Can mould growth damage the wellbeing of your family?
Today, we’re so much more aware of what affects our health and wellbeing and are more likely to commit to healthier lifestyles. Part of this effort includes looking at our homes and making them more enriching spaces whether via mindful interior design, feng shui, or just a good old spring cleaning.
In my experience, one thing many families neglect is looking into mould growth. When it happens inside your home, it can pose major risks to you and your loved ones.
In this post, I’ll be diving into a few ways in which mould growth affects the health and wellbeing of your family and a few pointers on how you can prevent it.
Mould inside your home can have a major effect on your mental health
Recent studies show that mould exposure can have neurological effects. Shenassa et al (2007) suggest that damp or mouldy housing conditions are linked to moderately elevated risks of depression and ‘brain fog’ due to inflammation affecting the brain.
Being aware of this is especially important in the absence of other risk factors or triggers that would cause these conditions. Research shows that 24% of the population cannot produce antibodies to fungi, which, in turn, sets off an inflammatory response that doesn’t stop.
In these instances, the longer you or your loved ones are exposed to mould and its volatile products, the worse your symptoms become.
In cases like this, it’s crucial that you consider all factors and investigate your living or working environment for silent perpetrators.
Mould growth is also the cause of a range of physical illnesses
Even if your mental health is left intact, mould can increase the risk of a range of physical conditions. Various studies have identified the adverse health effects associated with dampness and mould including:
● Upper respiratory tract symptoms
● Respiratory infections
● Allergic sensitisation
● Hay fever
Beyond these, sinusitis, sleeplessness, and headaches are also common among occupants who are living with mould in their homes.
There’s also evidence that touching or inhaling these spores can lead to allergic reactions. This can look like sudden fits of sneezing, a runny nose, red eyes, a skin rash, and in severe cases, shortness of breath.
These conditions can also easily be misdiagnosed, allowing their true cause to remain undiscovered. This means that only your symptoms will be treated with little to no long-term relief.
In 2009, the World Health Organisation stated that many types of mould produce type I allergens and immunoglobulin sensitisation to the most common outdoor and indoor fungal species like Alternaria, Penicillium, Aspergillus, and Cladosporium.
Often, those most sensitive to these kinds of issues are children, the elderly, and those who are immunocompromised or who have chronic lung disease.
Preventing mould growth inside your home
To keep your space free of mould, here are a few quick fixes you can try around your home:
- During colder seasons, keep your home warm and increase the circulation of air (try keeping the doors to various rooms open).
- If possible, add insulation to cold surfaces like your windows, walls, and floors
- When it comes to sources of water in your home like your fridge, sink or washing machine, make sure that you’re identifying and repairing any leaks, particularly those in isolated areas like under your sinks, where a small leak may lie undiscovered for some time.
- Check your air conditioner and refrigerator drip trays and empty them periodically.
- When it comes to your laundry, don’t leave damp clothes anywhere for too long. Make sure they’re dried promptly. When using a clothes drier, open windows and close the laundry door to prevent moisture from moving into your home and allowing it to condense on cold surfaces.
- When you’re taking a hot shower or bath, use mechanical ventilation if available or crack open a window to prevent condensation from building up. Do this for over 20 minutes after a shower or bath to ensure that excess moisture is expelled outside your home.
When trying these out, please remember that these are just quick fixes that may help you reduce your risk. If you’ve detected mould and want to eliminate it completely, you may need professional support.
Above all, if you’ve had a flood and your carpets or furnishings are affected, make sure that these are dried properly within 24-48 hours as mould growth can accelerate in these instances. If this is not something you can do, then it should be dealt with professionally.
Ensure your health and wellbeing by having your home assessed for mould growth
Given the many challenges posed by mould growth not just on you and your family but the destruction of building material and furnishings in your home as well, assessing your space for these toxic spores can save you plenty of heartache in the future.
At Building Harmony, I support you with Healthy Home Assessments. My TAB-Mould service identifies the source of excess moisture and the extent of the spread of mould within your space.
Get in touch with me today to find out more about how I help you make your environment a healthy and happy one.