Damp house? You may be more likely to have respiratory problems – NHS insight

Homebase advises on how to remove mould from your home

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The health body says moulds produce allergens, irritants and, sometimes, toxic substances. There are, however, some ways to get rid of damp and mould, and this can help lower your risk of developing respiratory problems.

The NHS says that inhaling or touching mould spores may cause an allergic reaction, such as sneezing, a runny nose, red eyes and skin rash. It adds moulds can also cause asthma attacks.

It states: “Mould and damp are caused by excess moisture. Moisture in buildings can be caused by leaking pipes, rising damp in basements or ground floors, or rain seeping in because of damage to the roof or around window frames.”

It adds: “If you have mould or damp it’s important to find out why you have excess moisture in your home.

“When you know what’s causing the damp, you can make sure your home is repaired or take steps to limit the moisture in the air.”

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The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says: “Mould will grow in places with a lot of moisture, such as around leaks in roofs, windows, or pipes, or where there has been flooding.

“Mould grows well on paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, and wood products. Mould can also grow in dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery.”

The CDC says people with allergies may be more sensitive to moulds.

It adds: “People with immune suppression or underlying lung disease are more susceptible to fungal infections.”

Shelter charity says condensation is the most common form of damp in rented properties.

It says: “It appears when excess moisture in the air comes into contact with a cold surface, such as a window or a cold wall. It can lead to mould growth and tends to be worse in winter.

“It can be caused by a tenant not ventilating or heating their home properly.

“It can also be caused by poor insulation, or faulty heating and ventilation systems that are the responsibility of the landlord.”

The Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) says: “If you already have mould on your walls and ceilings then you need to clean it off properly.

“An effective two-stage method is to start by cleaning off the mould with spray containing bleach.

“This will help remove the staining that persistent mould can leave behind. Leave to dry overnight and then spray the affected area with an anti-fungal wash and allow that to dry.

“Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and consider wearing a face mask when spraying.”

The NHS says some people are more sensitive than others, including:

  • Babies and children
  • Elderly people
  • Those with existing skin problems, such as eczema
  • Those with respiratory problems, such as allergies and asthma
  • Those with a weakened immune system, such as those having chemotherapy

These people should stay away from damp and mould, the health body adds.

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