Home hazards that can affect your family’s health

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We often think of our homes as a refuge from all the nastiness and danger that exists in the outside world, but the truth is our homes can hold hidden dangers. Without proper and regular maintenance, you could find that your home is actually endangering your family’s health.

Building fabric

Perhaps the most hidden danger is to be found in the fabric of your home. Asbestos, for example, was a material once commonly used as insulation in older buildings, and providing it is contained, it will pose no danger. However, if asbestos becomes exposed its fibres can float in the air and you can breathe them in. In large amounts, this can result in asbestosis, mesothelioma and even lung cancer. Have a professional check over the insulated areas of your home – loft, cellar – to ensure that any asbestos is safely covered or preferably removed and replaced with a safe alternative.

Damp is another significant danger in that it can result in mould appearing. As areas of humidity encourage mould, it often develops in bathrooms, but this is by no means the only place. Mould can lead to individuals suffering from irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, coughing and a build-up of mucus, respiratory problems, a worsening of symptoms of asthma and a general increase in allergic reactions. Keep an eye out for damp spots and fix them immediately. Also ensure that seals are intact and that your home is well ventilated. Finally, regularly clean any equipment or containers that hold water.

People and pets

Another form of hazard is to be found in the inhabitants of a home. As adults, most of us ensure that we wash our hands regularly and are careful about what we bring into the home on our shoes, but unfortunately, children and pets are not so careful. While discipline and training in hygienic matters should be sufficient for your children, you need to take action concerning your pets. Keep your pets clean by worming them regularly and applying flea treatments, such as flea-tablets. It can also be a good idea to have a dog-cleaning station near the entry and exit points of your home. This way you can quickly clean your dog’s feet after a walk or run-around in mucky fields and parks.

General housework

To aid cleanliness in the home, you could insist that your family removes its shoes once inside the front door. In this way, any mess should stay in one place and not be tracked around the home. You should also aim to clean your floors regularly. This is perhaps more important if you have carpets, as their fibres are great at holding dirt and other irritants. Keeping carpets vacuumed is especially important if members of your family have allergies, as this can reduce their exposure to dust mites. Most vacuums are suitable for use on hard and laminate floors, too, so use these to suck up dust and debris, then go over with a steam mop to perform a deep, sterilising clean.

Keeping your home clean and well-maintained will not only make it a more pleasant environment for you and your family, but will help to reduce your exposure to the wide variety of hazards the average home presents.

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