Environmental Health Hazards That Can Make You Sick


For optimum health, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings. Environmental factors at work, home, and the outdoors can pose health hazards if you are unaware of them. Identifying these hazards and eliminating them should be part of your healthy lifestyle.

Work Hazards

Workers in manufacturing, construction, and the trades are aware of risks such as falling, injury from machinery, and exposure to chemicals. But even people who work in offices, schools, and retail establishments are at risk for environmental hazards. 

Workplaces serving the public are teeming with viruses and bacteria that can cause illness. Frequent cleaning of your work station can go a long way in preventing infection. Another often-overlooked hazard is food poisoning from shared food at workplace cafeterias, common refrigerators, and team celebrations. Beware of eating food that may have been left out too long or improperly stored.

Home Hazards

While your home is your safe space, to stay truly healthy, it’s important not to neglect common hazards that can make you sick. Dust, allergens, and pathogens can accumulate or be brought in by family members from work or school. You might be able to remove health hazards by cleaning your floor. Regular mopping of hard floors and vacuuming of carpeting can help clean the air, too.

And, be aware of hidden hazards such as mildew and mold that can grow in damp places like bathrooms, basements, and foundations. Check for mold under sinks, behind refrigerators, along window sills, and near air conditioners.

Outdoor Hazards

Even a well-manicured lawn and garden can conceal things that can affect your health. One of the most harmful outdoor hazards is bees and wasps. Almost everyone feels the effect of stings, ranging from pain, redness, and itching to serious allergic reactions. Watch for bee and wasp nests around the eaves of your house, in leafy trees or bushes, or in piles of wood in your yard.

At the same time, be careful about using harsh pesticides or weed killers, as these chemicals can also make you and your pets sick. Nontoxic and organic methods of pest control pose fewer risks and can be just as effective

Staying well depends on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and taking steps to eliminate hazards that may make us sick. Many environmental risks are obvious, but becoming aware of those hidden health hazards at work, home, and play can be beneficial.

Read this next: Common Risks and How to Avoid Them in the Workplace

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