American Osteopathic Association

Advancing the distinctive philosophy and practice of osteopathic medicine

Is Your Home Making You Sick? American Osteopathic Association Equips Families with Knowledge & Resources for “Spring Cleaning for Your Health”

April 9, 2014

(CHICAGO) — The surrounding environment, including the inside of a home, can negatively impact a family’s health. Threats may stem from a variety of factors, including indoor air quality, water purity, and exposure to toxins and chemicals. Nevertheless, families can help prevent illness and injury by incorporating steps to make their homes cleaner, safer and healthier places to live.

In support of National Osteopathic Medicine Week 2014, which takes place April 13-19, the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), representing the nation’s more than 104,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) and osteopathic medical students, is launching an effort to help individuals and families spring clean for their health.

“With our busy schedules, it is sometimes hard to make time for our health, but nothing is more important than the health of ourselves and our families,” stresses Joel R. Cooper, DO, an AOA board-certified family physician practicing at 21st Century Family Medicine in Glendale, Ariz. “By setting aside a few hours one weekend this spring, we can make simple changes inside our homes—from steps to ensure we’re breathing clean air to properly disposing of expired medications—that can help lower our risk of becoming sick or injured.”

The AOA suggests getting started with a “Spring Cleaning for Your Health” Weekend Checklist​​​:

On Friday, schedule appointments you’ve been putting off with your primary care physician, specialist and other health care professionals, such as your dentist or optometrist. Make a list of questions, including those about medications, vitamins and supplements, physical activity, and diet.

Set aside time on Saturday to tackle household chores that will help make your home a cleaner, safer and healthier place. Clean out the medicine cabinet and dispose of old medications and other expired products safely. Replace filters in heating and cooling systems, like your furnace. Wash window screens to remove pollen and mold, and vacuum or wash window treatments.

Spend Sunday purchasing supplies or products needed to maintain a safe and healthy environment in your home, including medicines, first-aid supplies, and sunscreen. Also consider trying fragrance-free plant-based cleaning products or making your own cleaning products to help minimize asthma or allergy symptoms.

“It is scary to think your home could be making you sick, but that can be the case, especially for those with allergies and asthma,” explains Amy L. Dean, DO, a board-certified internist and environmental medicine specialist and founder of EcoLogical Internal Medicine in Ann Arbor, Mich. “Dirty air filters, pollen build-up, mold, and even certain cleaning products and air fresheners used throughout the home can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms. Ridding your home of these triggers can help to prevent symptoms or keep them from worsening.”

As part of the “Spring Cleaning for Your Health” effort, the AOA is offering a number of resources, public education tools and ways to spread the word about making the home a healthier place, including:

Listening to and sharing the official AOA “Spring Cleaning for Your Health” public service announcement with friends and family.

Using the AOA’s “Spring Cleaning for Your Health” Weekend Checklist and Steps to Safe Medicine Disposal​ to begin making your home a healthier place to live.

Tweeting and sharing on Facebook information about the “Spring Cleaning for Your Health” effort.

Liking the AOA on Facebook to stay up to date on the “Spring Cleaning for Your Health” cause, and encouraging others to do the same.

To find more information and tips, and to download online “Spring Cleaning for Your Health” tools from the AOA, visit  

What is a DO?

DOs are licensed physicians who can prescribe medication and practice in all specialty areas, including surgery, in the United States. They complete four years of medical school followed by graduate medical education through internship and residency programs typically lasting three to eight years. In addition, DOs receive extra training in the musculoskeletal system, providing them with an in-depth knowledge of the ways that illness or injury in one part of the body can affect another. As one of the fastest-growing segments of health care professionals in the nation, the number of DOs has grown more than 200% during the past 25 years.

About the American Osteopathic Association

The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) represents more than 104,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) and osteopathic medical students; promotes public health; encourages scientific research; serves as the primary certifying body for DOs; and is the accrediting agency for osteopathic medical schools. More information on DOs/osteopathic medicine can be found at


Media Contacts:

Vicki Martinka
(312) 202-8159

Nicole Grady
(312) 202-8038

Twitter: @AOAforMedia​​​​


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