Your home is your haven, but there can be dangers lurking in even the most comfortable house. Some of these dangers are hidden away and the only evidence you have that something is wrong is when members of your family begin to get sick. Chronic breathing problems, from allergy symptoms to asthma, can be exacerbated by some of these common household issues.
Dust and Dander
People and pets are constantly sloughing off dead skin cells into the air, which collect on every surface. They can make it difficult to breathe if they are allowed to pile up for too long. Dust can also creep into the most tightly sealed home. While dander may contain specific allergens, dust is a general irritant to nasal passages. The best way to avoid getting sick from dust and dander is to change your air conditioning or furnace system filters at least every three months.
Leaking Gas Fixtures
If you have a gas stove, gas oven, or gas dryer you can experience a gas leak at any time. Gas leaks are dangerous for several reasons. At a mild level they can cause headaches and nausea. At higher concentrations, natural gas can cause you to pass out and asphyxiate in your sleep. Gas is also dangerous because it can combust easily. Be sure to check your gas fixtures at least once every six months to make sure everything is properly sealed and safe.
Mold or Old Asbestos
Excessive water can cause mold to grow on wall surfaces or in crawl spaces under your home. Many older structures were built with insulation that contained asbestos. Both can cause serious breathing problems that sometimes become chronic. Have your home checked for mold every other year. Also, consider having a crawl space encapsulation implemented to provide a more permanent form of protection from mold and asbestos.
Pests or Rodents
Roaches, mice, and rats leave droppings and urine everywhere they travel. If they are in the walls of your home, you are breathing the toxins from the droppings constantly. Fleas and bedbugs live on the blood of humans and animals, and can carry diseases to you and your family. Seal cracks in walls, seal food tightly, and if necessary spread safe pesticides to protect yourself from these parasites.
Every home has potential health hazards. The first thing to do is understand what those hazards might be. Once you understand the problem, you can keep yourself and your family safer at home.