Harmful Effects of Mould on Human Health

Young boy being examined by a doctor. Stethoscope on his back to check for breathing difficults caused by mould exposure

Whether you’re living in an older house, looking at buying a new home, or are just experiencing some malfunctions that cause changes in your environment, mould in the living space is not just an ugly sight, but also a health hazard. There is a very good reason why we teach kids not to touch mouldy things, and we put extra care into making sure all of the walls are dry and don’t have any traces of mould. But what are the actual effects that mould has and in which ways is it dangerous? Are there any benefits of mould, like some people claim?

Harmful vs. Harmless Mould

People usually see mould as something bad that we should keep away from. This is mostly due to the fact that we say “mould” and think of it as a single species, when in reality there are over one hundred thousand types of mould, and not all of them are harmful. Some are actually grown on food, like cheese, to enhance the flavour without causing any harm. However, the house mould that appears in the corners of the home when it’s damp and unclean is harmful, and it’s not something to be taken lightly since it can pose many health issues – including depression.

Air Quality

There is a big misconception that mould is harmful only in direct contact. People think that if they have mould on the walls, as long as they don’t touch it, it is safe to live next to it. But particles of mould actually go into the air and surround us constantly. This means that even if you only have mould in a storage closet, if that closet is connected by ventilation tunnels to other rooms, the mould can still get to you. This is especially dangerous because people don’t always know that they have mould in their basement or some other corner from which it can get into the air of the home. The best way to make sure the air you’re breathing is clean is to get a good air purifier and regularly let in fresh air.

First Symptoms

Mould can have a serious effect on our bodies if not taken care of. It’s crucial to hire a crew for mould removal as soon as you notice the first symptoms or spot any mould. Don’t think that it’s not a problem just because you only see small bits of mould on the walls in corners, because that can quickly spread and become an even bigger problem. Some of the symptoms of mould are headaches and all the symptoms that come with them, like trouble sleeping, tiredness and poor concentration. The people at most risk from mould and the diseases it can bring are children, the elderly and anyone immuno-compromised. If your immunity is low, you can’t fight off the potential infection. This is why, if there is anyone in your home who is ill or pregnant, it’s crucial that they are in a room that is completely mould-free.

Respiratory System Issues

Moulds are some of the most common allergens, so much that an estimated 40% of people are sensitive to mould spores if breathed in. If the spores (which are created by the million every day from a colony) reach the lungs, they can trigger asthma attacks, a runny nose, respiratory irritation, and other allergic reactions. However, that’s not where the effects of mould on the respiratory system end. Babies growing up in homes with mould are far more likely to develop illnesses like pneumonia and bronchitis. Remember that sometimes you might chalk up the symptoms to a seasonal allergy, when it could be something worse. If you are experiencing symptoms of allergies, make sure you visit a specialist to pinpoint what it is exactly that you are allergic to, so that you can react accordingly.

How To Prevent Mould

The first step to making sure your home is mould-free is doing your best to prevent any dampness in the walls and the air. Mould thrives in dark, damp corners so make sure you check them often and keep your home dry. Living in a newly built apartment or house helps, because they have better insolation, and they will protect you from mould much better than old walls. If you do see some mould appearing, you should do your best to remove it with chlorine. It is very efficient against mould, which is why it is added to water in pools. Make sure you often check the dark corners in your home, especially the external walls, since they are most prone to dampness and mould. If you notice you have a persistent problem, even after professional removal, you should consider doing renovations to enhance the insulation, or consider moving altogether.

Make sure that you are doing all you can to prevent mould in your home, and get educated about the symptoms and effects it can have. Mould can creep up into any home and living space, so it is important to keep an eye on it and keep it under control to make sure you are living and working in a healthy environment.

Diana Smith is a full time mom of two beautiful girls interested in business and marketing related topics.

In her free time she enjoys exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family.

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