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Be on the look out for mould in your home as it can cause serious health implications

Be on the look out for mould in your home as it can cause serious health implications

Summer is here and that means some parts of South Africa will be engulfed with rain, while the southern parts are dealing with unexpectedly high temperatures and humidity along the coast.

However, that also invites a lot of health disorders. To be able to take the proper precautions during this season, people need to be aware of these issues.

According to a National Library of Medicine report titled "Indoor dampness and mould health effects – ongoing questions on microbial exposures and allergic versus non-allergic mechanisms," it is known that spending time at home, at work, or in school in damp environments can have detrimental effects on one's health.

A follow-up study of the World Health Organization released in 2011 provided evidence that people who live in moist indoor environments are more likely to experience upper and lower respiratory symptoms, asthma attacks and flare-ups, respiratory infections, hypersensitivity pneumonia, allergic rhinitis, eczema, and bronchitis.

The excess wetness brought on by rain and humidity is bad for you and your house, and it may lead to a variety of health problems, from smelly laundry to deadly mould. Additionally, it may result in symptoms such as a blocked nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, skin irritation, or difficulty breathing.

Be on the look out for mould in your home as it can cause serious health implications
Fogged up windows may seem as pretty as a picture, but when there’s too much moisture in your home, it could affect your health. Picture: Supplied

Trevor Brewer, director of air treatment specialists, Solenco, says that many culprits add to the issue of excess moisture that causes damage to our homes and our health. Below he outlines some of the major culprits South Africans should be looking out for, especially this season.

Heavy rains, flooding, and leaks

You might be dealing with damage to the roof and window frames if the recent heavy rain or flooding caused damage to your home. This is risky, structurally, therefore, you must remove it as quickly as possible and take steps to stop water from entering. In terms of health, moist furniture leads to the rapid spread of mould, which can aggravate respiratory issues.

Poor ventilation

Without sufficient airflow, indoor contaminants like dust, mould, and rust accumulate, and are linked to concentrations of water-loving (hydrophilic) fungi in floor dust, according to research from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, causing endotoxin bacteria and fungal exposure, which had an added negative effect on respiratory health.

Indoor laundry

Studies have revealed that indoor drying of laundry can contribute up to 30% of the moisture in our houses. Without sufficient ventilation, excess moisture has nowhere to go and it creates the ideal breeding conditions for the growth of mould and other airborne irritants that can easily be breathed in and introduced into the body if left unattended, which can lead to structural and health issues.

It’s clear that even without constant rain, moisture can, and will penetrate your home.

Brewer advises purchasing a dehumidifier as it takes in air, removes all the moisture, and then lets out dry air again, making the air up to 60% lighter and dryer. It works like a clever vacuum cleaner. In turn, this stops mould and mildew from growing and maintains the ideal moisture levels in your surroundings.

“Mould can be easily spotted on walls or ceilings when black patches start developing on these surfaces. Additionally, a damp smell is often the first sign that humidity levels are too high and mould growth is imminent or has already started. Mould growth flourishes at humidity levels above 65%, so you will need to bring the humidity levels down to 50% or 55% relative humidity,” Brewer told IOL Lifestyle.

Read the latest issue of IOL Health digital magazine here.

Original Article