What is a healthy home?
According to the National Center for Healthy Housing, a healthy home “is designed, constructed, maintained, or rehabilitated in a manner that supports the health of residents.”
Why do I want a healthy home?
Scientific evidence links housing conditions to health outcomes. Since people spend more than half a day inside homes, the housing environment greatly influences health and well-being.
What are the health effects that can be linked to housing?
Allergies and asthma, carbon monoxide poisoning, lead poisoning, falls, fires, and injuries.
I live in a newer home. Do I need to be concerned?
Yes, every home may have unrecognized health and safety hazards, not only older homes.
How can I make my home healthy?
Follow the Seven Principles of a Healthy Home:
Dry. Clean. Pest-Free.Ventilated. Safe. Contaminant-Free. Maintained
What is lead poisoning?
Lead is a natural element found in our environment. Unlike other elements such as iron or calcium, exposure to lead can be toxic, causing organ damage or, in high levels, death.
Toxicity is measured by the amount of lead in the blood. A value known as the Blood Lead Level (BLL) describes the amount of lead in the blood. Lead poisoning in children is defined by the CDC as five micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood (5 µg/dL) or higher. Thus, a child with a BLL of five or higher is considered to have lead poisoning.
Please be aware there is no known safe BLL for lead, and a BLL below five can harm a child.
How does lead affect a child?
A young, growing child absorbs lead more easily compared to an adult. Even small amounts of lead can cause permanent damage to any organ or system in the body. Developmental delays, behavior problems, and low IQ scores may result from childhood lead poisoning.
What are the symptoms of lead poisoning?
Children with lead poisoning often do not show any symptoms and a blood lead test is the only way to confirm if a child has lead poisoning. Nevertheless, high blood lead levels can cause abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation, change in appetite, and irritability.
How do children get lead poisoning?
Children are exposed to lead in the environment in three ways:
1. Eating or mouthing lead-contaminated items
2. Breathing lead-contaminated dust
3. An expectant mother can pass lead to her unborn baby through the placenta
What are the sources of lead poisoning?
Common sources of childhood lead poisoning include lead-based paint in buildings built before 1978. If a child eats paint chips, chews on painted surfaces—such as windowsills—or breathes in lead dust from a lead-based painted home, he/she may have lead poisoning. Children may also be exposed to lead from a number of other sources.
Click here for additional items known to contain lead.
How can I protect my child from lead poisoning?
Read these lead poisoning prevention tips.
-Ask for a blood lead test at your child’s next checkup. A blood lead test is the only way to know if your child has lead poisoning.
-Know the sources of lead and minimize your child’s exposure to them.
-Wash your child’s hands and face often, especially before meals and at bedtime.
-Give your child three healthy meals and two snacks a day.
-Feed your child foods high in iron, calcium, and vitamin C.
-Do not let your child eat or chew on non-food items—such as paint chips, dirt, windowsills, cribs, and toys (see Consumer Product Safety Commission list of toy recalls).
-Do not cook or store food in clay or ceramic pottery.
-Do not give your child home remedies such as Azarcón or Greta from foreign countries.
-Cover peeling paint and clean up paint chips around the home.
-Wet mop or wipe floors, windowsills, doors, and doorframes to reduce lead dust on wood and painted surfaces.
-Wash your child’s toys and pacifier often.
-Take off shoes before entering your home.
-If you work with lead, shower and change clothes before interacting with your child and wash work clothes separate from the family’s clothes.
Should my child be tested for lead poisoning?
YES! Blood lead testing is the only way to determine lead poisoning. If possible, every child should have a blood lead test at 12 and 24 months of age and be screened annually until age six.
Where can I have my child tested for lead poisoning?
Contact your child’s health care provider.
What is the treatment for lead poisoning?
Treatment for lead poisoning includes identification and removal of the source of lead, allowing the body to eliminate the lead naturally. In some cases, a high blood lead level requires medication to eliminate lead quicker. These medications are strong and can cause serious side effects.
How will Healthy Homes staff assist me if my child has lead poisoning?
If your child has lead poisoning:
•Our staff will assist you in identifying possible sources of lead in your child’s environment.
• Our nurse case manager may conduct a home visit to identify ways to prevent future lead exposure.
•Our staff will monitor and follow-up with you until the child’s lead blood level is no longer a concern.
As the parent or guardian:
• Follow-up with a doctor until your child’s blood lead level falls below the level of concern.