Out with the Mold
In with the New, Symptom-Free You!
Many types of molds (microscopic fungi) live in our environment. Mold grows in indoor and outdoor areas that are warm, dark, and moist. Molds reproduce and grow by sending tiny spores into the air. Inhaled spores cause allergy and asthma symptoms. Examples of allergy symptoms include itchy eyes, runny nose, and rash.
Reduce Mold Exposure
Once an allergy has been identified, your healthcare provider may recommend medications or therapies to control symptoms. The next step is to decrease or eliminate exposure to the allergen. This is called environmental control. Evidence shows that allergy and asthma symptoms may improve over time if the recommended environmental control changes are made. Here are some environmental control measures to consider.
In the Bathroom
Use an exhaust fan or open a window to remove moisture after showering. Wipe down the damp surfaces after showering. Wash bathrooms with a mold-preventing or mold-killing solution at least once a month.
Evidence shows that allergy and asthma symptoms may improve over time if the recommended environmental control changes are made.
In the Kitchen
Use an exhaust fan to remove water vapor when cooking. Discard spoiled foods immediately. Empty the garbage daily. Empty water pans below self-defrosting refrigerators frequently.
Around the Home
Remove moldy stored items. Vent the clothes dryer outside. Remove leaves, clippings, and compost from around your house. The person with a mold allergy should avoid cutting grass and raking leaves or wear a facemask for these activities.
Keep the indoor moisture low. The ideal humidity level is 30 percent to 40 percent. In warm climates, use a dehumidifier or central air conditioning to control the temperature inside your house. Central air conditioning reduces indoor humidity. Clean the dehumidifier regularly.
Avoid using humidifiers. Humidifiers and vaporizers will increase humidity in the room and create a favorable environment for mold growth. Additionally, they can inadvertently spread mold spores throughout your house. If you must use a humidifier, prevent mold growth with proper humidifier care.
Source: National Jewish Health, www.nationaljewish.org
This article was originally published in Coping® with Allergies & Asthma magazine, July/August 2010.