We think of our homes as comforting environments that shelter us from the cold and keep us safe. But do they? Charlotte Meier of Home Safety Hub, which connects people to resources and educational materials in order to prevent injuries and loss of property and save lives, is here to share about four areas in our home that we might not consider as being harmful to our health – and what you can do to reduce the negative impact.
When most people think of allergies, they think of pollen and animal dander. Assuming you don’t have pets or pollen-rich houseplants, your home seems like it should be a safe, allergen-free place – in theory. However, there are a number of areas and seemingly harmless objects in your home that could be causing you symptoms of allergies or something worse.
If you are experiencing headaches, coughing, sneezing, or other seemingly unexplained symptoms, or you’ve developed a chronic health condition, here are a few areas in your home that could be harboring some hidden dangers.
Interestingly enough, your bathmat may be one of the worst places in your home for bacteria growth and allergens. They exist in a moist environment, are often wet, and rarely experience air flow. When combined, these conditions are ideal for bacteria and mold growth which can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms.
The best way to prevent your bathmat from impacting your health is to wash it regularly, dry it after use, and dry yourself in the shower before stepping onto the mat.
Few people realize how problematic a dirty air duct can be. The process of keeping a home cool leaves residual moisture in your ducts, creating the perfect home for mold. As the air continues to flow through these ducts, mold spores are pushed into your home for you and your family to breathe. Since your air ducts aren’t exactly visible to you as you walk around your home, it can be easy to forget that they’re even there.
To keep your home mold-free, you should be hiring a professional to come in and clean your air ducts annually. Additionally, some companies can perform energy audits throughout your entire home to identify problematic concerns such as moisture (contributing to mold and mildew), air leaks (which could be driving up your heating and cooling costs), and contamination or leaks in your air duct system, among others. The cost of an energy audit is often less than you’ll save by rectifying any troublesome findings.
Dust mites are likely the most common indoor allergy. It may be impossible to rid your home of dust mites entirely, but an excess of these little freeloaders can wreak havoc on your respiratory tract. Dust mites prefer to live in warm, humid environments, meaning your bed and pillow are perfect places for mites to take up residence. Of course, they can also be found in upholstery, carpet, towels, blankets, and other such places.
To keep the dust mite levels in your home low, you should be vacuuming regularly, keeping your towels and blankets clean, and properly covering your pillow and mattress. If you have a particularly old mattress or pillow, now may be the time to invest in new bedding.
If you haven’t inspected the plumbing in your home recently, it might be a good time to do so. A leaky pipe can easily cause mold to grow within your home. Some varieties of mold can be a serious health concern. Black mold is one of the most common toxic molds found in homes and can cause sneezing, coughing, persistent headaches, and chronic fatigue.
Hiring a professional plumber can be the best way to guarantee your home is mold-free. Always consult a professional to inspect your home if you suspect mold could be causing health concerns for your family.
Keeping your home allergen-free is not hard when you know what to do. Be sure to focus on your problem areas including the bathroom, plumbing, bed, and air ducts. If necessary, do not be afraid to hire a professional. Your family’s health and well-being are far more important than a little extra money spent hiring an expert.