Mold and mildew are both fungi that grow in and from moist areas. Both types of fungi damage the surfaces they grow on by spreading seeds or spores. Once airborne, these spores can be inhaled or come into contact with your skin causing both minor and serious symptoms in people. The effects of mold and mildew on your health can be serious, so it’s important to keep your home free from these spores.
If you’re smelling a musty odor in your place of business or home, odds are good that the culprit of that odor is mold or mildew. Obviously, visible mold or mildew is a clear sign of an issue. The bad news is that most airborne mold is invisible to the naked eye, yet still a serious health issue.
The Effects of Mold and Mildew on your Health
Some people are more sensitive than others to mold. For these people, symptoms can include irritated eyes, coughing or wheezing, nasal stuffiness, as well as throat and/or skin irritations. People with chronic lung illnesses have been known to suffer severe infections in their lungs when exposed to mold. A 2004 study conducted by the Institute of Medicine found evidence linking exposure to damp indoor conditions to upper respiratory tract symptoms in otherwise healthy people.
Mildew is not always visible, and contact can breathing, touching or eating, often without the realization of doing so. While children and the elderly are most sensitive to mildew, any person who’s exposed can show symptoms. Much like mold, respiratory issues are commonly caused by exposure to mildew. Symptoms such as itchy eyes, runny nose, and general allergy-like symptoms are common, with some experiencing sneezing, coughing and difficulty breathing.
- Keep humidity levels as low as possible, not exceeding 50% at any point during the day.
- Be sure your home is properly ventilated, using exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom and make sure your clothes dryer vents outside the home.
- Fix any leaks in your home’s roof, walls or plumbing denying mold and mildew the moisture it needs to grow.
- Consider foregoing carpets in areas such as bathrooms and basements that may have a excess moisture.
Regardless of who or where you are, we all need to be conscious of the amount of mold and mildew present in the air we breathe. As we’ve outlined in this article, avoiding any mold or mildew is impossible, but with the proper information and mindset, you can definitely help limit excessive amounts to help keep you and your family healthy for this season and the next.