By Amy Hunt
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.
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