They say that your environment and living conditions can affect you in many ways – that’s true. A clean, lively home is an integral part of living a wholesome and healthy life. A dirty, dusty, and damp home, on the other hand, can be hazardous to one’s health.
People spend roughly 90% of their time indoors, and most of that time is likely being spent at home. This percentage highlights the potential impact of housing on a person’s health and mood. Yes, a home is supposed to be the safest place on earth. Where you decompress, wear whatever you want (without feeling guilty), and spend more time with your family. But if there’s a slight chance that it’s raising nothing but problems for your health, it is time for you to dive deeper into the subject.
Many aspects of a home can devour you (mentally and physically). For instance, mold or poor air conditioning can not only affect you physically (such as causing breathing problems, etc.) but also psychologically. Simply said, a home is a health-related social determinant. A haven away from potential dangers can foster wellbeing. Living in unsafe or unsuitable housing conditions, on the other hand, may lead to disparities and play a role in health problems such as chronic diseases.
As of now, you may have many questions – we understand. However, to “know” how your house is deteriorating your mental and physical wellbeing, it is crucial to understand the signs and effects.
In this article, we will discuss how shabby and poor housing can affect a person’s health:
- Serious medical conditions
If your house was constructed before 1978, you should be worried about the dangers of lead.
Before that time, most houses in the United States were painted with lead-based paint because scientists were unaware of the risks the chemical could cause. However, after a few medical research works, people learned that lead exposure could cause damage to the brain, nervous system, kidneys, and other organs. Besides that, vinyl floor tiles and steam pipes contained lethal amounts of asbestos. Asbestos is a carcinogen known for causing mesothelioma, a rare but fatal type of cancer.
To ensure your safety from the dangers of lead paint and asbestos, have your home tested if it was built before 1978. Take-home tests, for this purpose, are available at hardware stores and on the internet. Moreover, suppose you do discover lead or asbestos in your home. In that case, you should consider hiring someone to remove it because the process is quite complicated.
- Skin conditions
During the cleaning process, fabrics are frequently overlooked. However, the material is a common source of body oils and dead skin cells. Dirty sheets, in particular, can harm your overall health. Bed sheets can harbor bacteria that aggravate various skin conditions, including eczema and acne. You can also suffer from a great deal of social stigma and self-esteem issues, which, if unaddressed, can lead to stress and depression. Thus, consider washing your bedding at least once or twice every week to minimize the risk of toxins ruining your skin.
- Becoming allergic all of a sudden
Start feeling extra allergic or sick for no apparent reason? Contaminated heating and cooling ducts could be to blame. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a small amount of dust in these pipes is normal and essentially harmless. However, mold and other debris can accumulate in significant amounts, wreaking havoc on your health.
Studies are still debating whether dusting the ducts thwarts these health issues. Still, the vast majority agree that eliminating mold and other pathogens from heavily contaminated pipes is a wise move that could lead to better housing conditions.
- Mental health problems
While hygienic and excellent housing conditions benefit your physical health, did you know they can also help your mental health? According to multiple studies, a cluttered home contributes to depression, poor concentration, and stress. When a person’s house is filthy, they may feel overwhelmed, out of control, and anxious. A clean, uncluttered home can also make daily tasks much more manageable.
Having all of your clothing neatly hung, for example, makes it easier to get ready in the morning. When your home is clean and neat, you can relax and unwind with peace of mind. A clean, decluttered house can help you feel more in control of your life and personal wellbeing.
- Never having enough energy or will to do anything
Gas, which cannot be smelled or seen, can be produced by furnaces, water heaters, automobiles,
and fireplaces. If it isn’t vented out and builds up in your home, it can be fatal to your body and brain. Install carbon monoxide detectors inside and make proper use of appliances. Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms include shortness of breath, confusion, dizziness, nausea, and weakness. These symptoms can also lead you to believe that you cannot perform even menial tasks, further causing you to deplete in sorrow.
So, watch out for the gas inside your home, and if you have any of the symptoms mentioned above, get fresh air.
- A weak nervous system and respiratory issues
Sore throat, congestion, coughing are some of the most common symptoms of mold exposure. Prolonged mold exposure can weaken your immune system and cause respiratory illnesses like asthma. Mycotoxins, found in certain molds, have been linked to cancer and liver and kidney disease. While eliminating mold is nearly impossible, there are steps you can take to help minimize it. Begin by identifying any sources of dampness in your home — pipes, basements, and roofs are all familiar places for mold to hide.
Work on repairing the origins of the dampness next. After that, use vinegar or borax to remove any remaining moisture. Mold can also grow on food, so ensure to clean your refrigerator thoroughly. Moreover, wear gloves and eye protection when cleaning mold (or any other toxin) to reduce your exposure.
So, these were the effects of living in shabby and unwelcoming homes. Poor quality housing leads to various adverse outcomes. However, it is essential to understand that no two people are the same, and most of us might not be affected as much as the other guy. Still, it is wise not to throw caution into the wind and live in a house that’s loaded with diseases. The best solution is to hire a team of professionals and have your concerns addressed. Other than that, if you are experiencing deeper waves of mental or physical problems, it’s viable to schedule an appointment with a professional.