Hidden Dangers: Is Your Home Damaging Your Family’s Health?



Our homes should be our sanctuaries; a safe place to bring up our families and relax. Sometimes hidden dangers around our homes can be putting our lives and those of our loved ones at risk. From allergies to musculoskeletal problems, the best way to protect yourself and your family from lurking problems is by being aware, prepared, and mindful. Here are some of the most common causes of health issues which hide around the average family home, and how you can avoid them being a problem.

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Carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas which can be emitted from unsafe gas appliances and can be lethal when inhaled over a short period of time. Symptoms include a headache, dizziness, nausea, tiredness and confusion, and a feeling of breathlessness. If you suspect yourself or a member of your family could be suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, get them urgent medical care, and evacuate your building.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can be avoided with two simple steps. Firstly, ensure any gas appliances in your home are regularly checked by a qualified gas engineer to ensure they are working safely. Secondly, install a carbon monoxide detector. They are inexpensive, simple to set up and maintain, and can literally save lives – every home should have one.

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Sun glare

While natural light is important for our feelings of wellbeing and our mental health, too much visible light entering your home during the day can cause fading on furniture, but can also lead to eye strain. This is particularly problematic when the sun’s rays reflect from an object on which you focus for long periods of time, such as a computer screen or a television. The result of this eye strain is headaches, dry and itchy eyes, and a difficulty focussing, and long term can lead to eye problems that could require glasses.

This can be easily avoided by adding an anti-glare covering to your computer and installing anti-glare window film, such as the films available from the LLumar Window Film Dealers. This serves to decrease glare, meaning discomfort and possible long term implications are eradicated.

Dust mites

The most common cause of allergies in the home, perhaps after animal hair, is dust mites. While it’s not possible to completely eradicate them from your home, it’s a good idea to keep them to a minimum, as when they accumulate in large numbers you or your family could start to exhibit uncomfortable allergy symptoms.

Keeping your home vacuum cleaned, pillows and duvets covered with bed sheets, and keeping all fabric regularly washed should help to keep the numbers manageable. Any area which is warm and slightly damp can become a hotspot in which dust mites thrive, so bathroom mats and mattresses should be cleaned or replaced regularly to keep the number down. If anyone in your home exhibits symptoms of a dust mite allergy, over the counter antihistamines should help to reduce the problem.

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Your mattress

Your bed should be the ultimate place of comfort and relaxation, but in fact, many people are sleeping on a mattress that is not suitable for their needs. Firstly, a bad mattress can cause discomfort which leads to sleep loss, which over long periods of time can lead to depression and anxiety. Secondly, sleeping on a mattress which does not properly support your body can lead to long-lasting physiological problems, such as back or joint pain. If you find that you wake up feeling poorly rested and achy in the morning, the chances are that either your mattress or your pillows need aren’t right for you.

Obviously, replacing your mattress is the best way to solve this problem. Mattress toppers can be a cheaper alternative to replacing your entire mattress, but ensure you choose a good quality option, as they have a tendency to shift around on the bed, and may not help to offer the support you require. Don’t buy your mattress online without first trying it in store – there is just no point in spending that quantity of money on something which isn’t perfect for you. If you already suffer from back problems, it could be worth investing in an orthopedic mattress to help to lessen your symptoms.

Office furniture

Poorly made home office furniture can cause all manner of physiological problems, especially if you work from home for long periods. Ergonomic office furniture, made with comfort and efficiency in mind, not only increases your productivity, but can also help you to improve your posture, and reduces every day wear and tear such as repetitive strain injury or carpal tunnel that results from being seated at a desk for long periods of time.

To avoid the problems caused by poor home office furniture, ensure you choose furniture which has sufficient lumbar support for your back, as well as adjustable height for ultimate support. Remember to get up from your desk, walk around, and stretch your limbs at least once every hour to ensure you’re not hurting yourself.

Mold spores

It is a common misconception that clean homes with no visible mold are actually free from mold. Mold likes to hide in unlikely places, and air vents are a prime location. They like damp areas in which to thrive, so air conditioning vents are perfect as they gather water as they cool. Bathrooms and kitchens are also common locations, especially around taps and leaking fittings. Mold spore inhalation causes symptoms such as headaches, joint pains, light-headedness, coughing, and skin complaints, and can worsen asthma in children.

The most effective way of keeping your home mold free is by drying areas as soon as they get damp before mold can take a hold. Getting air ducts cleaned by a professional on a yearly basis is a good way to ensure mold isn’t hiding in the dark recesses of your home as well.

While your home is your safe haven, there are a few common problems which could be compromising your health and that of your family members. Don’t worry though; they’re all easily prevented!