Mold Can Affect Your Health

Indoor molds can be found where humidity levels are high, such as basements or bathrooms.

When mold is present:

  • Walls and ceilings are discolored and show signs of mold growth or water damage. Mold comes in many colors, including black and white.

  • The air in the room has a musty, earthy smell.

Health effects

People with asthma, allergies, or other breathing conditions may be more sensitive to mold. Mold can cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to it, and can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of anyone, whether allergic or not.

People who are sensitive to mold may experience a stuffy nose, irritated eyes, wheezing, or skin irritation, the CDC says. People allergic to it may have difficulty breathing and shortness of breath. People with weakened immune systems or chronic lung diseases, such as obstructive lung disease, may develop mold infections in their lungs.

People who are allergic to molds should first see their health care provider, who can decide if they need a referral to an allergy specialist.

Prevention

Controlling moisture in your home is the most critical factor for preventing mold growth:

  • Fix plumbing leaks and other water problems as soon as possible.

  • Keep the humidity level between 40 and 60 percent.

  • Use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier during humid months.

  • Keep bathrooms well-ventilated by using exhaust fans or opening a window after taking a shower or bath.

  • Don’t paint or caulk moldy surfaces. Clean up the mold and dry the surfaces before painting.

  • Don’t carpet bathrooms or basements.

Mold removal

If there’s mold in your home, clean it up and fix any water problem, such as leaks in roofs.

To eliminate indoor mold:

  • Remove all porous items that have been wet for more than 48 hours and can’t be thoroughly cleaned and dried. This includes carpets, drywall, wallpaper, and upholstered furniture.

  • Scrub mold off hard surfaces with a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water.

If you use bleach to clean up mold:

  • Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Mixing these products can produce dangerous, toxic fumes.

  • Open windows and doors.

  • Wear nonporous gloves and protective eye wear.

Remember, it’s easier to prevent than remove mold. You can help prevent it by keeping your home dry and clean.

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