We often think that illnesses come from outside our homes and that we bring them in with us. But sometimes, the cause of an illness can be hiding inside our homes, making us sick without us ever realising it. Or something there can be little signs that we don’t realise could indicate a health problem causing an issue in the property.
When you landlord tells you not to worry about that little leak from the bathroom sink or the small dark patch in the corner of the bedroom where the guttering is loose, don’t listen to him. Leaks are one of the top ways that problems like damp can get into your home and this leads to some very tasty conditions that can affect your health such as black mould. Also, a higher level of moisture in the home can lead to conditions such as dry rot and wet rot which can cause allergies and affect people with respiratory problems.
As well as water leaking into a property, it can also rise up from the ground and cause a damp problem. This is known as rising damp and is normally stopped by the damp proofing course in the house. However, if this is missing or isn’t working properly, then you need to get your landlord to have a damp specialist come and check the property. Peeling wallpaper is a classic sign along with marks on the wall from the water and again, problems like black mould can grow.
People often think that clean homes don’t get dust mites but this isn’t the case – the mites don’t care about clean or dirty, only warm and moist. This makes any bedding susceptible to them and they can, in turn, cause nasty allergic reactions or problems for people with asthma. Regular vacuuming and washing can help prevent them spreading through bedding, curtains and soft furniture.
The vacuum cleaner
As the main way you clean your home, the vacuum cleaner can be overlooked as requiring its own cleaning. But all those nasty substances that are sucked up during its work can fester inside the bag or cylinder and can escape while in use. So regularly changing the vacuum bag, emptying the cylinder and following manufacturer’s cleaning instructions can help prevent anything unpleasant building up and transferring from the vacuum to your carpets or furniture.
The shower head is another thing associated with cleanliness that could actually be working against you. Showers can see the build-up of bacteria called Mycobacterium avium at levels up to 100 times more than the water in the rest of the house. This can be quite serious bacteria that can cause lung infections and heart problems if inhaled or swallowed – symptoms include breathlessness, coughing and fatigue. It is particularly worrying for anyone with a weak immune system such as diabetics. Regular cleaning of the shower head can remove the risk and if the shower is in a poor condition, talk to your landlord about replacing it.