jump from couch potato to champion bodybuilder and the onslaught of your increasingly sore joints or back problems, consider the possibility of a connection. Check with your chiropractor to get an assessment. You may be advised to step away from the extreme exercise for a while but the earlier you get it treated the sooner you can get back on the mat.
The more time you spend at home, the better the chance you’ll spot a spate of leaky faucets, flooring flaws, and deteriorating paint jobs. It’s the likeliest reason why hardware stores, home centers, and building materials suppliers saw a year-over-year increase of 22.6 percent during the last six months, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. An article by Business Wire says that 57 percent of homeowners began home improvement projects in the first three months of the pandemic.
But inexperienced homeowners who launch a full-blown remodeling project are setting themselves up for a number of possible dangers. An article by Realtor.com says you’re better off letting a contractor do the heavy lifting when it involves electrical work, mold, or paint fumes. Injuries from remodeling can occur due to mishaps or exposure to chemicals such as lead-based paint.
Inhaling fumes from volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, is hazardous to your lungs. They are gases found in carpeting, some paint products, and upholstering materials.
When flooding affects gas or electrical lines it’s a recipe for disaster. If you insist on a DIY project, call 811 to reach a service operator who can inform you about the location of underground utility lines.
Even your hearing can take a hit because power tools are loud. “Noise damage is cumulative and presents with a delayed reaction,” says Bryan Pollard, president of Hyperacusis Research, a Hearing Health partner. “And the longer someone is exposed, the higher the risk.”
While it’s typical for Americans to see the dangers of long-term commuting or working too hard, it’s easy to miss some of the risks involved in ordinary life. The pandemic shifted you away from your usual stomping ground, but it’s good to realize that the home field doesn’t always give you the advantage. Some of your risks have probably gone up, but a little awareness can make home sweet again.
The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this page are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this post is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics, including but not limited to the benefits of chiropractic care, exercise and nutrition. It is not intended to provide or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your chiropractor, physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this page.