The issue of moulds, and the effect they have on our health, is a topic I’ve covered before but it’s well worth returning to given the increasing impact these small and seemingly so inconspicuous organisms can have, especially now that we’re entering the ‘mouldy’ season!
Autumn with all its beautiful colours, misty mornings and abundance of fruits can also be a very mouldy time of year. Whilst those mushrooms which seem to magically appear on our lawns overnight add to the atmosphere of the season, the increasingly damp conditions that produces them raises the levels of mould spores in the air around us.
There has been a higher concentration of mould spores in the atmosphere for quite a while now.
Following a couple of years of milder and wetter than average weather for the most part, the level of mould within our environment has increased significantly. However it’s not just the weather that is contributing to this problem. Modern building practices which encourage us to ‘seal’ our homes to conserve heat and energy also prevent good ventilation if not implemented properly with breathable building materials, leading to an ideal environment for mould growth.
So why is mould a problem for our health?
Obvious issues arise with the presence of mould spores in the air we breathe which can seriously aggravate respiratory conditions together with the link to allergies, but there are numerous potentially less obvious symptoms that can arise from exposure to mould such as depression and digestive issues.
Whilst the obvious source of ill health is linked to mould spores which are easily inhaled, mould has a less visible aspect relating to the various toxins it produces known as mycotoxins. These mycotoxins include some of the most toxic agents in existence and have been linked to immunosuppression, skin irritation and, again, respiratory difficulties. Not very pleasant things really!
Moulds spores are everywhere.
Especially, as noted above, at this time of year, so total avoidance is difficult but it is important to keep your home environment as clear as possible. The easiest way to reduce your exposure is simply to open your windows more often! But here are a few additional ideas to keep yourself as mould free as possible:
- Keep surfaces clean and dry
- Open cupboards and drawers regularly to allow air to circulate.
- Leave the door and detergent drawer open on your washing machine to allow it to dry out. Leave the door on your dishwasher open too. Both of these are inherently damp environments so can easily collect mould if not allowed to dry regularly.
- Avoid using carpet in moisture prone rooms such as bathrooms. Mould collects under the carpet unseen.
- Move larger pieces of furniture regularly to allow air to circulate especially things like wardrobes and chests if situated in corners or against mould prone walls.
- If you have digestive problems avoid mowing the lawn, indoor and outdoor plants, and compost heaps.
As noted, mould can be toxic so whilst cleaning showers, windows and appliances to remove mould is OK, any larger mould problems must be dealt with professionally.