Mt. Vernon Register-News

Features

April 16, 2013

5 ways your house might be making you sick

(Continued)

Mold and pests

Plumbing leaks and poor insulation are the main cause of mold and pests, says Steorts.

Some materials, such as synthetic stucco, are easy to puncture and may allow moisture to seep in, says Vimal Kapoor, president of the Building Inspector of America, based in Germantown.

An alarm should go off, he says, "if you feel better when you're out of the house."

Mold tends to worsen respiratory illnesses, induce asthma attacks and irritate eyes and nasal passages, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some studies also suggest more severe effects, including flu-like symptoms.

More surprisingly, cockroaches can be potential triggers of asthma symptoms among children allergic to them, says Stephen Teach, an emergency room physician at Children's National Medical Center who also runs the asthma clinic.

Decomposing cockroach bodies and their excrement easily become airborne, and can be inhaled into the bronchial tubes.

Other household allergens include dust mites and grease.

Every six months, look for signs of pests and mold and mildew. If you are suspicious about toxins or mold, have an air quality test, experts say.

Carbon monoxide

When the carbon monoxide detector went off in her Arlington, Va., rental, Morley and her roommates unplugged it. Like many, they assumed the problem was with the detector.

They were wrong.

Because carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, too often, homeowners don't realize there's a problem.

After comparing symptoms of headaches and nausea, Morley and her roommates plugged back in the detector, which sounded a piercing alarm. The fire department confirmed high carbon monoxide levels. Faulty appliances were to blame.

"It was scary," says Morley, who was treated with oxygen at the hospital.

Exposure can cause a range of flu-like symptoms, including headaches, dizziness and nausea. But carbon monoxide exposure also can be fatal. Each year, more than 400 deaths are blamed on CO poisoning, according to the CDC.

Gas fireplaces, furnaces, generators and appliances cause most carbon monoxide leaks, says Steorts. She recommends that her clients check whether appliances have been recalled, and that appliances and heating and cooling systems be inspected annually.

In addition to installing CO detectors, examine all seals around doors and windows annually, paying close attention to the door between house and garage, because CO can leak into homes from cars, Steorts says.

Text Only
Features
  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 30, 2014

  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 2.21.22 PM.png VIDEO: Dog 'faints' from excitement of seeing owner

    A reunion between a Pennsylvania woman who had been living overseas for two years and her pet schnauzer has gone viral, garnering nearly 20 million views on YouTube.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Has the ipad lost its swag?

      The company reported this week that sales of its sleek, pricey tablet were down 19 percent from last quarter and 9 percent year-over-year. CEO Tim Cook tried to reassure investors that Apple's new partnership with IBM to sell its devices to IBM's corporate customers will help make iPads ubiquitous in the workplace. "This isn't something that worries us," he said of the iPad sales decline. But the numbers are disappointing no matter how you spin them.

    July 24, 2014

  • Darth Vader is polling higher than all potential 2016 presidential candidates

    On the other hand, with a net favorability of -8, Jar Jar is considerably more popular than the U.S. Congress, which currently enjoys a net favorability rating of -65.

    July 23, 2014

  • Hospitals let patients schedule ER visits

    Three times within a week, 34-year-old Michael Granillo went to the emergency room at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles because of intense back pain. Each time, Granillo, who didn't have insurance, stayed for less than an hour before leaving without being seen by a doctor.

    July 22, 2014

  • Wal-Mart to cut prices more aggressively in back-to-school push

    Wal-Mart Stores plans to cut prices more aggressively during this year's back-to-school season and will add inventory to its online store as the chain battles retailers for student spending.

    July 21, 2014

  • Your chocolate addiction is only going to get more expensive

    For nearly two years, cocoa prices have been on the rise. Finally, that's affecting the price you pay for a bar of chocolate - and there's reason to believe it's only the beginning.

    July 18, 2014

  • web_starbucks-cof_big_ce.jpg Starbucks sees more Apple-like stores after Colombia debut

    This week Starbucks opened its first location in Colombia — a 2,700-square-foot store with a heated patio, concrete columns, mirrors on the ceiling and walls of colorful plants.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks