Did you know that smoke can contain more than 40 cancer causing substances and many more strong irritants?
If you have suffered a house fire, one of the most important things you are going to have to deal with is smoke damage. While smoke damage can occur easily, it can be very difficult to get rid of. This is why your best bet is to hire a professional company to come in and remove smoke damage from your home.
If some smoke damage is missed and you and your family continue to breath in those harmful chemicals for a prolonged period, it can lead to a number of different ailments, including cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and more.
The Harmful Effects of Smoke Damage
To get a better idea of the seriousness of smoke damage after a house fire, let’s look at some of the numbers and statistics associated with it.
- Smoke causes about 3,000 deaths each year from lung cancer in people who don’t smoke.
- Smoke causes irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat.
- Smoke can also irritate the lungs, leading to coughing, excessive phlegm and chest discomfort.
- It’s estimated that smoke causes about 35,000 deaths per year from heart disease in nonsmokers.
The Health Risks of Smoke Damage
Just to drive home the point of how dangerous smoke damage in a fire damaged house can be, here are other health issues related to breathing in smoke pollution:
Remember, smoke pollution isn’t always visible. You won’t necessarily see gray clouds of smoke floating around your home. Dangerous smoke particles can be in the carpet, in the drapes, in the furniture and more. When you breathe in those particles they can damage your lungs and your sinuses and make breathing difficult.
Having dangerous smoke particles in your home won’t just potentially damage your lungs; it can also cause skin irritation that can’t be alleviated with skin lotion. You will want to thoroughly clean everything in your fire damaged house!
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 your vision to become blurry.
Smoke Damage is Especially Harmful to Children
Children who breathe in smoke are more likely to suffer from pneumonia, bronchitis, and other lung diseases. The issues don’t stop there. Children who breathe in smoke have more ear infections. Those who breathe in smoke also are more likely to develop asthma. One more thing, children who have asthma and who breathe in smoke have more asthma attacks.
There are an estimated 150,000 to 300,000 cases every year of infections, such as bronchitis and pneumonia in infants and children under 18 months of age who breathe in smoke. These result in between 7,500 and 15,000 hospitalizations!
Why are children particularly vulnerable to smoke?
This is likely due to several factors, including that children are still developing physically, have higher breathing rates than adults, and have little control over their indoor environments.
Children receiving high doses of smoke, such as those with smoking mothers, run the greatest relative risk of experiencing damaging health effects.
Smoke Damage and Asthma
Smoke may also trigger asthma episodes and make asthma symptoms more severe in children who already have asthma. Moreover, smoke is a risk factor for new cases of asthma in children who have not previously exhibited asthma symptoms.
The means by which smoke triggers an asthma episode is believed to be through its irritancy effects. That is, smoke irritates the chronically inflamed bronchial passages of asthmatics. This is a different pathway from most of the other environmental triggers of asthma, like dust mites and pet dander, which trigger asthma episodes through allergenic effects.
How to Protect Your Family From the Harmful Effects of Smoke Damage
We spend more time in our homes than anywhere else. So the thought of cancer-causing chemicals circulating throughout our houses can be quite unsettling.
As we said previously, those most affected by smoke damage are children. Because their bodies are still developing, exposure to the poisons in smoke puts children in danger of severe respiratory diseases and can hinder the growth of their lungs. On top of that, the effects can last a lifetime.
- Hire a professional company that has established a good reputation for identifying and getting rid of smoke damage. Smoke damage can be located in areas far away from where a fire occurred. Smoke damage can also be behind walls, in air ducts and in other hard to identify locations. Hiring professionals can help ensure all of your home’s smoke damage is identified and properly dealt with. You can also follow these steps if you want to try and clean smoke damage from your house on your own.
- Even after having a home cleared of smoke damage you may still feel uneasy. Another thing you can do to help ensure that the chemicals from smoke don’t get into your lungs and body is to buy a powerful air purifier.
Find a Good Air Purifier
You’ll need to study the marketplace carefully. For example, you may want to read Consumer Reports. Smoke is one of the most complex air pollutants known. For example, cigarette smoke contains 3,000 – 4,000 toxic chemicals and gases, researchers say. Smoke from a house fire, which can cause a variety of different types of materials to burn, could contain even more.
When selecting a purifier is that some smoke particles can be smaller than the particles that are able to be captured by HEPA filters. The smallest size particle that can be captured by a HEPA filter is 0.3 micron. According to an EPA report, the highest percentage of just smoke particles removed by an average portable air purifier is only 79% in 20 minutes for a room size of 20 x 30 (600 square feet). This rate was achieved by brand new filters during the first 72 hours of use. Subsequent performance, EPA warns, may vary depending on conditions of use. It was also based on reducing smoke particle levels from sources which emit the particles intermittently rather than continually. Please remember the 79% removal rate means just smoke particles.
Smoke Odor Can Sometimes Remain
According to the EPA: “A number of air cleaners tested were found to reduce the levels of smoke particles in the air. However, the odor of smoke remained because many of the devices do not contain effective systems to remove the gaseous products of smoke. Also, gaseous products may be absorbed and later re-emitted by articles in the home. To overcome this, some devices scent the air to mask odors. This may lead the occupants of the home to believe that the odor-causing pollutants have been removed.”
Thankfully, modern innovation has led to improved purifier models that are able to get rid of more smoke particles. You will want to search carefully for these purifiers – you may also need to be prepared to spend more money to ensure you get the right, most effective purifier.
Protect Your Family Completely From Smoke Damage by Selling Your House
If you want to skip the risk of breathing in hazardous smoke particles, you can always sell your fire damaged home. There’s a company that will buy your house in “as is” condition. We Buy Fire Damaged Houses pays cash for houses that have been damaged by fire and smoke. Then you can get on with your life in a home free of smoke damage.
To see if your home qualifies for a free quote, fill out the short form below.