7 Hidden Health Hazards in the Home
Many everyday items in the home can impact your health. Most things in a property can be a potential health hazard, like the air you breathe, the water you drink, and the surfaces you touch.
The best way to protect yourself and your family at home is to learn what home health hazards may be present where you live. With better knowledge about potential hazards, you can make more informed decisions about how you clean, renovate, and use your home.
Keep reading to learn the most common home health hazards that could be present on your property.
1. Pollen, Dirt & Other Impurities
The air inside your home may not be as clean as you think. Even if you can’t see it, pollutants are floating around in the form of dust, pollen, and dirt. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you’ll be pleased to know that there are simple solutions for improving the quality of your indoor air.
An air purifier is a device that filters out impurities from the air. Air purifiers come in different shapes and sizes, and some even double up as humidifiers. If you’re looking to upgrade your home’s air quality, an air purifier is a great place to start.
Changing your HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) filters will also help improve the quality of your indoor air. HVAC filters capture pollen, dust, and other particles that float through the air. Staying on top of HVAC maintenance also reduces your utility bills helping you breathe easier in more ways than one.
4. Pests in Hard-to-See Places
While most people are aware of the damage pests can cause, they may not realize that these critters can also affect their health. Pests, like rodents and cockroaches, can carry harmful bacteria and diseases. They can also trigger asthma attacks and other respiratory problems.
If you think you might have a pest problem, look for droppings, gnawed food, or damage to your home. If you see any of these things, it’s time to call an exterminator. Keeping yourself safe from dangerous bacteria caused by pests is vital for fostering a safe environment in your home.
2. Bacteria in the Kitchen
Your kitchen is filled with all sorts of bacteria, some of which can cause illnesses. Keeping a kitchen clean helps your family stay safe and protected from harmful bacteria. You can also reduce your risk of illness-causing bacteria, like salmonella, by avoiding cross-contamination.
Keep raw eggs and meat separate from other foods, and never put cooked food back on the same plate that held raw food. If you use a knife and cutting board for uncooked chicken, make sure to wash it thoroughly or swap them out entirely before cutting vegetables.
Additionally, your dishwasher may not be getting things as clean as you think. Bacteria can survive the wash and end up back on your dishes. To avoid this, make sure to pre-wash any caked-on food before putting dishes in the dishwasher. You should also run your dishwasher at a high-temperature setting to ensure all bacteria are killed.
6. Out-Dated Asbestos Products
If your home was built before the 1980s, there’s a chance it contains asbestos. Asbestos is a harmful substance that can cause respiratory problems and cancer. If you think your home may contain asbestos, don’t try to remove it yourself.
Here are a few products that were known to contain asbestos before the 1970s, when its use was banned:
- Vinyl floor tiles
- Popcorn ceilings
- Fireproof gloves and aprons
If you think any of these products are in your home, contact a professional to have them tested and removed if necessary.
3. Mold in the Bathroom
Mold loves warm, humid environments—like your bathroom. Mold can cause a number of respiratory problems, so it’s important to keep it under control in your home. The first step to mold prevention is controlling the humidity in your bathroom. Use a fan when showering to help ventilate the space and prevent mold growth.
If you already have mold in your bathroom, don’t despair. There are a number of products on the market that can help you get rid of it for good. Start by cleaning the affected area with bleach and water.
5. Caustic Cleaning Solutions
Cleaning your home is important for both hygiene and appearance. But some cleaning solutions can be harmful to your health. Many contain chemicals that can irritate your skin, eyes, and respiratory system. If you’re using a cleaning solution that contains bleach, make sure to open a window or door to ventilate the area. You’ll also want to use gloves when cleaning with it.
While bleach and other harsh chemicals are effective, you should try to limit your use of these products. Everyday cleaning is best done with a more natural solution, like vinegar or baking soda. If you must use a harsher chemical, always take precautions to avoid harmful exposure, and be sure to never mix bleach and vinegar.
7. Excessive Clutter
A cluttered home can be more than just an eyesore—it can also be a health hazard. Too much clutter can obstruct exits in the event of a fire, and it can also provide hiding places for pests. Excessive clutter can also lead to respiratory problems, as dust and mold build up in hidden areas.
To get started on decluttering your home, focus on one area at a time. Don’t try to do too much at once or you’ll get overwhelmed. Once you’ve decluttered an area, make a commitment to keep it that way to ensure long-term health benefits.
It’s important to be aware of the hidden home health hazards so you can take steps to mitigate them. Some health hazards, like excessive clutter, can be easy to fix. Others, like asbestos products, might require some help from a professional. But by taking these steps, you can make your home a healthier place for you and your family.
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