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The hidden causes of ill-health at home

Written by Pooja Ganeriwala |Updated : April 3, 2015 3:45 PM IST

germs-kitchenMost people think that it's the outdoors crowded places, construction sites and muddy-damp areas during the rains are places where diseases breed. These are the areas you might avoid like the plague, in order to avoid, well, catching a plague! However, did you know that you could have been overlooking one very potential, disease-breeding zone? Your home. That's right.

And this is true even for the ones who endeavour to keep their homes very clean, nearly all the time.

Disease-causing viruses are present in the little corners you generally overlook, or forget to reach out for. It may not be a lack of effort on your part to keep the house clean enough, but more the lack of knowledge about where, and what to keep an eye out for. Let's take a look at the leading causes of ill-health at home:

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Mould

Mould is a form of fungi that usually grows in damp places, such as behind appliances with plumbing leaks, on leaky roofs/walls, bathrooms and the kitchen. Most of us don't realise it, but mould can cause multiple health problems, and in extreme cases, can even cause death.

Why it is dangerous: Continuous exposure to mould can result in one or many of the following symptoms headache, muscle and joint pain, memory loss, anxiety, shortness of breath, immune system disturbances, depression, and visual disturbances. So next time you see leaky tap, don't ignore it as a trivial problem that can be fixed later.

How it can be eliminated: The best and surest way to get rid of mould is to get a professional agency to rid your house of it, to maintain absolute cleanliness, to repair leaks in time, and to control the humidity levels in your home.

Bed Bugs

The very name is enough to give nightmares to the ones who have been affected by these wretched little creatures, the primary cause behind disturbed sleep! Known to hibernate and survive in cool conditions without a meal, for up to an entire year, bed bugs are most commonly found in mattress seams, furniture, behind photo frames, and in cracks and crevices. They are the size of an apple seed, and feed on the blood of the host while he/she is asleep.

Why it is dangerous: What makes bed bugs exceedingly nasty is that they can travel from one place to another bed bugs from your hotel room will take refuge in your luggage, follow you home, and infest your home. It is advisable to catch bed bugs early so as to prevent them from breeding. They grow in hundreds, and before you know it, you'll have a bug army breeding behind your bed.

How it can be eliminated: Cleaning mattresses, inspecting furniture, and being generally aware about the cleanliness at home, will help keep bed bugs at bay.

Flies

There is no menace like fly menace. If your kitchen is not clean, if your house is cluttered with things strewn around, or if you live near an unhygienic construction site, then the chances of the fly invasion, increases multi-fold.

Why it is dangerous: Flies can cause a number of infectious diseases, therefore it is imperative to keep them out of your home.

How it can be eliminated: Increase the sanitation levels, invest in good quality fly repellents, and curb the fly infestation before your health is compromised.

Pets

You love your dog (or cat?), coddle them, and pamper them silly! But do you also realise that your pet could possibly be making you ill?

Why it is dangerous: You might not like hearing it, but fact is that humans stand the risk of catching virus', bacteria, and/or worms (tapeworms, hookworms, roundworms) from pet animals.

How it can be eliminated: Maintain the highest level of sanitation for your pet. Bathe them frequently, take them to the vet for regular checks, ensure they are disease-free and keep them away from other disease prone areas when you take them outdoors.

Dust Mites

Tiny bugs that live in dust, are the primary cause of dust mite allergic reactions. Dust mites thrive in humid conditions, and live beneath carpets, and upholstered furniture in most homes.

Why it is dangerous: Exposure to dust mites can cause allergies like a running nose, fever, discomfort and difficulty in breathing.

How it can be eliminated: The only sure way to keep dust mites away is to vacuum your home, and keep it squeaky clean. You could also install air purifiers if required.

Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes how we hate those pesky biters! You have more to worry about than about stinging, itching, nasty mosquito bites.

Why it is dangerous: The thing about mosquitoes is that though tiny, they are extremely dangerous, as they are also the primary carriers of diseases like dengue and malaria, which have often proven fatal.

How it can be eliminated: To ensure that mosquitoes don't make your home, their home, you need to maintain high sanitation levels, and keep your kitchen, toilets, cupboards, and closets clean. If mosquitos do end up infesting your home in large numbers, buy a mosquito spray, lace your windows with a protective wire mesh, and if needed apply a repellent cream on yourself at night.

Rats and rodents

What can be scarier than to have big, ugly, fat and hairy rats/rodents running around in your home? We can think of few things, really! Get them out now, not only because of your fear, but for your good health.

Why it is dangerous: Rats and rodents are omnivorous, and feed on any food that they can lay their tiny fast-moving hands on. Once they find comfort in your kitchen/home/office, they are likely to make it their personal space, scurry around, feed on food and eventually multiply into hundreds. These tiny creatures shed hair from their bodies, continuously urinate and defecate, thereby poisoning the premises. If humans were to ingest food infected by rat residue, then the result can also be fatal.

How it can be eliminated: The first step to eliminating the rats and rodents is identifying their presence in your home. If you notice dark brown droppings on your premises, then you know that the rats have invaded. Laying rat/rodent traps, ultra-sound repellers (these emit a sound that is inaudible to the human ear but uncomfortable to rats), and/or calling in professional rat catchers, is a sure shot way of getting rid of rats/rodents.

The causes of ill-health at home, as you just read, are at best avoidable. All you need is knowledge, preparedness and willingness to wage a battle against these home-grown disease spreaders. Once armed, there is slight chance of losing. Are you ready then?

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