4.2.3 Protection against accidents
What accidents could be possible because of poor housing?
Poor housing can contribute to several types of accident including burns and electric shocks (if there is an electricity supply).
Table 4.2 shows several types of accident in the home and indicates the housing conditions that may cause them.
Table 4.2 Possible home injuries and their contributory causes.
|Injury||Conditions that may cause the injury|
|Person falling over causing broken bones, bruising etc.||Slippery floor; steps that are too high or too low|
|Building materials falling on people||Poor structure of roof and walls|
|Burn||Improper use of fuel; damage to electrical wires|
|Carbon monoxide poisoning (see Box 4.1)||Not extinguishing fire sources while sleeping|
|Chemical poisoning (a child drinking pesticide, handling drugs, etc.)||Improper handling and storage of chemicals|
|Lack of air, breathing problems||No separate kitchen; keeping children close by while cooking with wood or dung fuel|
|Electric shock||Electrical wire is damaged by a rat; incorrect installation; overloading a circuit, etc.|
Box 4.1 Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a toxic gas that is given off in incomplete combustion, when fuels don’t burn properly. You can’t see, smell or taste carbon monoxide, so it is very difficult for people to detect; this makes it very dangerous.
When we breathe in, oxygen is taken in through the lungs and carbon dioxide is breathed out. Haemoglobin in the red blood cells is used to carry oxygen to various parts of the body.
O2 + haemoglobin = oxyhaemoglobin
If there is carbon monoxide in the breathed-in air, it combines with haemoglobin more easily than oxygen does.
CO + haemoglobin = carboxyhaemoglobin
CO reduces the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood and poisons the body. It can lead to illness and even death.