The house one lives in entails his environment .It has an important influence on health. A standard house should have the following:
- Be structurally stable.
- Free from dampness.
- Have a sink with satisfactory supply of hot and cold water.
- Have a toilet available for exclusive use of occupants in the house.
- Satisfactory provision of heating, lighting and ventilation.
Damp housing has effects on health though other factors influencing health may such as smoke, overcrowding and low income. Occupants are encouraged to heat their houses properly. Housing conditions are positively associated with physical ill health in children. Symptoms such as pain, diarrhea, anxiety, and coughs are more frequent in children from damp houses
Damp /cold houses are also hazardous to the elderly and chronically sick need to heat their houses longer yet many live in houses without a central heating. Sometimes people find themselves homeless or lacking housing because of reasons beyond their control. These include people living in refugee camps after civil wars, hostel inhabitants who include the mentally ill, alcoholics on rehabilitation or drug abusers.
Recession can also raise the level of homelessness, and its effects on health are mental health problems for example depression, isolation and suicide attempts. In children it could lead to delayed development and behavior. This include aggression bed wetting and poor sleep patterns.
Increased incidence of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, dysentery and hepatitis A are common.
Smoke from partially burned charcoal/wood and vehicle exhausts pumped in the atmosphere cause headaches drowsiness and can lead to exacerbation of bronchial asthma. Carbon monoxide reduces the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood hence the above symptoms.
Acid rains from sulphur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen cause damage to plants and animals as well as buildings. Main sources include burning of fossil fuels and industrial output and cars.
The noisy neighbor
Noise in excess is also an environmental health hazard. Sources of excess noise include leisure activities such as discos and personal stereos. Noise from traffic such as cars, trucks, aero planes cause hearing loss and loss of sleep leading to reduced efficiency during the day. Performance of intellectual skills is adversely affected by noise and fewer accidents occur where noise levels are reduced. Ear protection should be worn in noisy working places to reduce hearing loss.
Safety and Accidents
Accidents both road and home are a major cause of ill health and disability. Prevention reduces the burden made on health services. Home accidents are common to young and elderly. This could be associated with the fact that homes are designed by able bodied people hence disadvantaging the elderly, children and the handicapped. Injuries are very dependant on the stage and development. Infants are more prone to choking from food and swallowed toys or sweets and other small objects like peanuts. Ages 1-2 years have increased mobility hence more prone to fall scalds and drowning. Children in age’s 3-4 children get very adventurous and venture outside the house and even access to roads and gardens.
Accidents can be prevented through:
- Education of to increase awareness to all age groups
- While building houses, the engineers should bear in mind to design houses with minimization of accidents in mind.
- The law. Enforcing the standards of safety for example use of seat belts or toys to meet certain standards.