Home is where we spend a significant amount of time. Aside from work, it is perhaps the one place that has the most influence on us with regards to the environment within which we exist. Unknown to many people, however, houses tend to carry many health risks that cannot be easily identified if investigative medical discovery is not done. If you come down with a cough, for instance, your doctor may not immediately know that it has to do with something in your house, but will assume it is pathogenic and prescribe some medication. Research has shown that what many people treat as normal or pathogenic occurrences are actually allergies that can easily be treated by eliminating the allergen.
In order to find out whether your home is having a negative impact on your health and well being, you need to ask yourself a few questions, which we will ask here and also attempt to answer so as to give some perspective to the notion.
Do you feel unwell when you are home?
Notice I used the word unwell, not sick. The assumption here is that many people go to hospital when they feel sick but tend to be less motivated to go to hospital when they merely feel “out of it”. This feeling of malaise and a general lack of energy could be as a result of an allergic reaction. Studies have shown that certain compounds such as paint thinners and varnish have a depressive effect on the brain and this then causes feelings of laziness, low spirits and even irritability. Performing a substance audit of your house can help you discover if this is an issue for you.
Do you sneeze every morning uncontrollably?
Micro fiber allergies as well as mold tend to affect home occupants in the course of the night because this is when you are in the house for an extended period, not moving around and your body is in a depressed mode of activity. Inhaling micro fibers and mold spores overnight causes a buildup of mucus in the nasal cavity and sinuses and when you wake up, this triggers a bout of sneezing and a running nose. Another culprit in this regard could be leaving the air conditioner running on low temperatures and so when temperatures fall when you are asleep; your body catches a chill but only reacts when you wake up.
Do you feel irritable and uneasy when you are home?
This could have nothing to do with your wife or husband’s attitude. It could be your house affecting your mood. Remember, many different chemicals and compounds go into the furniture and fittings in our houses and some of these substances could cause irritability and edginess. Again, in the same way some substances depress, others increase awareness and cause hyperactivity in the brain. This is a challenging situation especially when you have come home to rest and relax but all you feel is jumpy and on edge. Having an experiences toxicologist run through the different materials in your home, and also around your home could help find the culprit. Of course this has to be done after making peace with your nagging spouse.
These are just some of the things that lurk within a house and may cause harm. Other more deadly substances may find their way into your home such as salmonella or toxic molds but these are rare occurrences and do not affect a large number of households. Being informed, however, is being prepared for any possible eventuality.
Guest post by Scott Ryan, writing for the Window Exchange Service, a home improvement firm and home health and safety advocate.