Keeping kids healthy at home

Whether your child is learning at home or in the classroom, cooler weather brought on by fall and winter will mean more time spent indoors. Winter is already known as a time when sickness – like the flu – is more common. But did you know that household products and practices can contribute to illness, especially among children? In Memphis, our older housing stock, in addition to substandard housing, contribute to increased rates of child respiratory illnesses like asthma. 


Many parents don’t realize that simply being at home can contribute to childhood chronic illnesses. But, armed with knowledge, you can make your home a healthier place to live. A few simple and affordable changes can transform your home into a safe haven for your children! Here are recommendations from our friends at the Green and Healthy Homes Initiative:


Know the triggers. 

Do you know the common triggers of asthma in the home? Mold, dust mites, smoke, pests, gasses and even cleaning chemicals can cause asthma flare ups, especially in children. If you know what to look out for, you can better create a plan to help remove these elements from your home. 


Kick mold to the curb. 

Mold is a pesky and sometimes dangerous organism that lives in damp places within the house. If you’re wondering where to look to see if you have mold in your home, start with your water sources! You’re most likely to find it in the bathroom, kitchen or laundry room. You can remove mold by gently using a scrub brush, water and soap to clean the affected area. Don’t use chemicals like bleach – as we mentioned before, they can be irritants. Then, focus on ventilating wet areas. Consider opening windows and running vent fans while you shower to keep water from building up. Dry and caulk areas around sinks where water might pool from leaks. Ultimately, keeping your home dry will help prevent mold growth. 


Take care of pests. 

No one is happy to find a bug in their house, but in Memphis, it’s inevitable that they’ll cross the threshold from time to time. It’s important that you look carefully for signs of infestation or a growing number of bugs in the house. Check baskets of blankets and areas where you store food for rat or mouse droppings. Insects and small rodents can carry dangerous diseases, and their droppings can send particles into the air that trigger sickness in people. If you ever see signs of pests in your home, connect with a local pest control company. Many businesses now offer green or low-chemical options that can help get rid of the problem without bringing harsh chemicals into your home. From there, carefully clean surfaces with soap and water, and plug any holes where pests might come through. 


Check for lead-based paint. 

If you live in a home built before 1978, you should have your home inspected for lead-based paint. If lead-based paint is present, have children under six tested for lead levels in their blood. Then, speak with a lead abatement specialist to create a plan to remedy the issues. United Housing’s Home Repair Loan can help you pay for this process.

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