Mould is common in Australian homes and can be a regular trigger for asthma.
Mould fragments – or spores – spread in the air and can cause allergic and asthma responses in some people.
Allergic and asthma responses may cause inflammation of the airways, which bring on asthma symptoms and may cause serious flare-ups.
Effective cleaning and maintenance can minimise the chance of mould spore build-up, and its potential impact on respiratory conditions.
When does mould spread?
Mould thrives in damp and wet conditions and is commonly located in wet areas such as the bathroom, laundry, and kitchen. However, it has also been known to become present after floods, water inundation and long periods of wet weather.
Mould spores can float in the air and can be inhaled. These spores are not usually visible to the naked eye therefore you may not even know that mould is present.
If you suspect that you may have a mould allergy, speak to your doctor about testing this allergy.
Additionally, if you suspect that you have mould in your home, it may be worth having a cleaner come through and give everything a good clean, and if it is still present organise a mould assessment and/or treatment by a mould specialist, whom you should be able to find in your local business directory.
Cleaning and avoiding mould
When cleaning mould, personal protective equipment (PPE) should be worn, including waterproof shoes, rubber gloves, a shower cap, safety goggles and a disposable particulate respirator.
Water with detergent can clean the mould off hard surfaces, and linens can be washed in a hot wash (more than 55 degrees Celsius). Clove oil solutions have also been known to be used for cleaning.
Air-conditioners can be a hidden source of mould and spores. In addition to cleaning any visible mould, filters should be replaced in line with manufacturers’ instructions.
It is also possible to reduce mould by allowing more ventilation – through windows, vents or extractor fans – or installing high-efficiency air filters containing air conditioners or air purifiers.
Other potential sources of mould to be aware of include roof and gutter leaks, wet carpets, rising damp, mulches and compost heaps, and indoor plants, so check regularly.
It is also recommended that if mould is a trigger for your asthma, that you have someone else clean the mould for you as advised above.
Preventing asthma triggered by mould
As winter approaches, we usually see more triggers for our asthma. It is a very important time for people with asthma to get on top of their asthma control.
And in this case, rid your home of mould.
A written Asthma Action Plan can guide what to do if symptoms are getting worse, but also remind you what day-to-day preventer medication is required, even when feeling well.
Now is the time to ensure a written Asthma Action Plan is in place, accessible, and up-to-date.
Controlled asthma is the best way to make sure people with asthma breathe and live freely.
To speak with an Asthma Educator, call 1800 ASTHMA (1800 278 462) or book a call back online via our website.
AirPhysio is a partner of Asthma Australia. AirPhysio has not been involved in the development of this article.