Posted on: 6 February 2015
You quit smoking, wear a seat-belt in the car, and choose your diet carefully--everything within your power to improve your well-being. But did you know there are elements within your own home that could be affecting your health? Here are three of them, with advice about how to deal with them.
Dust mites are everywhere humans are. They are microscopic arachnids--the same family as spiders. Feeding on tiny bits of debris in dust, including sloughed off human skin, these unseen creatures can cause an allergic reaction in many people.
Typical symptoms are a runny or stuffy nose, especially in the bedroom, where they tend to concentrate. You can confirm a dust mite allergy with skin testing at an allergist's office.
Eliminating dust mites is almost impossible, but you can drastically reduce their population in your home by taking a few steps:
- Remove as much carpeting as possible, as this harbors dust mites. Wood or tile floors are inhospitable to them and easier to clean.
- Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter that won't let vacuumed dust mites escape back into the environment.
- Dust surfaces in the home regularly and thoroughly.
- Use dust mite cases on your mattress and pillows (easily purchased at home stores or online).
Radon is a gas that is emitted in soils from the breakdown of natural uranium in the ground. Radon itself isn't dangerous, but as it keeps decaying, radioactive particles can attach themselves to molecules in the air you breathe and cause health problems, especially lung cancer. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer deaths after smoking--approximately 21,000 per year.
Radon can enter the house through cracks in the floor, walls, or foundation, openings around pipes, construction joints, or even the water supply. It is a worldwide health concern and is present in all US states.
If you want to know if radon is a risk in your home, you can do a home radon test. Certainly if your neighbors have had high levels of radon, you should test your home, and if you are considering buying or selling a home, that property should be tested as well. The US Environmental Protection Agency currently recommends that all homes be tested for radon. Test kits are now easily found at home and hardware stores or can be mail ordered.
If your test reveals levels of greater than 4pCi/L (picaCuries per liter), you need to perform radon mitigation, both for your health and any future sale of your home. Your State Radon Contact can help you with more information about how to find a qualified professional to remove this health risk from your home.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a by-product of many chemical reactions, especially combustion. Combustion reactions include things like running the engine in your car or burning fuel in your stove, furnace, or fireplace.
Carbon monoxide is dangerous, because it will replace oxygen in your bloodstream, meaning your lungs and body are deprived of a vital fuel. Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause headache, difficulty concentrating, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, loss of consciousness, and even death.
Your best protection is to use a carbon monoxide detector in your home, which will alert you when CO levels exceed a safe threshold. You can now purchase smart smoke detectors that include CO detection and will sound an alarm, as well as send messages to your mobile phone or computer, if unsafe levels of CO are detected.
If your CO detector is activated, you need to call the fire department, just as you would if your smoke alarm goes off. They can help you determine the source of the excess CO.
There are many dangers in the world, but your home should be a safe zone from health risks. Be sure to check the three possible dangers above and take steps to correct the situation as best as you can. You can't live in a protective bubble, but you can be proactive about making your home a place to enjoy good health not put it at risk.
To learn more, contact a company like Radon Express with any questions you have.Share