Why is everyone sick lately? Well if you've felt that feeling, you're not alone. According to NPR, more and more people are getting sick at the start of the new year, and the flu and COVID cases have nothing to do with that.
Health scientist Dr. Tasha Golden (@tashagoldenphd) recently uploaded a viral TikTok explaining her reasoning as to why she believes so many people are getting sick right now, and it's got less to do with keeping a Harry Styles distance between you and another person and more because so many folks are spending so much time indoors.
She opens up her video by stating that she feels like "not enough people know about indoor air quality." She says that as a result, when on person in a home gets stick, this usually creates a domino effect where another person gets sick, then another person in the house, followed by another person until everyone within the same abode succumbs to an identical illness.
Dr. Golden went on to say that it's because of this precise phenomenon of people spending more time indoors when it's cold outside as the reason why so many people tend to get sick during the winter: since they're hanging around inside more during the cold weather months, they're at a higher risk of falling ill.
"Our indoor air quality especially in our homes, sucks. It is terrible and we don't think about it because we generally feel okay in our houses and we are like oh it's clean, it smells nice, whatever, but, here's the reality. I am a public health nerd and so I have an indoor air quality meter that I carry around with me most places."
She goes on to delve into the particulars of the device, calling it a C02 meter that measures the amount of "carbon dioxide" in a particular space. She says that "outdoors" the number ranges from 400-600. She says that in an "ideal" indoor environment setting, that number would fall under the 800 range.
Unfortunately, according to Dr. Golden, this isn't the case. She says that she has yet to go over a friend's house where the air quality has dips below 1,700, which is staggeringly high based on the figures the health scientist says are acceptable for an interior space.
She goes on to say that once higher levels of carbon dioxide are hit inside of an interior space that people are ultimately going to feel that in ways that may surprise some folks, particularly when it comes to how they're feeling not just physically, but mentally, too.
Dr. Golden writes that folks who state that they can't focus or perhaps feel scatter-brained or sluggish may attribute this sensation to the high levels of carbon dioxide in whatever setting they're spending extended periods of time in.
She said that looking for ways to "clean" the air in one's home or workspace or ventilate it is probably a good idea. The numbers that the c02 meter Dr. Golden says it calculates is also a good indicator of how likely it is that the air someone is breathing in a space is being breathed by another individual.
She says that this "Air backwash" is not an ideal home living/breathing situation. She says that there are some simple ways to combat this air backwash from building up and it's as simple as keeping your HVAC system or a fan running constantly throughout the home.
By keeping a fan going, Dr. Golden says that this helps to circulate air in the home and that you're automatically going to be in a better position to breathe in some "filtered" air.
Another way to combat this? It's simple: crack open a window. She says that while your heating bill will probably go up a "tiny bit," that the trade off is ultimately worth it because you're going to get yourself some better air that hasn't been already breathed in by someone else.
She adds that "being slightly colder," isn't what is going to make you sicker in the winter time, but rather breathing in the same air as somebody else. She says that these tips aren't just great for folks who may have an ill person inside of their domicile, but for any types of gatherings or for when you have large groups of people coming over.
So getting that circulation going and cracking open a window from time to time throughout the day is almost always a good idea. "Clean your air, ventilate your space, run your HVAC system," she says are the three golden rules of home breathing health.