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Open a Window, Even in the Winter!

Ventilation is one of the biggest factors when considering the health of a living environment. Unfortunately, ventilation takes a back seat when winter hits. Instinctively we close the windows and turn up the heat.

Indoor air specialist Richard Walter says allowing in a bit of outdoor air may offer an important health boost during the winter months.

Walter, head of A+ Engineering Construction in Nevada, says building construction has changed in recent years, which means buildings are tighter than ever.

We live in a ziploc plastic bag and it's terrible for our health.

The solution, according to Walter, is access to outdoor air.

You need clean air for your lungs. You don't get clean air inside your house.

Walter suggests leaving a window open two inches or less in your bedroom every night. It may cost you $10 or more each month, he says, but the health benefits outweigh the additional costs.

In fact, Walter believes we are putting our comfort ahead of our well-being. By limiting our exposure to outdoor air and relying on a thermostat to monitor our indoor air, we add to the level of hazardous contaminants in the form of volatile organic compounds. These VOCs become more active at higher temperatures, causing us to breathe in more toxic substances. In addition, the warmer temperatures heighten microbial growth which can breed illness.

Germany is a strong proponent of healthy ventilation and readily encourages open windows in the winter months.

According to one blogger who now lives and works in Germany, the German "cultural obsession" with fresh air is in stark contrast with the United States:

In the US, the office buildings that I worked in all had sealed windows. The entire building was closed and kept climate controlled. You couldn't open the windows even if you wanted to.

Now living and working in Germany, Andrew Couch sees lots of open windows in the middle of winter. When asked about the cultural difference between the U.S. and Germany, one coworker quipped,

Germans need fresh air. Americans need air fresheners.

It's never too late to change our habits when it comes to fresh air. Why not invest in a new comforter or a warm pair of socks, and open a window this winter?

Open a Window for Your Health


"The entire time we lived in our (mold-infested) house the kitchen sponge would get musty smelling within 3-4 days. It was so strange. I had to buy a pack of sponges nearly every week."

– Anonymous

"I'm new at this, but today I cleaned my bathroom with baking soda and vinegar. It's much better not having those strong chemical smells afterwards."

– Anonymous

"We had some water leaks in our home... we never thought we needed to clean out and remove the floor, the ceiling, or the drywall... my two small children and I have remained constantly sick for years in this home."

– Mia

"We all suffered from headaches, hormonal body temperature fluctuations, brain fog, fatigue, difficulty breathing, thrush, rashes, and yeast infections... we vacated our home two weeks ago."

– Anonymous

"My symptoms persisted and eventually turned into lethargy and depression. At the age of 26, I required a nap every evening after work."

– Jennifer

"I knew it was mold, but doctors kept telling me I had anxiety. I was sitting in my office and could not remember who I was talking to, or what we were talking about."

– Brenda

"My daughter started having digestive problems... heart palpitations... coughing episodes... muscle/joint pain... asthma/allergies... Her doctor finally advised me to check for mold in our home."

– Anonymous

"The ERMI mold test as well as your helpful articles and Toxic Talk Tuesday programs have helped us avoid a terrible mistake in purchasing a new home."

– Angela

"My daughter has had many blood samples taken to test for everything imaginable and her doctor just seems puzzled. Everything comes back normal."

– Anonymous

"I have been sick for almost 6 months now and doctors were not able to figure out why. I finally put it all together after going away for vacation for a week and suddenly my symptoms were going away."

– Anonymous

"I was skeptical at first that these (natural cleaning) products would work, but they work better than the stuff I buy at the store! We will soon be moving to the personal care products as well!"

– Jennifer

"I had been struggling with headaches, head fog, breathing difficulties (unable to get a full breath), constant scalp tingling, migraines, nausea, feeling spacey/detached, and severe itchy skin."

– Anonymous

"We were having a lot of health problems and had been to the doctor countless times... we had large circles of slimy greenish-black mold on the bathroom ceiling, where it had caved in a few months before."

– C.

" age 35 or 36 I started to become allergic to everything, and I got asthma at age 36... I went to doctor after doctor after doctor and was desperate for help, but nobody could help me."

– Mia

"I started finding myself sitting on the floor in rooms of my house and not remembering how I got there, what I was doing before, or how long I had been there."

– Brenda

"Our family has been out of our home for 9 months due to mold... I am so scared and weak from all of this. We have lost friends; family members don't understand."

– Anonymous

"Both of my sons went downhill quickly and coughed for months... They both lost their ability to read, had profound vision disturbances, and had phenomenal gastric issues."

– Lee

"In my moldy home if I left the wet clothes in the washer they would get musty very quickly and I'd have to re-wash... Sometimes I'd run a load, go to work, and they'd be musty when I returned that evening."

– Anonymous

"I've been living in a mold-infested home for 13 months... I was going CRAZY! Finally figured it out... Just a few days of recovering in a mold-free home and I feel AMAZING!!!"

– Lauren

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