Hidden health dangers in your home

Hidden health dangers in your home

E. Coli is one of the hidden dangers

There are many hidden health dangers you may not think about in your home. Health Line provides warnings, tips, and solutions for avoiding serious illness from things that could be part of your every day life.

E. Coli is one of the hidden dangers

Salmonella and E. coli

These are two forms of bacteria that are often found in raw foods, such as beef, poultry, eggs, fruits, and vegetables. When infected with these bacteria, usually after eating contaminated food that wasn’t cooked or cleaned properly, your symptoms can range from diarrhea to life-threatening dehydration.

To avoid salmonella and E. coli make sure to always wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling raw foods. Use two separate cutting boards for fruits/vegetables and raw meat.  Wrap and store uncooked beef, poultry, and seafood separately from other refrigerated items, and make sure when you do cook them, it is to the temperatures indicated by the Food Safety and Inspection Service. Lastly, clean all utensils used in handling these foods with hot water and soap before using again.

Carbon Monoxide

This gas has no smell, and gives no warning before making you very sick with flu-like symptoms. Carbon monoxide poisoning usually happens when organic fuel is burned without proper ventilation, such as from the use of kerosene and gas space heaters, gas water heaters, wood stoves, fireplaces, or from car exhaust fumes or tobacco smoke.

To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, make sure to install a carbon monoxide detector in your home. Additionally, have a professional inspect your heating system, water heater, and any other coal, oil, or gas appliances every year. Never use a gas oven to heat your home, and don’t use a gasoline or coal using device inside your home.


The effects of this very toxic metal have been well documented. The symptoms from lead exposure can range from substantial changes in mental development and behavior, to various nerve disorders. Because lead is known to be toxic, it has been removed from many household items. However, older houses that haven’t been updated tend to have lead-based paint, and household dust, drinking water if you have lead pipes, and contaminated soil are all major sources of exposure.

If you are worried about lead exposure, particularly in an older home, have your home and water tested. You can either do it yourself with an at-home kit, or have an environmental lab or licensed risk assessor do it for you. From there you will have ways to deal with any contamination that is found. It is also important to get yourself and family members tested for lead.


There can be mold growth anywhere in your home that is damp and has poor ventilation. These organisms can cause nasal/sinus congestion, eye irritation, and chronic coughing. They can also trigger asthma attacks and lung infections in anyone with a chronic respiratory issue.

To clean up and kill any mold in your home, use a non-ammonia based cleanser, or a dishwashing soap and water mix. Protect your skin, eyes, and mouth from spores when cleaning, and use an air cleaner to rid the air of any loose sports. If the area of mold is very large, you can hire a professional.


Many chemicals found in household pesticides, such as insect repellant, weed killers, flea and tick shampoo, and mothballs can be very harmful to your health. They can cause nerve damage and breathing problems, as well as other symptoms. These types of chemicals are particularly dangerous to children, especially when not stored or used properly.

Use these products only in the way specified in the directions they give, and always keep them out of the reach of children. Protect yourself from direct exposure, and always wash your hands after use.

While there are many hidden dangers in your home, with the right knowledge and care, it is easy to stay safe.