The Ultimate Guide to Mould
Mould & Your Health
The health and well being of you and your family is obviously a top priority and it’s important to understand how mould can impact humans and what you can do to reduce the risk.
REactions to mould depend largely on the individual, however exposure to mould spores can lead to health issues including:
-Skin reactions, rashes and irritation
-Digestive system disorders
-Rare cases of neurological conditions
Here are a few key things to know about mould in relation to your health, so that you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy in your own home.
Mould spores can become airborne
As with any living organism, mould has developed ways to increase it’s chances of growth and survival in nature. Just as any other plant allows it’s seeds to be carried by the wind or in the bodies of animals, mould produces invisible spores that can become airborne.
Contact with areas of growing mould can trigger allergic reactions in some people. Mould itself is not necessarily considered toxic, but direct exposure and contact should be avoided wherever possible. The real risk is inhalation of mould spores into the respiratory system, which can cause severe adverse reactions and reduce healthy lung function.
Ongoing and repeated exposure to mould spores in the respiratory system can cause serious ilness, and in extreme cases may be fatal.
The World Health Organisation has officially released detailed guidelines about indoor air quality and the risks of mould inhalation.
This makes the effective management of mould one of the most important considerations for your household to ensure the health and safety of you and your family.
DIY Mould Prevention
Take action to prevent mould occurring
When it comes to harmful mould in your home or business, there is absolutely no doubt that prevention is better than cure.
Given the potential damage that mould can cause to your property, as well as the severe health risks, it is worth taking steps to prevent the occurrence of mould as best you can.
By taking action with these simple steps, you can reduce the chance of being affected by mould in your home:
Let in a breath of fresh air
Whenever possible, open all doors and windows in your home to allow maximum fresh airflow through the house. This helps to naturally dry out any excess moisture that may occur, whether it’s from rain or leaking from pipes. Also remember to open up any internal doors and move furniture and major appliances from their normal position in case moisture build up underneath or behind.
Maintain a regular cleaning routine throughout the entire premises
Dust and grime left to accumulate around the house are the perfect catalyst for mould spores to multiply and breed.
Don’t neglect the little things like vacuuming, sweeping and mopping – otherwise you might be contributing to mould growth right under your nose.
Let the light in
Ultraviolet light is known to prevent and even kill mould spores completely. Make sure you get as much sunlight in as possible, and even remove the curtains completely during the day to maximise the exposure.
Regularly monitor internal humidity
Indoor humidity can be a big contributor to the occurrence of mould growth, so if this is a concern in your home, it might be worth investing in a humidity monitoring device to keep an eye on the situation. One of the biggest culprits behind high humidity in your home is often your air-conditioning unit, so make sure it has been recently serviced and inspected.
Home Ventilation Tips
It is vital that you take every effort to ensure your home receives maximum ventilation in order to reduce the risk of mould. Heat and moist air lead to condensation, which an result in mould.
Here are some simple steps to check your home ventilation and maximise airflow:
- Check that the exhaust fans in the bathroom and the kitchen are functioning properly. Remove dust filters and clean any build-up of grime thoroughly.
- The biggest contributors to moisture that you and your family create are hot baths/showers and cooking. Make sure all windows and fans are running when bathing and cooking to reduce stagnant moisture forming.
- Ventilation includes internal airflow too. Don’t overfill cupboards and leave them closed for extended periods. Allow room for air to flow behind furniture and always dry your clothes outside where possible.
The Science Behind Mould
Mould is actually quite a complex organism. Having a good understanding of the science behind it can help you reduce the risk of having a mould outbreak in your home, as well as knowing how to deal with it if it does appear.
A scientific explanation of mould
Mould spores are considered neither a part of the animal or plant kingdoms. Instead, they belong to the fungi kingdom, based on the multicellular structure and the fact that they do not need to create their own food source like plants do through photosynthesis. Hence, sunlight is not only unnecessary for mould to survive, but actually kills mould spores.
In fact, on a cellular level, mould is actually probably more closely related to animals than plants.
Just like all living organisms, mould still requires a food source to grow. Whilst mould doesn’t “eat” things in the strict sense of the word, it does produce complex enzymes that serve as a digestive mechanism which are released into the environment where the mould spores are present. This allows the mould to absorb the necessary nutrients required to thrive.
The bad news is that in a lot of cases, the mould will survive by consuming just about any kind of organic matter and moisture available, anywhere in your home.
Different strains of mould can reproduce, either sexually or asexually, and typically the spores are suited to airborne spreading, which obviously poses a threat to human health. This is why it is vitally important to address any development of mould immediately, as microscopic spores will become airborne as a means of maintaining the lifespan of the mould itself.
By understanding what mould is and how it forms, survives and thrives you can be better prepared to identify and prevent any outbreaks in your home.