Your home may be beautiful. Your home may be comfortable. Your home may be your dream home, but is it really safe? There are many hidden dangers that can lurk in your home without you even knowing it. The problem is that they can cause serious health problems if not detected. Three of the most common types of hidden dangers in homes are mold, lead and unsafe drinking water.

Mold is present everywhere in small amounts. The problems start occurring when there are large amounts of active mold in your home. All mold needs to grow is a food source such as wood, paper or dirt, and moisture. As it grows, it releases tiny spores that travel through the air and that people then inhale. Inhaling large amounts of spores can cause serious health problems such as allergies and respiratory illnesses.

You might have a mold problem in your home if you have a problem with moisture (from showers or stoves, improperly vented dryers, leaky roofs or damp basements, plumbing leaks or flooding. You might notice mold on the surface in the form of a discoloration of the surface, but it could also be hidden behind the walls. If people in your family start showing the signs of overexposure to mold, it’s a good idea to have your home tested. These symptoms include respiratory problems, congestion, eye irritations, coughing and skin rashes.

Even though lead naturally appears in the environment, even the smallest amounts can be highly toxic to humans. For many years, this highly toxic substance was used in many household products. Because of this, high numbers of children (who are often very susceptible to the effects of lead poisoning) were reported as having elevated lead levels in their blood. The EPA has been working to reduce the amounts of lead in gasoline, household products such as paint, pollution and drinking water.

This work has reduced the numbers of children who have high levels of lead in their systems, but it’s important to remain aware of the possibility of having lead in your home. If you live in an older home, there may be lead paint that your children could ingest in the form of paint chips or dust and the ground surrounding the home may be contaminated.

People exposed to high levels of lead might experience vomiting, diarrhea or even death. Long term exposures to low levels of lead can cause damage to the nervous system among other things, so it’s important to have your home tested if you think you may be at risk.

Drinking water is essential to sustain life, but if it contains harmful substances, you might be at risk. All new water sources should be tested for its safety before use and all older water sources should be tested periodically for changes. There are many possible impurities that could be in your water and the only way to know for sure what is in your drinking water is to have it tested.

Sources: California Department of Health Services (www.cal-iaq.org)
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (www.epa.gov)
University of Florida, IFAS Extension (www.edis.ifas.ufl.edu)

Bird Flu: Why You Need to Worry and What you Can Do

Can Bird Flu feasibly become a pandemic? According to the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.org), there are three conditions necessary for something to be labeled as a pandemic. There must be a new influenza strain that has little or no human immunity. This new strain must be able to infect humans and cause sickness and the new strain must spread easily and without interruption among humans. As it is, bird flu currently meets the first two criteria, but doesn’t spread from human to human on a continuing basis. Because the current strains of bird flu that can infect humans (also referred to as H5N1) do not infect many humans, we have very little immunity to it. Scientists are watching the virus since for changes and adaptations. Once it adapts well enough to spread easily from human to human, it could quite possibly become a world-wide pandemic.

What exactly is Bird Flu? Bird Flu, also call Type A (or avian) Influenza, is the general name for influenza viruses often found in wild birds worldwide – they usually don’t get sick from it however. It is very contagious to domesticated birds and can make them sick enough to die.

How do people become infected with Bird Flu? There are many subtypes of Type A Influenza and only three of them have been found in humans at this point. Most of the people who have become infected with Bird Flu have done so as a result of direct contact with infected birds or with contaminated surfaces from the secretions of infected birds. There have been a very small number of cases where the virus has passed from human to human, but there is no record of it passing beyond one person (according to the CDC).

How serious of a disease is it? While the statistics show that over half of the people who have been diagnosed with the influenza have died from it, it is believed that these statistics are misleading. It’s possible that only the most severe cases have been diagnosed (it can only be certainly diagnosed with a lab test) so there may have been more actual cases than have been reported. Symptoms of Bird Flu include the typical influenza-like symptoms as well as eye infections, pneumonia and respiratory disease.

What can we do about Bird Flu? Right now, according to the CDC, studies have shown that the currently approved drugs used to treat human influenza do not work with the H5N1 virus that affects humans and there is currently not an effective vaccine against it. The good news it that there is a ban on imports of birds and bird products from affected countries and there have been no known incidences of people getting the virus from eating properly prepared poultry and eggs.

Sources: The Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.org)

Five Tips to Help you Keep Yourself and Your Family Healthy

1. Always wash your hands with warm water and soap after handling raw poultry and eggs.
2. Always cook all poultry and wild game thoroughly. Use a thermometer to be sure that even the center is cooked to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit (or higher).
3. Don’t accept imported birds and bird products (even feathers) from H5N1-affected countries in Africa, Asia and Europe. (There is a ban on importation from these countries because of the associated risk of spreading the disease.)
4. If you suspect there might be a hidden danger in your home, have it tested immediately, especially if you have children, elderly or ill people living in your home that may be more susceptible to the health problems associated with these dangers.
5. If your house has flooded (due to weather or plumbing problems) be sure to watch for mold growth and the symptoms of its effects since this is one of the major causes of mold growth in homes.

www.RubyStone.com has several products to help keep your home a safe place to live: “The Germ Guardian” and “Home Test Kits”

The Germ Guardian is a unique product specifically designed as an air sanitizer to kill bacteria, viruses and germs. It is unlike anything you have seen or used before. Forget ionizers and filters, this is completely new. The stainless steel and aluminum Germ Guardian takes in germs, bacteria, viruses, (airborne agents) and neutralizes them without the use of filters. It then streams sanitized air into the room.

Our website also has several home test kits that you can use to detect hidden dangers in your home including tests for mold, lead and water. Visit the website (www.rubystone.com) to see the entire line of home tests kits.

Author's Bio: 

Ruby started RubyStone Enterprises aka
www.rubystone.com to help keep you and your little ones stay safe and secure. At
www.RubyStone.com we offer a wide range of Free Safety advice, Newsletters, guides and tips as well as the very latest in unique safety products to help you protect yourself and loved ones.

We have a variety of emergency preparedness items including a battery free cell phone charger, a power failure nightlight, solar radios, ponchos, blankets and water purification systems.

We've got the solutions to help you cope with all of these situations. Your life becomes easier and safer when you have unique safety and protection products from Rubystone.

You CAN Protect Your Loved Ones In An Emergency-By Being Prepared!

Copyright 2007 by Ruby Aragon. All rights reserved.