Thursday, March 15, 2018
Doctors Perspective
Study shows housecleaning is bad for your health

By Dr. Anthony Policastro
Housecleaning is a chore. Many people dont like it. In fact, a recent study shows that housecleaning is bad for your health. The study looked at over 6,000 participants, following them for over 20 years. They did breathing function tests on them. The results suggested several things. The first is that over the years housecleaning can have an effect on pulmonary function. All of us have decreased pulmonary function as we age, however, it seems to be worse with housecleaning. They looked at two measurements. The first is forced expiratory volume which refers to how hard an individual can blow air out in one forced breath. Women who engaged in housecleaning showed a greater decrease over the years than women who did not. Women who were professional house cleaners showed a bigger decrease. The second measurement is forced vital capacity which refers to how much of the air in the lungs can be blown out in a forced breath. It basically measures how well you empty your lungs on a forced exhalation. Again, women who engaged in housecleaning showed a decrease in this measurement over the years. It was much higher than that in professional house cleaners. Changes in both areas were significantly smaller than what is seen with cigarette smokers over a 20 year period. Therefore, the findings are not as ominous as they might seem on the surface. Another finding was that using cleaning sprays and other cleaning products at least once a week had an additive effect. The declines were more for those individuals. The good news is that these were just measurements. There was no real evidence that these results were more likely to cause COPD in this group of individuals. Therefore, it is not clear that it affects anything but the measurements. It is likely that there will be more information about the real long term effects from future studies. One interesting result was that the same changes were not found in men who did housecleaning. That was true even for male professional housecleaners. This leads to an obvious conclusion. Men should be the ones doing the housecleaning.

Mental Health Open House Join us at the Sussex County Mental Health Open House on Saturday, April 28, at the Conference Center at Crossroads Community Church in Georgetown. Doors open at 9 a.m. and the program is from 9:30 to 11:30. A continental breakfast and refreshments will be served. Learn more about the mental health resources available in Sussex County for individuals and their families. A panel presentation of resources and a discussion regarding mental health concerns will be conducted. Everyone is welcome. The event is free but registration is encouraged. Call 888-427-2643, email or visit

Better Breathers Club Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will hold a Better Breathers Club on Monday, March 19 from 2 to 3 p.m., in the Nursing Conference Room.

This free support group is open to anyone affected by a chronic lung disease including relatives and caregivers. Backed by the American Lung Association, the Better Breathers Club offers a venue for participants to learn from guest speakers and educational materials, socialize with others affected by a chronic lung disease, and practice skills that will help them better manage their condition and improve their quality of life. Registration is required. For more information or to register, call 629-6611, ext. 1010.

Alzheimer’s programs offered The Caregiver Resource Center at the Modern Maturity Center located at 1121 Forrest Ave., Dover, is offering a series of educational programs presented by Jamie Magee, coordinator for the Alzheimer’s Association. The following free programs are being offered: Wednesday, April 11, 10-11:30 a.m. - “Effective Communication Strategies.” Register by April 6. Wednesday, May 16, 10–11:30 a.m. - “Understanding and Responding to Dementia Related Behaviors.” Register by May 11. To register, call 800-272-3900 or email Sharon Jarnette at

Childbirth classes Nanticoke Memorial Hospital hosts childbirth classes on Thursdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., in the Ground Floor Conference Room. The class will meet for five weeks – four weeks related to childbirth education and the fifth week will be a breastfeeding class. 2018 dates: March 29, April 5, 12, 19, 26; May 16, 24, 31, June 7, 14; July 5, 12, 19, 26, Aug. 2; Aug. 30, Sept. 6, 13, 20, 27; Oct. 4, 11, 18, 25, Nov. 1; *Nov. 13, 20, 27, Dec. 4, 11 (*Tuesdays). The maternity education classes are designed to offer information, counseling, support, and hands-on experience to help prepare for a new family member. They will cover pregnancy in general, information to prepare the expectant mother for labor and delivery, and will include a tour of Nanticoke’s Mother & Baby Care Center. A refresher course is also available for those who have previously taken childbirth classes. The cost of the childbirth course is $50, and the cost for the refresher course is $25. Mothers are encouraged to bring their partner or support person for all courses. Pre-registration is required for either class. To register or for more information, call 629-6611, ext. 2540.

Stroke Support Group Nanticoke Rehabilitation Services will host a stroke support group on Tuesday, March 20 from 1:30 to 3 p.m., at the Seaford Library & Cultural Center. This group is designed for individuals who have survived a stroke as well as their families, friends, and caregivers. Modeled from the American Stroke Association, this free support group provides education, community resources, and emotional support to those who have been affected by this life-altering event. Meetings consist of guest speakers and breakaway sessions for caregivers and stroke survivors to discuss concerns, providing support and networking. Pre-registration is not required. For more information, call Nanticoke Rehabilitation Services at 629-6224.