Home. Help Yourself to a Healthy Home . Contents. Asthma and allergies Mold and moisture Carbon monoxide Lead Drinking water Household hazardous products Pesticides Keeping your home safe. Asthma & Allergies. What is Asthma?.
Contents Asthma and allergies Mold and moisture Carbon monoxide Lead Drinking water Household hazardous products Pesticides Keeping your home safe
Asthma & Allergies
What is Asthma? Chronic, inflammatory disorder of the airway, making breathing difficult Usually reversible, but not yet curable Can be fatal Not contagious Not the same as allergies
Should You be Concerned? More than 8 million children in the U.S. from birth to age 18 have the disease called asthma Asthma is a leading reason for school absenteeism
What Happens during an Asthma Episode? Breathing tubes swell up Muscles around these tubes tighten Tubes make large amounts of a thick fluid called mucus
Warning Signs of an Asthma Episode Coughing Wheezing Chest tightness Shortness of breath
When Having a Severe Asthma Episode Go to the emergency room right away Signs of a severe episode Rescue or inhaler medicine does not help within 15 minutes Person’s lips or fingernails are blue Person has trouble walking or talking due to shortness of breath
Other Common Asthma Triggers Cleaning products like furniture polish or dusting sprays Personal care products like hair spray or perfume Flu or colds
What are Allergies? A unusual reaction to something, like a food or a plant, which is normally harmless 40 to 50 million people have allergies Breathing can be difficult
Common Signs of Allergies Stuffy or runny nose Itching A rash
Action Steps Pay attention to your asthma & allergies Healthy housekeeping Control pests & pets Check your appliances No smoking Keep home dry to control mold
Mold and Moisture in Your Home
Should You be Concerned? Mold growth is an indication of excess moisture Molds can affect your health Excess moisture can damage your home—wood rot & household pests
Mold and Moisture Mold & moisture can be seen in & around the home Mold is alive Mold grows on wet surfaces
Mold comes in different colors— white, orange, green, gray & black It can grow out in the open or grow in hidden places Mold often smells musty Mold produces spores that float through the air
When spores get into the lungs they can cause health problems Watery eyes, runny or stuffy noses, sneezing, itching, wheezing, difficulty breathing, headaches & tiredness Asthma attacks
Mold: What We’ve Learned Some molds can cause severe health problems Mold is everywhere, but it isn’t healthy to live where mold grows
Where to Look for Mold Bathrooms—tubs, showers, walls, ceiling & floor Damp basements & crawlspaces Around leaky bathroom & kitchen sinks Attics under roof leaks Windows & walls where there is condensation In closets Under wallpaper or carpet In air conditioner Wet clothes not dried quickly
To Keep Mold from Growing Fix moisture problems quickly, then clean & dry surfaces
Actions to Eliminate Mold Keep surfaces clean & dry Store clothes & towels clean & dry Don’t leave water in drip pans, basements & air conditioners Check relative humidity in your home Wipe down shower walls after bathing or showering Run a fan (vented to the outdoors) or open a window while showering or bathing Run a fan (vented to the outdoors) when cooking
Carbon Monoxide in Your Home
What is Carbon Monoxide? CO Deadly gas Can’t see, taste, feel or smell
What’s the Problem with CO? Kills 5,000 people in U.S. each year Survivors of CO poisoning can suffer from brain damage, loss of sight or hearing, or heart problems
Where Does CO Come From? Gas & oil furnaces, boilers & water heaters Wood burning fireplaces & stoves Gas appliances (ovens, stoves & dryers) Gas and kerosene space heaters Gas & charcoal grills Cars, trucks, campers & other vehicles Gas & liquid propane fueled equipment Tobacco smoke & house fires Blocked chimneys & flues
What are the Signs of CO Poisoning? Headache Weakness Sleepiness Tightness in chest Trouble breathing Nausea Vomiting Dizziness Confusion (Flu- like symptoms)
How can I Protect my Family? Never use charcoal grills or run engines inside home, garage or basement Never warm up vehicle in garage Have furnace, chimney & gas appliances checked Keep chimney & wood burning stove in good working order
Use kerosene , gas heaters & vent-free fireplaces carefully—follow instructions & open window Never use kitchen stove or oven for heat Use kitchen exhaust fan when using oven Make certain gas appliances burn correctly
Carbon Monoxide Alarms At least one for every household Sounds an alarm when CO becomes too high Battery operated
If CO Alarm Sounds Get outside right away Call 911 from phone outside your home Have home checked by qualified heating/appliance technician Don’t go back into the home until all problems are fixed
Lead in the Home
Lead Poisoning Is one of the most serious health threats for children in & around the home
Lead Poisoning Can cause leaning and behavior problems as well as damage hearing & the nervous system
Where Does Lead Come from? Paint Water pipes Gasoline Pottery Other places
How are Children Poisoned by Lead? Eating dust or paint chips with lead Crawling on floor Putting toys in mouths Playing in soil
Lead Poisoning 1 in 40 American children have too much lead in their bodies A blood test is the only way to tell if your child is being exposed to lead
What about Your Home? Do you live in an older home? Is there cracking, chipping or flaking paint in your home? Are there places where paint is being rubbed—around window frame or door?
Has your home been recently remodeled or renovated? Do you have water pipes made with lead, or pipes joined with lead solder? Is there lead in the soil outside your home?
Do you have a child under the age of 6 who hasn’t been tested?
The Blood Test for Lead It only takes a small blood sample Ask your health care provider about testing Lead levels are measured in micrograms per deciliter—if it is 10 or over, the level is too high Your health care provider can help you find out what else to do
Action Steps for Lead Have your children tested for lead Find out if your home has lead Protect your children from lead If lead is in pipes, take steps to reduce If someone brings home lead, take steps to reduce it Test your soil Feed your children a healthy diet
When in Doubt, Check it Out! For blood tests call your family doctor or public health clinic For testing of paint samples & drinking water, call your local health department
Safe Water is Important Used for drinking, cooking, cleaning, bathing, etc.
Unsafe Water Puts Children at Risk Why? Immune system still developing Bodies still growing
What May be in Drinking Water that is Unsafe? Bacteria & viruses Nitrates Lead & copper Other harmful chemicals
Bacteria and Viruses Can make you sick (upset stomach, diarrhea or serious illness) Can be worse for children, pregnant women & sick or older people
Problems: metal from pipes, etc. Learning disabilities in children Behavior problems in children Chronic digestive problems in adults & children
Check Your Pipes
Lead Pipes/Solder used in homes before 1988 dull gray color, scratches easily with a key Copper reddish brown in color may be used in new faucets
Public Water Supply
Tested for over 80 different kinds of chemicals Company must notify you about unsafe water Water test results made public annually
If your drinking water comes from a private well or spring, it is up to you to keep it clean and safe
Private Water Supply
Has it been more than two years since your water was tested?
Household Hazardous Products
Many Household Products are Dangerous for Your Children Cleaners Batteries Pesticides Automotive products Paints & solvents
Household Hazardous Products are CalledHazardous if…..
they can cause harm when not used properly
How Can These Products be Harmful? Toxic/poisonous (cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, injury, death) Corrosive (burn skin & eyes) Flammable (can be set on fire)
What Can a Parent do? Use hazardous products safely Store hazardous products carefully Dispose of hazardous products properly
Store Safely Store in original container Close tightly after use Store 150 ft from well or water pump Keep away from heat, sparks or fire Store in locked or secure place out of reach of children Store batteries & flammable chemicals away from direct sunlight
Use Safely Read the label Look for the signal words (caution, warning, flammable, harmful, danger, poison) Follow directions & special instructions
Use Safely Keep children away Put away after use No eating or smoking when using hazardous products Never mix products
You Can Reduce the Hazards by… Buy only what you need Prevent pest problems Use safe products instead Keep Poison Control Center telephone number in visible location Keep syrup of Ipecac in medicine cabinet (use only when advised by medical person)
Dispose of Safely Give away Take to community hazardous waste collection point Read label for instructions Never dump or burn Recycle
Remember Children’s Bodies are Small A little bit of some chemicals can cause big problems
Protect Your Children and Yourself from Illness and Injury
Use, store , & dispose of household hazardous products safely
Pesticides in the Home
Pesticides are Things We Use to Prevent and Kill Pests Bug sprays Pet flea collars Rat poison Bleach Garden weed killer Bug Spray
Children are at Risk Crawl & play on floors & lawns Put things in their mouths From foods Accidental poisoning
Broken, loose or torn screens Gaps or holes in home Dirty floors, counters & dishes Spilled foods Storing garbage where pests can reach Roof or plumbing leaks Storing food in containers without lids Why do You Have Pests?
Questions about Using Pesticides Do you ever use air borne sprays like flea bombs or roach sprays? Do you use flea collars, sprays or powder? Do you use pesticides without reading labels? Bug – B – Gone
Do you use pesticides when children or pets are in the room? Do you eat, drink or smoke while using pesticides? Do you use bug repellant on your kids? Do you serve fruits & vegetables without washing thoroughly?
Storing and Disposing of Pesticides Store pesticides in their original containers Only buy the amount that you need or will be able to use Never use an empty pesticide container for something else
Store pesticides away from food in a locked cabinet or where children can’t reach them Dispose of pesticides according to the label instructions Dispose of pesticide containers in a way where children & pets can’t reach them
Keep Pests out of Your Home Seal cracks & crevices where pests can enter the home Check things like bags & boxes for roaches before bringing them into the house Teach your children not to share combs, hats or coats at school or daycare
TIPS for Preparing Food Wash & scrub all fruits & vegetables under running water After washing, peel all fruits & vegetables when possible Throw away the outer leaves of leafy vegetables Trim fat from meat & skin from poultry and fish—some pesticides collect in the fat Eat a variety of foods from a variety of sources
Use lawn seed & plants that are disease resistant & grow well in your area Decide if you can tolerate a few weeds or insects Pull or hoe weeds Clean up dead leaves & debris to remove pests Use pesticides only if there is a problem Use the least toxic chemical you can find for the job TIPS for Lawn and Garden
TIPS for Using Bug Repellant When putting bug repellant on children, read all directions first Don’t apply over cuts or broken skin Do not apply to eyes, mouth, hands or directly on the face Use just enough to cover skin or clothing Don’t use it under clothing
Keeping Your Home Safe
Did you Know . . .
Your chances of getting hurt at home are higher than at work or school?
Leading Causes of Death at Home Falls Poisoning Fires & burns Choking Drowning
Who is Most Likely to be Hurt? The very old The very young
Slips, Trips and Falls Keep floors free of things that can be tripped over or slipped on Keep stairs in good shape Eliminate throw rugs
Slips, Trips and Falls Make certain you can see where you are going when carrying big loads Keep your home well lighted
Poison Proof Your Home Potential dangers exist in all rooms Look through your home for poisonous products Store dangerous products out of children’s reach
Medicine Mouthwash Makeup First aid supplies Deodorant Cleaners Perfumes Cigarettes Furniture polish Liquor Plants Bleach Anti-freeze Gasoline Kerosene Pesticides What Products are Dangerous? Here are just a few items. . .
Keep this number near the phone: 1-800-222-1222
Hazard Hound “Paws Off” can help keep children safe
Choking and Suffocation Keep an eye on young children while eating & playing Pick toys that are right for your child’s age
Choking and Suffocation Don’t let children play with balloons Don’t let children play near cars or old appliances Keep plastic bags & covers away from children
Drowning If you have a pool: Fence the pool area Don’t leave toys in the pool Have children walk, not run, in pool area Watch children at all times
Adults & older children should learn CPR Children should wear safety gear – helmets, kneepads, etc. Children should use seat belts, ride in the back seat & use car seats for smaller children Store guns safely Other Safety Concerns