Maintaining a healthy home isn’t just about keeping the living spaces tidy and clean, although that is important. It’s also about being aware of potential health hazards and keeping your family safe. Here are a few of the most common health concerns in the home and what you can do to mitigate them.
Mold and Mildew in the Home are Health Concerns
Mold and mildew are fungi that thrive in moist, humid environments. Mold can cause respiratory problems, skin irritation, headaches, and other health issues, so keeping it in check is essential. To prevent mold and mildew growth, ventilate wet areas like showers, kitchens, and laundry rooms, use an air conditioner or dehumidifier in humid weather, and immediately clean any water spills. If you already have mold growth, clean the area with a solution of one part bleach to 10 parts water.
Pests in the Home
Pests like rodents, cockroaches, and mosquitoes aren’t just unpleasant; they can spread diseases like Salmonella, Lyme disease, and West Nile virus. To keep pests out of your home, seal cracks and holes on the exterior of your house, keep food stored in airtight containers, and empty garbage cans regularly. If you already have pests in your home, call an exterminator.
If you live in a home built before 1978, it might contain lead paint. Lead exposure can cause developmental problems in children and other health issues in adults. Have the paint tested for lead if you live in an older home. Lead-based paint is generally considered safe if it is intact and undisturbed. However, lead paint that is flaking, peeling, or chipping will need to be remediated. Hire a lead mitigation professional for abatement.
Health Concerns in the Home: Asbestos-Containing Materials
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was a popular material for insulation, flooring tiles, shingles, joint compound, and other construction materials. Exposure to asbestos fibers can cause lung cancer and other health problems. If you live in an older home, test materials for asbestos before disturbing them, especially when planning a major renovation project. If you discover asbestos fibers, hire a certified professional to remove them safely.
By taking precautions – like ventilating wet areas, sealing cracks and holes on the exterior of your house, and storing food in airtight containers – you avoid many common health hazards in the home. If you have a problem with mold growth or pests, don’t hesitate to call an expert to help you address the issue safely. Older homes should be tested for hazardous materials.