Published: September 20, 2011
What can I do to prevent mold in my home?
September is “Mold Awareness Month.” Mold is known to increase respiratory problems especially in those whose mold allergies cause asthma, sinus or nasal allergic reaction, and also those with chronic respiratory problems such as COPD. Mold exposure has also been reported in the literature to increase allergic sensitization and increase the risk of developing asthma in children. It would be a good time to check your home this month for any water or mold problems.
Tips on how to prevent mold in your home
1) Humidity control.
- Keep humidity under 50%. Use a humidity gauge to monitor your home’s ambient humidity. This can be purchased at most local hardware stores.
- Use air-conditioning during the warmer months. It really helps in keeping the temperature and humidity under good control.
- Use a de-humidifier. This may be needed in some homes to supplement air-conditioning to keep humidity under 50%. Most de-humidifiers can be obtained at your local hardware store or allergy control equipment suppliers.
- Prevent over humidification. If you use a humidifier at home during the winter months make sure to limit its output to so the humidity is kept under fifty percent.
2) Ventilate it. Allow moisture to escape from your home especially in humidity-prone areas such as bathrooms and kitchen. Use ventilators to blow humidity out of the house. Also open your windows when the outdoor humidity is low.
3) Watch for water. Keep an eye for any water problems at home such as leaking roofs, cracked foundations, clogged drains and faulty plumbing. Also check around the kitchen and bathroom sinks, dishwasher, washing machine, refrigerator, refrigerator or water heater for water leaks regularly.
4) Remove it. If you have any water or mold-damaged items that can be replaced, discard it. This would include items such as carpets, throw rugs, dry wall, padding, ceiling or tiles or clothing. Molds are very hardy and are almost impossible to remove. Thus when in doubt. Ditch it.
5) Bleach it. Use diluted bleach to eliminate areas of visible water damage, mold growth or contamination. This would be needed regularly in showers and shower curtains. This can also be used in other mold damaged areas caused by water leaks.
To get more information on how to prevent mold at home check the EPA website.
Manuel S. Villareal, M.D. is a board certified allergist in private practice in the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky area. He is also a volunteer Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Immunology Division of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine