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Mould allergy

Mould alert!

How many toxic spores are floating in your home?

The air around us is full of bits and pieces that are mostly too small to be seen with the naked eye – pollen grains, mould spores, fragments from plants, fibres from clothing, specks of ash from smoke, skin flakes, pet dander and diesel particles. Of these, except in very dry climates, there are more mould spores in the air than anything else.

All households unavoidably have mould spores floating in the air. They are released from plants, shower curtains or stored vegetables for example and in the winter months, condensation and its accompanying black mould on windowsills seems to appear the minute the central heating is switched on.

If you are lucky then you are not affected by them but for many, mould spores cause allergic reactions such as a runny nose, sore throat, itchy eyes, sneezing, coughing and respiratory discomfort. In some individuals it can also lead to skin irritation.

Prolonged exposure can include symptoms of dizziness, lethargy, fever, digestive problems and flu like symptoms. Research shows that severe near-fatal asthma attacks often occur during the Alternaria spore season amongst those allergic to this mould. With your doctor’s permission, anyone with asthma who is allergic to Alternaria should increase their dose of preventer inhaler during the spore-releasing season, which is in late summer/autumn in UK. You can check with your local spore monitoring website for timing elsewhere.

Testing for mould spores

You can use a MouldCheck Home Test Kit to monitor the levels of mould in the air in your home. Even in rooms that have no obvious signs or smells of mould, if the level of mould is unacceptable in one area, the spores can have been carried by air currents to all the rooms in your house. The MouldCheck can also test the air from ducted air systems such as air conditioning units.

The MouldCheck Kit includes a Petri dish filled with an agar specifically formulated in a laboratory for the growth of mould species. Simply place the dish in a room for one hour, then seal it and leave for 3 days. Then simply count the number of colonies to discover whether the level of mould within your room is Good, Acceptable, Poor, or Very Poor.

What to do next

If the Mouldcheck Test reveals levels that are a potential health hazard, take steps to reduce mould growth inside your home with a Dehumidifier and Air Purifier. We recommend one of the the Airfree range of air sterilisers as they are particularly efficient at eliminating mould spores and have the advantage of being totally silent in operation.

The Medivac Banamite 009 is also an excellent investment for combatting mould and other airborne allergens and pollutants. It is a combined Dehumidifier and Air Purifier and you can buy this model VAT free if there is asthma or allergies in the household.

If the mould problem is found inside cupboards or other confined spaces, a Damp Killer is recommended. This is a fuss-free unit that works steadily by adsorption for three months without any running costs or maintenance. You may also find it useful to invest in a Humidity Gauge. These little instruments measure the amount of moisture in the air, which ideally should be around 50% to deter the development of mould.