Your home is your oyster, as they say. To most people, the walls that surround them represent safety and security. It’s your own safe space where you go each night to relax, watch Netflix and browse social media before heading back out into the frightening real world to deal with such dangers as car accidents, shark attacks, and murderous, knife-wielding psychopaths the next day…or so you think.
About forty percent of Americans die at home each year, and while a lot of these deaths are at a ripe old age and peaceful, many more are due to unforeseen and downright shocking circumstances. Turn on the news any night of the week and you might see reports of a new wave of mosquito-born malaria taking over the United States, or maybe even a new case of tainted tap water sweeping the mid-west More and more it’s coming to light that there are dangers right in your bed, between your walls and even coming out of your sink that can kill you. So, boil up some water, squeeze into your hazmat suit and throw away your imported produce because here is a list of the 15 things that are ready to kill you in your own home!
15. Poisons In Your Fruits And Nuts
The first thing doctors always tell you to stay healthy is to eat your fruits and vegetables. And who wouldn’t? They’re chock full of vitamins, minerals and other things your body needs to be healthy and fight off disease. Unfortunately, a lot of fruits and veggies are also chock full of deadly toxins that can make you very sick of or even kill you!
Take cherries, for example. Who doesn’t love a sweet cherry atop their ice-cream or even fresh off the stem as a healthy snack. However, cherries, and especially the pits, are rich in prussic acid, which is a type of cyanide – a common poison found in spy movies and an easy way to kill people! Eating too many cherry pits can trigger the effects of the prussic acid and ultimately cause a person to become poisoned and die. Don’t eat a lot of cherry pits? Well, you’re still not in the clear because prussic acid is also found in bitter almonds!
14. Diseases In Your Coffee Pot
If you’re not a morning person and need an extra kick to get your day started, maybe you turn to your coffee pot for a little bit of extra help and the newest piece of tech that helps you get the good stuff from grounds to your gullet is the single-cup coffeemaker. Brands like Keurig and Nescafe have introduced a wide array of instant coffeemakers that allow users to insert small pods containing a single-cup serving of their favorite Joe. The process is simple and involves filling the water reservoir up to the line, inserting a pod and pressing start. However, you might want to think twice…
Studies have shown that if you don’t clean out the water reservoir fairly regularly, your machine will turn into a breeding ground for such nasty bacteria as e. coli, staph infection and streptococcus and a slew of other nasty bits that will certainly make you sick and even kill you. Maybe stick to a morning Red Bull?
13. Cancer Causing Dust In The Air
If there’s one thing your mom told you growing up it was probably to go outside and get some fresh air, and maybe she was onto something. The air floating through most American homes isn’t exactly the freshest. Beyond the obvious stuff like your uncle sneezing on the food at dinner time and your little brother coughing all over your juice during breakfast, there’s a noxious mix of chemicals wafting through the air and pretty much every American household and it’s doing some pretty scary things.
A common component of most modern houses is plastic. It’s either under your feet in the linoleum in the kitchen, or it’s making up your dinner plate or the utensils used to cook your meal. When mixed with other household chemicals it can make for a pretty nasty environment and even cause cancer! Your roommates are definitely onto something when they eat their Mac n’ Cheese right out of the pot with a wooden spoon!
12. Fire Ants In Your Yard
So, you avoid those fruits and veggies, skip your cup of coffee and rip up your plastic based flooring and head outside. Just be careful where you step because there are hundreds of species of ants in North America and one of the most common is also one of the nastiest and will not hesitate to bite you. Meet the fire ant. Not only are they a nuisance, fire ants are also deadly. They send up to 120 Americans to the hospital each year and of those, at least a dozen will die from their bites.
When fire ants attack, they send hundreds of their horde to battle. These nasty, red baddies then sink their fangs into the flesh of their prey. The poison from their fangs has been known to swell the attacked area up to three or four times its normal size at the very least and send the subject attacked into anaphylactic shock and possibly kill them at the worst. And the worst part is that MOST homes in the American south have these creatures somewhere in their yard most of the year!
11. Arsenic In Your Rice Cooker
Here’s a secret: rice is a cheap and easy food that just about anyone with a pulse can make. It becomes even easier when you invest in a rice cooker. Around the world, rice cookers are among the most common household appliances. Unfortunately, if prepared incorrectly, that rice steaming and ready to be eaten could contain more than you bargained for.
Evidently, rice is not only the perfect side for many dishes, it’s also great at absorbing and retaining arsenic. In very small amounts it’s no big deal. However, over time, the more arsenic you ingest, the higher risk you have of dropping dead in your plate of rice and beans. So what’s the connection to the rice cooker? A common source of arsenic is found in metals – the very same metals found in many brands of rice cookers. If the metal bowl where the rice gets steamed is scratched you might end up enjoying dessert in the emergency room.
10. Fleas On Your Dogs Or In Your Carpet
Certainly dogs are man’s best friend, but you might want to reconsider giving Rex a scratch on the head if he seems extra itchy. We all know that fleas are a common problem that can affect many dogs, cats, and other household pets. But, did you know that those fleas that your dog brings into your house can be deadly?
Like most parasites, fleas are bloodthirsty pests that ravage their hosts. Sure, flea bites an itchy nuisance, but did you ever stop to think about what those fleas are doing or where they’ve been? Experts suggest that long-term exposure to flea bites can lead to nasty infections, which may result in long-term hospital stays and even amputations! In some cases, a flea bite can result in additional problems like tapeworms and other parasites! But, what’s even worse: fleas can carry a slew of other diseases, such as typhus and bubonic plague, and can infect you without you even knowing!
9. Black Mold Behind And On Walls
How many times have you opened your bread drawer to find the loaf of bread you bought last week covered in a funky green film? Of course it’s nasty, but at least you can throw it away. Most molds and fungi are completely harmless and if it weren’t for some we would have such great medical advancements as penicillin. But, not all molds are so kind.
Meet Stachybotrys, aka black mold. This nasty stuff can grow anywhere that is dark and damp. It can grow in basements, behind furniture and even on the bottom of your bed! In many long term cases, individuals who have suffered from black mold poisoning seemingly begin to develop symptoms such as headaches, stuffy noses and a cough. These symptoms and be misdiagnosed multiple times. More long term and chronic exposure can mean coughing up blood, extreme respiratory issues and even death!
8. Kissing Bugs In Your Bed
Talk about a kiss goodnight. These nasty critters are two or three times the size of bed bugs and are literally vampires! They primarily do their dirty work at night when their prey is fast asleep. Slowly, they creep up to their subject’s lips and gently bite down, giving their victim a slight “kiss”, to extract blood – hence the unique name.
Unlike bed bug bites, however, kissing bug bites can lead to further complications beyond a slight itch or raised skin. An untreated bite can result in Chagas disease. This nasty condition begins with unsightly swelling of the infected area, itching, and discomfort. Later, toxins target the heart and nervous system and could lead to cardiac arrest, paralysis, and death.
7. E. Coli On Your Sponge
Everybody’s least favorite chore is doing the dishes. But you’ve got to get them clean to use them again and stay healthy, or so you thought. The kitchen sponge is actually among the dirtiest items in your house. And, when you think about it, it makes sense because very few people take the time to properly squeeze out and dry off their sponges after heavy use. Then they’re first and strongest defense against gunk and grease becomes a breeding ground for bacteria.
Easily the nastiest thing that can grow on your sponge is e. coli. Although many strains are completely harmless. Often enough, an e. coli outbreak can make people extremely ill. That’s the scary aspect of this particular strain of bacteria. Contamination all depends on what particular strain is present. At the very least, a victim of e. coli exposure gets a nasty case of diarrhea. At its worst, it is far more serious and, you guessed it, a slow and painful death.
6. Mice Infected With Hantavirus In Your Garage
It’s never a good sign when you reach for your morning cereal or fruit and find signs of a small, late night visitor snacking on your breakfast a mere hours before. Mice are severe household pests and can be a nightmare to remove. Double the infestation with Hantavirus and you’ve got yourself a serious problem.
The goal of the hantavirus is to spread itself as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Mice infected with the disease will leave it in their droppings, saliva, and fur. All it takes is you finding some mouse droppings in your attic or garage and reaching for the broom. Even something as simple as sweeping the infected droppings could cause the air to become infected. About two weeks after coming into contact with hantavirus subjects begin to show signs. It starts with flu-like systems and goes downhill from there. Hantavirus has a mortality rate of over thirty-six percent.
5. Anabaena In Your Tap Water
So, you can’t eat fruit, drink coffee or have rice. Doctors are always telling us to drink eight cups of water a day so at least you can do that, right? Wrong! Even the very water coming out of our taps can be the source of serious illness and disease.
Shockingly enough, one of the most deadly neurotoxins in existence is also quite commonly found in most of the fresh water on earth! Anabaena Circinalis can creep into most rivers and streams and cause harm to the animals that drink from these water sources. However, it isn’t unheard of for the nasty strains to make it into our own city and county water supplies. As with most neurotoxins, this nasty stuff targets the respiratory and nervous system and can eventually lead to death.
4. Mosquitoes Everywhere!
We’ve already covered fleas, but what if fleas had wings? Oh wait, those are just mosquitoes. How many times has your backyard barbecue been ruined by swarms of pesky mosquitoes? Thought of only as a daily annoyance in the summer, few people really understand what these pests are carrying with them as they move from host to host.
Like fleas, these nasty bloodsuckers bite hard. And although their lifespan is quite short, mosquitoes passing diseases from one host to the next isn’t unheard of. The most common killer as a result of mosquito bites is malaria and over 300,000 people die each year thanks to mosquitoes infected with the disease. Although the rates are lower in North America, there is still no known cure for the disease.
3. Black Widow Hanging From Your Ceiling
No, it’s not just the name of an Avengers character. The black widow is one of nature’s most vicious predators. And, much like the character in the Marvel movies, the female black widow can be a nasty adversary. Black widows are dangerous for a number of reasons. For starters, their fangs contain the deadly neurotoxin latrotoxin, which has been known to cause muscle spasms and extreme pain.
Black widows are not known to be super aggressive. But they do like quiet places without a lot of noise or disturbances, which makes your average American home a very attractive place for one of these baddies to stake their claim. They especially enjoy the undersides of desks and the corners of ceilings. Sudden movements will set a black widow on the offensive. So, don’t be surprised if you get bitten while celebrating the winning touchdown during the big game.
2. Scorpions In Your Shoes
So, maybe you’ve decided your home is just too much for you. You slowly inch yourself away from the sink, your food, and your rice cooker and make your way to the front door. There are fire ants outside so it would be wise to put on some shoes before making a break for the car. But, stop and take a look at your shoes. Do you notice anything out of the ordinary?
Yes, that’s right. Even your shoes are unsafe! The hostile cousin of the spider, the scorpion is just another example of a danger lurking in your own home. Although, out of the countless species of scorpions wandering the earth, only about 25 are harmful. However, they do enjoy seeking out warm, dry places and what could be better than a pair of shoes. The best way to irritate one is by sticking your big clumsy foot into their safe space so you had better give your shoes a quick shake.
1. Brown Recluse In Your Bed
Well, you can’t leave your house so you might as well call it a day. You’ve already checked it for kissing bugs, so you might as well climb into your bed and do your best to sleep off all of the fear and paranoia brought on by this list so far. But wait, before you head off to sleep, you might want to check your bed one more time. You see, America’s most dangerous and common creepy crawly, the brown recluse spider, simply loves your bed as much as you do!
Forget scorpions! Brown recluse spiders are a million times worse! They love to lay dormant in dark enclosed spaces like bed sheets, sleeping bags and in the folds of clothes. Then, when they feel threatened, they attack. However, unlike a scorpion or a black widow, a brown recluse’s bite might not even be felt initially. But, if you don’t notice your bite right away, skin necrosis (aka melting skin) will soon begin. Brown recluse bites are as bad as getting splashed with acid and they start off as almost nothing at all. Although close to 49% of victims survive with almost no ill effects at all, many victims end up with very nasty infections, lost limbs or they don’t live to warn others at all!