One of parents’ biggest concerns following a house fire is the long term health of their children and themselves.
The truth is a house fire can affect family health in a number of ways. One of the biggest things parents have to worry about is lingering smoke damage in the home.
Smoke damage consists of tar and carbon and if these substances are inhaled over time they can damage the lungs – particularly the sensitive lungs of children.
Another issue with smoke damage is that it produces carbon dioxide which is a harmful gas that when inhaled actually expels oxygen from the blood. That means breathing in carbon dioxide can keep necessary oxygen from valuable organs like the brain and heart.
That’s why no matter what size house fire you have, one of the first things you do should do is bring in an expert to look for hidden smoke damage and to check the home’s carbon monoxide levels.
Health issues related to smoke damage that you need to know about
Here are just a few of the health conditions that can be caused by prolonged exposure to smoke pollution such as that left by a house fire:
Respiratory Problems –
Dangerous smoke particles can be in the carpet, in the drapes, in the furniture and more. When family members breathe in those particles they can damage their lungs and their sinuses, which can make breathing difficult.
Skin Problems –
Having dangerous smoke particles in the home following a house fire won’t just potentially damage family members’ lungs; it can also cause skin irritation that can’t be alleviated with skin lotion. This is a major reason you or a company you hire should thoroughly clean everything in a house that has been damaged by fire.
Eye Problems –
Another common effect of smoke damage in a fire-damaged house is red, watery, itchy eyes. This can cause a lot of discomfort and also cause a family member’s vision to become blurry.
How to get rid of smoke damage to help preserve your family’s health
You can try to remove smoke damage yourself but remember it can be hard to find. Smoke damage can be located a long distance from the original fire location. It can also be found in air ducts, behind walls, in flooring, in furniture and in other hard to reach locations.
That’s why it is recommended that you hire a professional restoration company to remove smoke damage. The extra cost is often worth the reduced stress and worry that comes from wondering if you got all the smoke damage removed.
If you do decide to remove smoke damage yourself, you will need all of the following: fan, bucket, hot water, regular sponge, chemical sponge, clean rags, vinegar, rubbing alcohol or paint thinner, degreaser or commercial spot remover and a shop-vac with upholstery attachment.
More tips for keeping a family safe, happy and healthy following a house fire
The truth is raising a happy, healthy family is one of the most difficult challenges parents face during their lifetimes. Of course, it is also one of the most rewarding!
Unfortunately, most of us don’t approach this important challenge with the same focus and energy that we use when facing problems at work or at school or in our personal lives.
When it comes to raising our family, most of us resort to using the same parenting techniques that our own parents used – whether we liked those techniques or not … and whether we even thought those techniques were effective or not.
And what about the few who don’t just do what our parents did? Well, most of these people usually decide to “follow their gut” and do what they “feel” is right.
Neither approach is working very well. Just look at the facts:
– Childhood obesity has become an epidemic affecting over 155 million overweight children and 22 million infants under five years throughout the world …
– School officials in numerous areas of the world are reporting that behavioral problems in children are on the rise …
– Today’s kids, who spend hours hunched in front of television and computer screens, are less fit than their counterparts in previous generations, which could be a recipe for weak bodies and illness later on …
So what can you do to help improve your family’s health and well-being? The keys are ideal nutrition, regular exercise and proper motivation.
Here are some tips you can use to maintain or improve family health as you recover from your house fire:
Make sure everyone stays active
That means kids and parents should be moving for at least an hour out of the day with the movement causing an increase in heart rate.
Drink more water
Everyone should be drinking lots of water each day. Water can improve our energy levels and brain function and also improve general health.
Eat a well-balanced diet
Giving in to a craving every once in a while can be OK but giving in to them too frequently can lead to negative health consequences. Parents and their children should be following FDA guidelines for eating healthy, which include consuming lots of fruits and vegetables and lean protein. One more thing: stay away from caffeine it can increase your heart rate and blood pressure.
Get lots of sleep
Everybody – both parents and kids – should follow a bedtime routine that ensures they get plenty of sleep. Everyone should be getting 7 to 8 hours or more of good sleep each night. It’s one of the best things you can do to maintain good health.
Schedule time each week for everyone to talk about their feelings. Keeping feelings bottled up can lead to stress, which can have negative health effects. Everyone is sure to have a lot of feelings following a house fire and the changes that it causes. Be sure to get everyone together to talk frequently to help keep everybody’s physical and mental health at high levels.
The bottom line about family health following a house fire
In our technological world, it is a lot easier to live a sedentary lifestyle than an active one. Children look to their parents as role models — and all their lives they will be influenced by the kind of lifestyle and environment they experience in childhood and adolescence.
That’s why it is so important for you to stress healthy living now. Use the negative experience of a house fire to create positive change. Get your family focused on healthy living and reap the benefits for years and years to come.
Part of being a parent is leading by good example — through healthy eating and good exercise habits and routines you can set an example for your kids to follow the rest of their lives.
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