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Is Household Mold Worsening Your Asthma?

Identifiying and Controling Household Mold

By

Updated April 29, 2014

Is Household Mold Worsening Your Asthma?

House Mold

Photo © Joe Raedle/ Getty Images

What Is Mold?

Mold is a microscopic fungi that thrives in a damp dark environment. Mold can grow on any surface (e.g. food, indoor plants, walls, floors or fabric) given the right conditions:

  • Moisture
  • High humidity
  • Some form of nutrient

Mold is a also a common indoor asthma trigger and reducing mold exposure may improve your asthma.

Why Would I Suspect Mold in My Home?

A number of factors may cause you to suspect mold in your home:

  • You see mold growing - white, orange, green or black growth in a moist area
  • You smell a musty, mold odor
  • You see a discoloration in a wall, ceiling or other part of your home in an area with prior water damage that indicates mold damage.

How Can I Prevent Mold Growth in My Home?

Decreasing your mold exposure will require both the removal of mold and and moisture control to be effective. There are a number of things you can do to prevent mold growth in your home:

  • Wash, disinfect, and then dry all surfaces
  • Repair any leaks and dry moisture that results from leaks
  • Ventilate, preferably to the outside of your home, the source of any moisture such as clothes dryers, stoves and other appliances
  • Keep relative humidity less than 50% - this may require air conditioning or a dehumidifier
  • Keep drip pans from appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioners clean and dry

What Do I Do if I Find Mold Growth in My Home?

  • Figure out where the moisture is coming from and fix that problem first
  • Wash mold off the affected areas with detergent and water, clean the area, and then let dry completely
  • Certain materials that hold moisture such as sheet rock, ceiling tiles and carpet may need to be replaced
  • Make sure any areas you are working in are well ventilated or you may increase your acute exposure to molds

Mold reduction is associated with significant improvements in asthma symptoms among patients sensitive to molds.

Sources:

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Accessed: January 1, 2009. Expert Panel Report 3 (EPR3): Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma

Indoor Environmental Asthma Triggers. Environmental Protection Agency. Accessed March 30, 2009. Mold

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