What’s triggering your health problems? The answer might shock you
Does your skin flare up for no apparent reason? Do you suffer migraines, an upset stomach or experience aches and pains?
A whole host of triggers might be causing your health problems and the culprit could be something as simple as your shopping bag, your phone or even the weather.
Here we take a look at the causes of some common ailments and easy ways to remedy them.
Possible cause: Smoking
In a study of sets of identical twins, the twins who smoked had a higher level of wear and tear in their spines, causing back pain. Experts believe this is because smoking damages the cells in the discs and vertebrae of the back. Additionally, coughing caused by the smoke can provoke pain.
Solution: Quit smoking with help from the NHS. Visit nhs.uk/livewell/smoking
Problem: Heart disease
Possible cause: Toothbrush
The average toothbrush contains around 10 million germs, a study by Manchester University found. This includes staphylococci, candida, streptococcus and E.coli.
As soon as you nick your gum while brushing, bacteria can travel straight into your bloodstream. This can cause heart disease, chronic infection and arthritis.
Solution: Brush gently to avoid damaging your gums and change your toothbrush if you’ve been ill, or after every 12 weeks.
Possible cause: The weather
High humidity, temperature changes and storms can cause chemical and electrical changes in the brain. This can disturb nerves and cause a headache.
Solution: While migraines are hard to prevent, you can be prepared by checking the weather forecast and having painkillers with you.
Problem: Skin rash
Possible cause: Mobile phone
Holding your mobile phone against your face enables nickel and chrome in the cases or buttons to spark a painful or unsightly rash. The British Association of Dermatologists says that women who react to nickel in jewellery are at a higher risk of a rash from their phones. It is the most common contact allergy in the UK and could be the cause of a rash on your ears or face.
Solution: Go hands-free if possible or use a case to minimise contact.
Possible cause: Air fresheners in the home
Many chemicals contained in air fresheners are linked with an increased risk of developing asthma. Some also include volatile organic compounds, which easily become vapours or gases and can irritate the eye, nose and throat.
A 2013 study published in the International Journal of Public Health reported that women who used air freshener in their homes were more likely to have babies who suffered from lung infections.
Solution: Instead of buying an air freshener or plug-in, make your own. Do this by filling a spray bottle with water and essential oils and spraying around the house.
Problem: Food poisoning
Possible cause: Shopping bags
Supermarket bags are often reused, but if they carry raw and then ready-to-eat food, it risks spreading dangerous bugs.
Even the outside of raw meat packaging can carry the bugs, including campylobacter — the most common cause of food poisoning.
Solution: The Food Standards Agency suggests that you label or colour-code bags for raw food and ready-to-eat food and never mix them up. Put any cotton shopping bags in the wash regularly to kill any dangerous bacteria.
Possible cause: Pillows
Dirt, dust mites and dead skin can build up on your pillow if not washed or replaced regularly. This aggravates allergies and asthma. And feather pillows are more likely to cause allergies than synthetic ones.
Solution: Wash pillows at 60˚C, use synthetic pillows and pillow covers, and replace every six to 12 months.
Problem: Lung problems
Possible cause: Bleach and disinfectants
Regularly using bleach and other household disinfectants can increase your risk of developing asthma and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), a group of lung conditions that includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
A study found that nurses who used these cleaning solutions at least once a week had a 22 per cent higher risk of developing COPD.
Solution: Use natural cleaners such as distilled white vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda.
Edited by Alexandra Grainger