Lifestyle

5 ways mold in your home can be harmful to your health

Indoor MOLDs are not only unsightly, but they can also be harmful to your health.

NS Toxic fluff is a nightmare for some homeowners who can’t change it no matter how hard they try.

Mold in the house

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Mold in the houseCredit: Getty

However, experts say keeping it out of the house should be a priority, especially if there are infants, children, the elderly or existing health conditions in the home.

A damp home is the perfect environment for mold to grow on walls and surfaces.

Wetness is often caused by humidity, which can happen for a variety of reasons, from weeks of rain outside to constant washing, cooking, or drying indoors.

It is also the result of condensation, especially in bathrooms, or weaknesses in the home’s infrastructure, such as leaks or lack of insulation or ventilation.

Mold appears slowly as black, white, or green patches on walls, ceilings, or tiles. It can have a musty smell, making the home uncomfortable.

Government data shows that an average of 3% of UK households have suffered from dampness in at least one room in their home.

It is more common in mixed Caribbean (13%) and Bangladeshi (10%) white and black households than in any other ethnic group.

Meanwhile, the UK Housing Survey reports that damp problems are more common in rented homes (six to seven per cent) than in owner-occupied homes (two per cent).

How does mold affect your health?

The NHS says the problem with mold is that it produces allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants and sometimes toxic substances.

When they are inhaled or they penetrate the skin, it causes unpleasant symptoms.

These toxins may not be harmful at first at low levels. But if they are constantly in the air, it will start to cause side effects.

People who live in homes with mold are more likely to:

  1. Have breathing problems
  2. Respiratory tract infection
  3. Allergy
  4. Asthma, including asthma attacks
  5. Problems with the immune system

Jeroeon Douwes, a professor of public health at Massey University, wrote in Conversation: “Long-term exposure to high levels of humidity in the home can reduce lung function and cause chronic health problems like asthma.

“People who already have asthma and allergies are more likely to have more severe symptoms with exposure.”

He added: “People who live in damp and moldy homes are also more at risk for depression, which, in turn, may increase the risk of respiratory symptoms and asthma.”

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says recent studies have suggested that exposure to mold may lead to the development of asthma in some children.

What are the signs that show your house? cause disease?

Usually, the respiratory symptoms or what you normally see with an allergy.

They may include:

  • Snivel
  • Red or itchy eyes
  • Skin rash
  • Wheeze
  • Headache
  • Cough, even at night
  • Sore throat

What can you do?

Professor Douwes said: “There are a number of possible measures you can take to prevent or reduce mold in your home.

“These include adequate heating and, in colder climates, insulation of your home to reduce air humidity and condensation.

“Install and use proper ventilation, especially in wet areas or areas where steam can be emitted, such as bathrooms, laundromats and kitchen areas.

“It is important to avoid water seepage by controlling and maintaining rain and surface drainage. Where openings in the roof or wall are created for the installation of skylights, windows, doors, pipes or other structures, ensure that these openings are watertight.

“If you see mold in your home, Remove the mold and identify and address the cause of excess moisture.

“Clean hard surfaces with soap and water or if mold is still growing, bleach solution can be used. You may need to dispose of absorbent materials such as carpets, depending on the level of contamination.

“In the case of extensive mold damage, you may have to call in a commercial mold removal service.”

If you’re renting a property, it can be difficult to know where you stand with mold.

New rules coming into effect in 2020 will help tenants struggle for better living conditions.

The Housing (Physical for Human Habitat) Act went into effect in March 2020 and means homeowners must ensure their properties meet certain standards.

That means tenants in England and Wales can now take landlords to court over issues including cold and damp homes.

But tenants can also do things to help the home, including opening windows in the shower or preventing plumbing leaks.

Top 5 tips to fight moisture and mold at home

Asthma UK is aware that mold can worsen or trigger asthma symptoms in people with this condition. They give them top five tips to start fighting mold in your home today:

1. Open windows and doors so the air can move around. But use caution on days with a lot of pollen or pollution if these are triggers for you.

2. Try to avoid drying clothes indoors. If you have nowhere else to dry them, open a window if possible.

3. Use exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms or open windows when cooking or after bathing.

4. Close the door to the room you’re in if you’re cooking or showering to avoid condensation in other rooms

5. Try to keep your home at a good base temperature that is never too cold, at least 15 degrees in all rooms.

Woman shows off amazing black mold treatment

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Tom Vazquez

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