Is your home making you sick? It could be! No one wants to think of their home as an unsafe place, but the key to keeping your family healthy is to be aware of the risks.
Keep reading to learn about some of the hazards you might find in your household, as well as some tips to keep you healthy in your own home.
Mold is more than just a disgusting nuisance. Mold spores are notorious triggers for allergies and asthma. Itchy skin, watery eyes and breathing troubles could all be signs of a mold problem in your house.
Like most fungi, mold grows in damp places. You may find it in your bathroom, basement or attic. A simple scrub with soap and water is enough to remove mold from most hard surfaces, but you may need to replace moldy carpet or furniture.
To prevent mold from growing back, you have to control the moisture in your house. Investing in a dehumidifier and keeping well-maintained drip-pans under leaky sinks, ceilings or air conditioners can help keep mold out of your home for good.
Like mold, pests can trigger asthma and allergy attacks. Mouse urine and dander are common allergens, and people with asthma are often sensitive to the waste of unwanted invertebrate guests like dust mites and cockroaches.
Many pests carry serious diseases as well. For instance, rodents and their fleas can put your family at risk for murine typhus, which causes extremely high fevers. Houseflies are also notorious vectors of diseases such as cholera, dysentery and typhoid fever.
Thankfully, pest control doesn’t need to involve hazardous chemicals that could harm your family or pets. Sticky traps baited with food, heat or light are an effective way to control insect pests, and live traps are a great, safe option for rodent control. The strong scent of peppermint can also be used to deter rodents.
Radon, a naturally occurring radioactive gas, is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. It poses little risk outdoors, but it can seep up from the ground and accumulate at dangerous levels inside houses.
Because it has no color or odor, testing for radon is the only way to detect it. Some universities and government agencies offer free or discounted radon test kits, but you can also buy test kits at most home improvement stores.
- Carbon Monoxide
Another poisonous gas you should be cautious of is carbon monoxide, a dangerous byproduct of combustion. Even low levels of carbon monoxide can cause flu-like symptoms and foggy thinking, but at high levels, it can be debilitating or even deadly.
Heating systems are the leading cause of carbon monoxide-related death, but gas water heaters and other combustion appliances can also put your family at risk. A well-ventilated home with properly installed and maintained appliances will help to keep your family safe.
Like radon, carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, so you should also consider installing carbon monoxide alarms on each level of your home.
Lead paint was outlawed more than three decades ago, so what is there to worry about? Quite a bit, as it turns out. If your house was built before 1978, you can probably assume that it still contains lead.
Lead is especially dangerous if you have children in your home because it interferes with brain development. Even in adults, lead poisoning can cause serious neurological problems including hearing loss, seizures and difficulty concentrating.
If you live in an older house, you should consider calling a professional to assess and remove lead risks in your home. If abatement is not in your budget right now, painting over lead paint can help seal in dangerous lead dust. Never attempt to scrape off lead paint without proper training and precautions, though!
- Contaminated Water
Another way that lead and other chemical and biological hazards can enter your home is through the water. No two water sources are the same, though, so buying any old water filter may not be enough to protect your family. You have to choose the right one for the job, which means you have to pinpoint what hazards your water might contain.
Start by requesting a water quality report from your water utility or by contacting a local water-quality lab. Once you know what contaminants to look out for, you can select the right water filter for your home.
Now that you know what health risks to look out for and how to address them, you’re well on your way to making your home a safer place to live!
Kacey Mya Bradley is a lifestyle blogger for “The Drifter Collective.” Throughout her life, she has found excitement in the world around her. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations, cultures, and styles, while communicating these endeavors through her passion for writing and expression. Her love for the world around her is portrayed through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.
The Drifter Collective: An eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us.