6 Common Household Hazards to Know & How to Prevent Them
Nothing feels better than the safety of your own home, but there is actually a wide array of hazards that could compromise your well-being. While you may think of children when it comes to safety hazards, individuals of any age can be affected as well.
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Thankfully, most of these threats are easy to identify and can be avoided with just a little bit of know-how. To keep you and your family safe, here’s a list of common household hazards you should be aware of and follow these tips to mitigate them.
Mould is a common household hazard that is often found in Malaysian homes due to our high-level of humidity. This fungus puts tiny spores into the air and can cause breathing problems, asthma, and other allergies. It loves fresh foods, plants, and damp areas such as kitchen sinks, toilets, and bathtubs.
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The solution: Mould is a problem that should be tackled early or as soon as it's discovered. To prevent both visible and undetectable mould, keep your home’s moisture levels low using a dehumidifier.
If you notice mould growth, remove them immediately using soap and water. For bigger, tougher mould infestations you may need a commercial cleaner or bleach. One cup of bleach mixed with 3.7 litres of water creates a powerful cleaning agent. Never use more than one cup per 3.7 litres, and never mix bleach with ammonia or any other household cleaner. After cleaning an area infected with mould, dry the area. Mould removal may take more than one cleaning so clean the area thoroughly on a regular basis to prevent further growth.
2. Slippery floors
Injuries due to falls are one of the most common household hazards. Bathtubs and showers can be very slippery when wet, and can therefore be a threat to family members of any age. A puddle of water on the floor, a liquid spill and even toys or clothes lying on the floor can cause a fall too.
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The solution: While you may not be able to control accidents from happening, there are many things you can do around your home to minimize risks. For instance, you can install anti-slip or rubber mats to prevent falls from wet surfaces especially in the bathroom or kitchen. You should also consider installing extra rails or grab bars in your bathroom if necessary.
Make sure your home has good lighting so you have clear visibility of any spilt water or potential hazards on the floors. You should also keep obstacles, such as shoes, toys, and clothes, out of walkways and doorways to avoid tripping when walking around your home.
3. Swimming pools or ponds
Installing a swimming pool is a great way to get exercise from the privacy and comfort of your own home, but it can be dangerous around children and those who don’t know how to swim.
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The solution: If you choose to own a swimming pool you should have the proper safety fencing, and door locks installed on your home. Put up a barrier that's at least 1.2 meters high, along with childproof latches. Pool covers give another layer of protection but keep the controls hidden away. You should also never leave small children aged 4 and below in an unsupervised situation when water is about.
4. Medications and cleaning supplies
While we mostly think of poisoning as something that happens to children, it’s something that actually affects people of all ages. Most unintentional deaths from poisoning in the home are due to consuming prescribed medications and household cleaning products.
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The solution: There are a few things that you can do to prevent accidental poisonings in your home. Store your prescriptions in a locked drawer or cabinet, away from children and adults or teens who may abuse them.
Household chemicals and cleaning supplies must also be kept out of reach and on high shelves away from children. If you have to put chemicals in low cabinets, keep them locked, and never put household cleaners in old soft drink bottles or food containers that might confuse and entice children to take a sip.
5. Poor indoor air quality
We tend to think of air pollution as something outside - smog, ozone, or haze hanging in the air. But the truth is, the air inside our home can be more polluted than you think. Indoor air pollution comes from various sources, including, dust, pet dander, candle smoke, cooking particles and etc. It can trigger allergy symptoms, such as a runny or stuffy nose, watery eyes, sneezing and a scratchy throat.
If your indoor air quality is particularly bad, you could develop more severe symptoms, such as chest tightness or shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness or nausea.
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The solution: While it is not possible to rid of all indoor pollution, it can be controlled by installing an air purifier. An air purifier especially with a HEPA filter can significantly reduce allergens and pollutants in your home and help circulate clean air.
Explore: How to Choose the Best Air Purifier
You can also use certain houseplants to detoxify indoor air naturally. Plants like peace lilies, snake plants, golden pothos, English ivy, Chinese evergreen and rubber plants are a great choice as they help purify the air by minimizing the effects of pollutants such as formaldehyde, ammonia and carbon monoxide.
6. Mosquitoes and flies
Mosquitoes and flies can be a common nuisance for any homeowner plus they can pose a threat to your health. Flies can carry diseases such as food poisoning, E.coli, cholera, etc., while mosquitoes are a common cause of dengue fever in Malaysia.
The solution: Flies are attracted to dirty dishes in the sink, unlidded trash cans and compost bins, and half-empty pet food bowls. So empty your trash daily, clear food scraps, and clean your pet’s food bowl regularly to keep flies away from your home.
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Mosquitoes rest in dark and humid areas and breeds in stagnant water. To get rid of mosquitoes, remove their entire breeding habitat by emptying, turning over, cover, or throw out any items that hold stagnant water like containers, buckets, planters, toys, pools or flower pot saucers.
You should also consider putting up a net on your windows and doors to prevent mosquitoes or flies from entering your home.
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