- Why children need a healthy home
- Here are some tips to maintain a healthy home
- Is the Air Fresh Enough?
- What about mold?
- What’s in the Walls?
- Are You Missing Areas During a Deep Clean?
- What should you do for a healthy home if you have asthma or allergies?
- 1. Clean your home regularly
- 2. Control the clutter
- 3. Keep down dust mites
- 4. Control Other Pests
- 5. Manage your pets
- 6. Be mindful about lead poisoning
- 7. Store hazardous household products safely
- 8. Prevent Slips, Trips, and Falls
- 9. Poison-proof your space and keep your home healthy
- Extra tips to keep your home healthy
- To maintain a healthy home, remember these seven rules
A healthy home is a happy home. We strive to look after our family’s health by eating healthy. If there’s a health issue, we go to the doctor, besides getting regular health checks. We choose a safe neighborhood. But what about inside the house? Are you and your children living in a healthy home?
Why children need a healthy home
- As children’s bodies are still growing, chemicals inside the home are more likely to harm them. And if they get sick, it is harder for them to recover as their immune systems are still developing.
- Even though children are small, they eat more food, drink more water and breathe more air than adults and if they breathe in harmful gases or lead, they are more in danger than adults.
- Growing children play and crawl on the ground and therefore, are closer to dust and chemicals that cause health issues. Moreover, babies and toddlers tend to put everything in their mouths—and some of these things may have harmful chemicals or dust.
- Since children spend almost 90% of their time indoors, it is important to worry about indoor air quality.
Thus, your home might not be as healthy a place as you’d like to think it is. Let’s look at the following questions to check if you live in a healthy home:
- Is the air in your home clean and healthy?
- Do your children have breathing problems, like asthma?
- Is someone in your home allergic to mold?
- Do you know the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning?
- Is there lead anywhere in your home?
- Is your tap water safe to drink?
- Do you have household products with chemicals in them that can make you sick?
- Do you use bug spray or other products to keep away pests?
- Do you keep poisons where your children can reach them?
Here are some tips to maintain a healthy home
Is the Air Fresh Enough?
A well-ventilated home that receives fresh air is a healthy home. Most of us spend at least half our lives inside our home, and right now, almost all our time is spent indoors. Sometimes, the air inside can be more harmful to your family’s health than the air outdoors so think about whether the air in your home safe to breathe.
This is not always easy to figure out. Even though you may notice bad smells or see smoke, you cannot see or smell other dangers, like carbon monoxide and radon.
Often, just keeping a window open can work wonders. In addition, using the right ventilation methods in the kitchen and bathroom, and following some routine maintenance tips such as cleaning AC filters regularly can go a long way to keeping dust, mold, and germs from being released into the indoor atmosphere.
What about mold?
Mold or mildew and moisture are not uncommon. Mold grows on wet and damp surfaces and appears grey or black, sometimes white, orange or green. It can grow out in the open on places like walls, clothes, and appliances as well as in hidden spaces such as under the carpet, in walls and in attics.
Mold has a musty smell. If you live in damp climate or near a water body, you are likelier to have mold in the home. Mold produces tiny spores invisible to the naked eye. These float in the air and if you breathe them in, they get into the lungs and cause health issues. Mold can also trigger asthma attacks.
Read more about What is asthma and how to prevent it
Where should you check for mold?
- In bathrooms, especially around the shower or tub, and on the walls, ceiling, or floor
- In wet or damp basements and crawl spaces
- Around leaky bathroom and kitchen sinks
- In attics under leaking roofs
- On wet clothes that are not properly dried
- On windows and walls where condensation collects
- In closets
- Under wallpaper or carpet
- In your air conditioner
Do fix any moisture issues inside the home right away since mold tends to grow quite fast and irritate the eyes, nose and throat resulting in coughing, wheezing and breathlessness.
How to reduce the risk of mold
Small amounts of mold can be removed with hot water and dishwashing gel. But if there are large areas of mold, get a professional to get rid of it.
You can prevent mold from growing or coming back by doing the following:
- Check for water leaks and repair them.
- If there is flooding clean up quickly and make sure it dries out within 48 hours.
- Use exhaust fans when cooking and showering.
- Ensure your clothes dryer, stove, kitchen and bathroom fans all vent to the outdoors.
- Remove basement clutter.
- Don’t store fabric, food, paper or wood in damp areas like a basement. Use plastic storage bins if required.
- Keep humidity low. Use a dehumidifier if needed.
What’s in the Walls?
The walls of your home can collect a lot of pollutants over the years. Smoke from cigarettes, moisture from food preparation and cooking, and even potentially toxic substances depending on how your property was used before you moved in.
And that can cause mold to grow, damp to collect, and even second-hand ‘passive’ smoking to occur, of both tobacco and potentially more questionable substances. So, it might be a good idea to get in touch with a service like Stewarts Drug Testing to check out your walls, and see if there’s anything you should be worried about collecting in them.
Are You Missing Areas During a Deep Clean?
We all do our best to keep our homes as clean as possible, but we can still miss places from time to time, allowing potentially dangerous things to grow and hide there. For example, how often do you clean your mattress, or the pipes in your sink?
Think about the neglected areas in your home, especially in places like the kitchen and bathroom. Be sure to wipe down door handles and window latches, as well as the tops of doors and underneath hanging cupboards, to make sure you get as much dirt as possible out of your home.
What should you do for a healthy home if you have asthma or allergies?
Here are a few maintenance tips to follow.
1. Clean your home regularly
While cleaning your home, protect yourself with a mask to avoid the dust in the air, especially if you have asthma or allergies.
2. Control the clutter
Clutter makes it hard to keep your home healthy and clean, besides collecting dust. Avoid piling up or stacking stuff. Store the things you want to keep covered in boxes or shelves. If you have allergies, avoid using carpets and rugs. But if you can’t avoid them, ensure that you vacuum often. It is easier to keep hard floors—wood, vinyl, tile—dust-free.
3. Keep down dust mites
Dust mites trigger respiratory issues. If possible, use zippered plastic mattress and pillow covers under your sheets and pillow cases. Try to wash bedding, blankets, pillow covers and mattress pads in hot water regularly. Temperatures above 130ºF kill dust mites.
4. Control Other Pests
Pests like roaches and rats thrive where food, water and warmth are available. You can control these pests by not making these available to them.
How to keep pests away and keep your home healthy?
Here are some tips:
- Always keep food covered or stored in sealed containers
- Clean up crumbs and spills as soon as they happen
- Get rid of garbage often
- As soon as you finish eating, wash the dirty dishes
- Don’t leave out pet food or water overnight
- Repair plumbing leaks and drips
- Identify cracks where pests can get in and seal them
5. Manage your pets
Dogs, cats and other furry pets can trigger asthma and allergy attacks because of their saliva and shedding skin. If you or someone suffers from asthma and allergies, try and avoid pets or keep them outside. Or at least try and keep them out of sleeping areas and away from furniture covered with fabric.
6. Be mindful about lead poisoning
Homes built before 1978 tend to have lead in the paint. Lead poisoning is among the most serious health threats for children as it causes learning and behavior problems. It may damage hearing and the nervous system, including the brain.
Where can you find lead? In paint, drinking water pipes, gasoline, pottery, soil outside your home, and other places. Even though lead is not used now, there can be residues where it was used. If the lead paint is in good condition, it is not a problem.
If there is lead in your home, you may need to get your home and water tested. Don’t try to remove lead on your own – it is better to hire professionals to do it.
7. Store hazardous household products safely
Make sure bleach, bleach, rat poison, mothballs, charcoal lighter fluid, oven cleaner, batteries, mercury thermometers, gas, oil, wood polish, toilet and drain cleaners, shoe polish, bug spray, etc. are stored safely and out of the reach of children. Ideally, a dry locked cabinet is best. Store them in the package, can or bottle they came in. Do not transfer into another container. Keep the label instructions intact
8. Prevent Slips, Trips, and Falls
A healthy home is also about avoiding falls and slips. So remove anything from the floor that may cause you to trip and fall. This means clearing toys, shoes and magazines and cleaning up spills right away.
If you have stairs that need repair, fix them. Replace rugs with nonskid mats. While carrying large or heavy stuff, look where you are going. Make sure you have good lighting in your home. Avoid using chairs and tables as makeshift ladders.
If there are children at home, gently teach them not to run around indoors or jump down the stairs.
9. Poison-proof your space and keep your home healthy
Here is a room-by-room guide to poison-proof your home especially if you have children.
- Kitchen: Keep cabinets with harmful products such as drain cleaners and openers, detergents, oven cleaners locked and out of reach of children.
- Bathroom: Your medicine, makeup, mouthwash, first aid supplies, deodorants, and cleaners should ideally be in a medicine chest with a safety latch and out of reach of your children.
- Bedroom: In your bedroom, keep all medicine, medications, perfumes, makeup, and cigarettes out of children’s reach.
- Living room: Keep liquor, cigarettes, furniture polish, lamp oil, and some plants out of reach of children.
- Garage, basement, laundry room: Store chemicals and poisons such as bleach, antifreeze, gasoline, kerosene, car polishes, car batteries, paints, paint removers, mothballs, bug spray, road salt, etc. out of reach of children.
Extra tips to keep your home healthy
- Avoid smoking cigarettes in your home or car, especially around children
- As mentioned earlier, clean homes are healthy homes. Clear up food and spills right away to prevent bugs and pests.
- Open windows or use fans to let in fresh air whenever someone uses chemicals in the home or garage.
- If you are buying a new carpet, request the salesperson to air it out for a day before delivering it to your home. Preferably, buy carpets during the season when you can have your windows open.
- Vacuum your old carpet well before you remove it to get rid of dust.
- Air out new furniture and building materials for a few days before bringing them inside.
- When shopping for new things for your home, choose non-toxic materials and chemicals
- Keep pets out of bedrooms and living areas.
To maintain a healthy home, remember these seven rules
Keep it dry
Moisture in homes causes a long list of health issues such as respiratory problems to lead poisoning, from accidental injury to asthma. Moisture also attracts mites, rodents, molds, and roaches, all of which trigger asthma attacks.
Keep it clean
A clean home avoids exposure to contaminants and chemicals. It also keeps away pests.
Keep it pest-free
Studies show that there is a causal relationship between mice and cockroach exposure and asthma episodes in children with asthma.
Keep it safe
Childhood injuries such as falls, poisoning and burns often happen at home. This can be avoided when you pay special attention to home safety.
Keep it contaminate-free
There are many potential contaminant exposure risks, including lead, radon, pesticides, volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), tobacco smoke, carbon monoxide, and asbestos.
Keep it ventilated
Studies show that respiratory health is related to access to fresh air, increasing a home’s fresh air supply reduces moisture, improves air quality, and increases respiratory health keeping your home healthy
Keep it well-looked-after
Neglected homes are more at risk for moisture, pest, lead paint and accidental injury than homes that are properly maintained. A healthy home is a well-looked after home!