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High-risk chores

Take Care when Doing these Seemingly Harmless Home Tasks


By Joyce Reyes-Aguila


There are days when we just want to be done with all our chores quickly. We skip steps and feel good when short cuts save us time. In the process, we may sometimes “cheat” by not putting on protective gear like gloves or a face mask, or even cut corners because it’s quicker. It might seem like a good idea – until you see rashes on your hands, have difficulty breathing, or worse.

We often realize the price we have to pay for being reckless at home when it affects our health and wellbeing. There are chores that are hazardous, if not done properly. Fully knowing the risks to your life and limb is key.Take extra caution when getting the following done. Truly, better safe than sorry.

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Moving heavy furniture.

Changing the location of cabinets, sofas, and tables in your home can be dangerous – especially when you are handling these pieces of furniture alone. You could strain your back or accidentally crush a foot or toe. Purchase furniture sliders, or use rags or a carpet for an easier move as they reduce friction. You can also use rags or mats when moving other big things around the room.

Bend from the knees when lifting furniture. Check if you can dismantle it to lessen the weight you have to move. Remove the legs of tables or the foam of couches to lessen the load. Ensure that children are not in the room when you move so as not to put them in harm’s way. If your toe or hand gets stuck, free it slowly. Apply ice to relieve swelling and pain. Clean wounds immediately to avoid infection.

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Cleaning your pet’s place.

Expecting moms are advised not to clean cat litter, says pediatrician Jennifer Shu, on babycenter.com. The doctor warns that toxoplasmosis or the transmission of parasitic infection through infected poop can cause illness to a woman and her baby. Shu says that while this does not apply to all cats, doctors can help pregnant women through a blood test to check their immunity. Let someone else handle the litter, she suggests. If you are left with no choice, wear gloves and wash hands well after clearing the area.

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Cleaning drains and gutters.

We recommend hiring professionals to clear these areas. But if want to take a stab at it, make sure you have someone to spot you. Check your ladder’s stability as well. Remove any pointed object in your body such as anklets or bracelets. Should you accidentally fall, identify areas of pain before standing up. Inspect for any wound and attend to it right away. In case you sprain an ankle, remember the acronym RICE: rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

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Applying cleaning products without protective gear. 

You need not have ultra-sensitive skin to see how dish soap, laundry detergent, and wood polish can harm your hands, arms, or feet. After doing a chore, these areas can feel itchy before small rashes start to appear.  The best way to avoid harming your skin is through the use of protective gear like gloves or boots. When applying products on walls, cover your eyes with protective glasses. You should also wash your hands thoroughly with soap after contact with these liquids. Our skin reacts to chemicals in different ways, so in case your usual go-to ointment or lotion does not heal your skin after a day or two, it is best to consult a dermatologist for proper care.

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Dealing with the floor.

Mopping the floor or cleaning the bathroom tiles are chores that greatly expose anyone to danger. Water or the products we apply on these surfaces can cause us to lose our balance, slip, and injure any part of our bodies. For minor injuries, apply ice on the affected area and take a painkiller for the discomfort. If bleeding happens, place a clean piece of cloth on the wound and press down firmly. Call for an ambulance if bleeding cannot be controlled, or if you suspect that the victim has suffered an injury to the spine and neck.

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