Now that winter is officially on the way, the colder weather usually signals the arrival of the dreaded common cold.
But it turns out that actually, another item in our home could also be making us sick - and we bet you've never even considered it before.
According to a new study carried out at the University of Oregon, in America, our curtains (or blinds) could actually be increasing our chances of becoming ill.
The study found that rooms shrouded in darkness, e.g, those with curtains that stay closed for the majority of the time, are actually a breeding ground for harmful bacteria.
This is because natural light is thought to kill the bacteria sitting in our homes, whereas the dark conditions, on the other hand, help the nasties to survive, and, as such, affect us.
Results were found by creating 11 identical mini rooms, all of which were exposed to different levels of sunlight over a 90-day period. All other conditions were kept the same. And the rooms that experienced the most darkness actually had double the amount of bacteria in them after the 90 days.
Dr Ashkaan Fahimipour, who lead the research, explained, "Humans spend most of their time indoors, where exposure to dust particles that carry bacteria, including pathogens that can make us sick, is unavoidable.
"Therefore, it is important to understand how features of buildings we occupy influence dust ecosystems and how this could affect our health."
He continued, "We hope that with further understanding we could design access to daylight in buildings such as schools, offices, hospitals and homes in ways that reduce the risk of dust-borne infections."
We'll certainly be opening more of our curtains from now on!
Airing out your house on a regular basis is also considered to be an important thing to do for your health. In fact, properly ventilating your home can provide many benefits, including reducing CO2 from breathing, eliminating odours, and reducing the risk of damp occuring.
So even if it is getting cooler outside - be sure to let a little bit of the outside in from time to time.
Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist, currently working as Life Channel Editor at womanandhome.com. She began as the magazine's features assistant before moving over to digital as a News and Features Writer, before becoming Senior Writer, and now a Channel Editor. She has worked on other women's lifestyle websites previously too—including Woman's Weekly, Goodto.com, Woman, and Woman's Own. In 2019, Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards, for her work on womanandhome.com.
She is obsessive about everything homes and interiors—whether she's sniffing out the very best deal on a KitchenAid stand mixer or keeping up the latest Dyson release. And when she isn't editing or writing articles on interior trends or the latest home gadgets, she's passionate about books—you'll usually find her with her nose in a gripping thriller at the end of the working day.
The Queen's death will induce 'ethical earthquake' as royals behave like 'free-riders', warns broadcaster
The Royal Family will face major challenges when the Queen dies, says Andrew Marr
By Emma Dooney • Published
How to play Wordle—hacks to help you improve in this tricky word game
Wordle is the new game that everyone seems to be obsessed with—but how can you play this tricky game and how can you improve?
By Laura Harman • Published