The People's Perspective on Medicine

Show 1157: Why Are You Never Home Alone?

Find out about the wildlife in your own home. How do the ecological systems there affect your health? Call in your questions.
Current time

Why Are You Never Home Alone?

0% played0% buffered

You may think your home is sparkling clean. But even a clean house harbors a host of small creatures that have a fascinating web of interactions with each other and with the humans who live there.

What do you know about the ecology of your home? How does the dust that accumulates in the corners before you vacuum affect your health? Are there any advantages to cleaning less often?  If you have ever wondered about the fungi in your shower, the bacteria on your soap or the camel crickets hiding out in the basement, call in your questions.

Never Home Alone:

Dr. Rob Dunn has written about the wilderness thriving in our living spaces in his book, Never Home Alone. He will tell you why you shouldn’t overdo on the home hygiene and help you understand how to welcome our unseen guests safely. 

Join the Conversation:

What creatures are lurking in your home? Is your air-conditioning system host to a special sort of ecological system? Call us to learn more about the varieties of life that may be sharing your space. 888-472-3366 between 7 and 8 am EST on Saturday, March 16, 2019. Or send us email:

This Week’s Guest:

Rob Dunn, PhD, is Professor of Applied Ecology at North Carolina State University.

Rob Dunn is the author of several books, including Never Out of Season and The Wildlife of our Bodies. His most recent book is Never Home Alone: From Microbes to Millipedes, Camel Crickets, and Honeybees, the Natural History of Where We Live.

Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

Buy the CD

Download the mp3 (Choose mp3 version from the pull-down menu above the Add to Cart button)

Rate this article
4.4- 17 ratings
About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
Get the latest health news right in your inbox

Join our daily email newsletter with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies AND you'll get a copy of our brand new full-length health guide — for FREE!

Screenshots of The People's Pharmacy website on mobile devices of various sizes
Join over 150,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

We're empowering you to make wise decisions about your own health, by providing you with essential health information about both medical and alternative treatment options.

Showing 4 comments
Add your comment

I live in a southern state, and during the spring and summer there are always chameleons that get into the house as we enter and exit. We just can’t keep them out. They frighten me when they jump out unexpectedly from a potted plant. I called what I thought was the game warden to remove them but instead the Sheriff came saying that we have no game warden in this county. It’s his job, he said. The chameleon hid, and the Sheriff couldn’t find it. After that, I learned that I could spray ice water on them, and they will go into shock. Then I can safely sweep them out of the door. The glue boards used to snag pests are too messy and inhumane or (in-animal-mane). My brother suggested I make friends with them and give them names. That didn’t work. We are still enemies.

I’ve lived to a ripe old age and never worried about microbes, etc. It’s my belief that it is never good to be “too clean!”

I live in NY state, and we have the rats that are frequent visitors. I do my best to keep clean.

Thanks for this–Dr. Dunn’s book is great–my husband and I just read it, and neither of us could put it down. The book will join our permanent library for re-reading. We were lucky enough to participate in some of the studies that he writes about as “citizen scientists!”

* Be nice, and don't over share. View comment policy^