Making Sure Your Home is Healthy
When you think of your health, your home is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. However, where you live is an essential part of your health. In fact, this is so true that Gov. John R. Kasich declared April "Healthy Homes Awareness Month.” A healthy home is designed, built, and maintained to support health while preventing disease and injury. There are many aspects of a home that make it healthy. To assess your home for potential health risks or safety hazards, conduct a Healthy Homes Environmental Visual Assessment of your home.
One health hazard that can be found in the structure of your home is lead-based paint. Today, childhood lead poisoning is considered the most preventable environmental disease among young children, yet approximately half a million U.S. children have blood lead levels above 5 micrograms per deciliter, the reference value for childhood lead poisoning. Lead poisoning affects nearly every system in the body, but has its most devastating and lasting effects on the developing brains of children less than 6 years of age. Children with lead levels over 5 micrograms per deciliter may have learning and behavior problems as the result of lead poisoning. Have your children tested for lead if your child lives in or regularly visits a home built before 1978. If you live in an older home, then have your home tested for lead-based paint by a licensed professional.
The severity of other health issues, such as asthma and allergies, can be reduced by keeping your home clean and dry. Mold can be an asthma trigger and can affect the respiratory system of others breathing its spores. Mold needs water or moisture to thrive and spread. Fix leaks and discard moldy items to reduce your exposure to mold spores which cause respiratory symptoms. Keeping your home clean and dry also can prevent the pests that can trigger asthma and allergies. To guard against these unwanted visitors, take out the trash often and clean up spills and food crumbs immediately. Store food and water in sealed containers and put your pet’s food away between feedings.
You can also improve the overall state of your home by doing a safety inspection. Identify and eliminate clutter, rugs, and slippery surfaces that can lead to slips, trips, and falls. Fix loose stairs, handrails, and flooring issues when they are first identified. Install a carbon monoxide detector and smoke alarm on each floor of your home and near all sleeping areas. Radon testing should also be considered. Radon is an odorless, colorless gas that can’t be detected without testing. Use a licensed professional for radon testing and when having a radon mitigation system installed.
For more information on healthy homes, please visit ODH’s Ohio Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, which takes a comprehensive approach to helping Ohioans maintain a residence that is safe and healthy.
Last Updated: 4/7/2017