10 Smart Ideas for a Healthy Home

"The best thing to do in fire is to lay low and reduce a little [of] the risk of inhaling carbon monoxide," Aschner said.

The U.S. Fire Administration recommends installing smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement and in between sleeping areas. They also recommend changing your smoke alarm batteries once a year.

Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector

Some states require carbon monoxide detectors in homes, but oftentimes yearly battery replacement, along with daily tasks to prevent the gas from entering the home, are neglected.

In addition to regular maintenance of these detectors, people can also practice common-sense tips to reduce their exposure to carbon monoxide. According to May, one of the most common mistakes is running a car in the garage during the winter.



"Many people think if they have the garage door open, the carbon monoxide will go outside," he said. "But the combustion of starting a car keeps some of the carbon monoxide in the garage even after you pull out of the garage."

After closing the garage door, carbon monoxide lingers and may even move into the home.

"The simplest way to avoid this is to run the car outside," he said.

Have a First Aid Kit Handy

To be prepared for most types of emergencies, the American Red Cross recommends having a first aid kit handy in your home and in your car. The complexity of the kit, however, depends on how comfortable you feel administering the first aid, Shannon said.

"If a parent knows how to splint an arm, then the family could buy a first aid kit that has more complex first aid devices in it," he said. "The parent that doesn't feel so comfortable can buy a basic first aid kit."



Shannon said first aid kits can be broken down into different levels of complexity. The basic level consists of tape, Band-Aids, large gauze pads, an antiseptic and medications like Tylenol or Benadryl. The highest level kit would include things like Epi-pens, splints and slings, and a midlevel kit would include a combination of the two.

Regardless of what the first aid kit contains, accessibility to it is most important, he said.

"A first aid kit should be kept someplace where every family member knows of and can reach it," said Shannon.

Food Preservation

While some of the easiest ways to detect spoiled food may be to check the expiration date or see mold, not all rotten foods are that easy to spot.

In fact, nonrefrigerated foods such as chips, crackers and grains can go bad long before we notice they are stale or dried up, May said.



According to May, some kitchen pantries that store dry foods may contain flour moths -- insects that spin silk tubes with eggs into dry food, but go unnoticed.

"If you look inside any package of crackers and see these light threads, it's an indication of flour moths," said May.

But that may not necessarily mean that it is time to throw the package away, said May. If the package does not look infested with flour moths, and only a few silk threads are seen, May said microwaving 30 seconds per half pound of the dry food will kill the eggs of flour moths.

Radon Testing

Radon is an invisible, colorless, odorless gas -- and according to Shannon, it is one of the leading causes of lung cancer.

"The physical effects of radon exposure are essentially none," Shannon said. "Without a radon test, you'll have no idea it's even in your home."



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