Is your house making your child sick?

Think you have high housekeeping standards? But your home has things that could be causing your child to fall ill…

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You’ve been to the paediatrician twice this month already, and your kiddo is on all sorts of meds to soothe his stuffy nose. He is also taking supplements to boost his immunity. Yet, he keeps falling sick.

         Or perhaps, despite your best efforts to provide nutritious homecooked meals for your family, the little one often has diarrhoea, episodes of vomiting, or breaks out in itchy, red, angry rashes. Much as you hate to admit it, the reason for this could be your home.

        If you suspect that your child is an unsuspecting victim of household hazards, wise up to these common problems, plus learn ways to address them.

BATHROOMS

High contact points
Places you touch often are the places where bacteria spreads most easily”, notes Dr Leong Hoe Nam, an infectious disease specialist at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital. Hotspots that you need to clean often include:
*the sink
*taps
*door handles
*showerheads
*the toilet seat

Damp areas
Mould grows where the indoor environment is damp ― typically in showers and under sinks with leaky pipes.

          Dr Steve Yang, a respiratory specialist at Raffles Internal Medicine Centre, explains that exposure to mould occurs through the inhalation of mould spores, which can be both an irritant and allergen.

          “As an irritant, this can lead to nasal stuffiness, eye or skin irritation. For persons who are allergic to mould, it can cause asthma.”   He adds that in patients who have chronic lung diseases, exposure to mould can cause the development of mould infections in the lungs. So, make sure to dry out damp areas, ventilate the bathroom, or use moisture absorbers such as Thirsty Hippo.

Towels
We all come in contact with them when we dry our faces and bodies. Since bath and face towels retain moisture, these may allow bacteria to breed if your bathroom isn’t properly ventilated. Worse, these also pick up dead skin particles that microbes feed on.

          Communal hand towels that aren’t changed regularly mean that diseases can be spread between the different people who use them. Everyone should have their own bath and face towels, and these should be hung on a rail to dry completely after each use.

          Wash as often as you can. If possible, wash them at high temperatures of 90 deg C, otherwise, use a laundry cleanser that kills bacteria.

Rubber bath toys
These are HUGE mould magnets and are extremely hard to wash and clean.

          Dr Leong points out, “Bath toys are an often-handled item, which means skin germs like Staphylococcus aureus — which makes toxins — can inhabit it.” Plus, kids often like to put such toys in their mouths.

         Soaking the toys in vinegar or bleach (but the playthings will need to be washed thoroughly) may help remove the mould, but a better solution would be to get rid of rubber bath toys, and use floating plastic toys like cups that can be cleaned easily.

Kitchens, bedrooms and much, much more…