Exposure to mould could put young children at a greater risk of developing lifelong asthma.
Mould is a common trigger of breathing problems for those living with asthma. It can also trigger things like a stuffy nose, sore eyes, wheezing, and skin problems.
Research shows that young children exposed to mould and other allergens appear more likely to develop long term asthma. This is more likely in children whose parents also have asthma.
You can find mould in many places in the home. It most often grows in damp places like bathrooms, sinks and laundries. It’s also common on walls, ceilings, window frames and furniture. In damp weather, mould can even grow in wardrobes, and behind curtains or bedheads. It also can also sit in air conditioning vents or appear on prams or under your mattress.
How to protect your children from mould
Here are some helpful tips to protect children from the risks of mould:
- Open windows or use extractor fans in the bathroom and laundry.
- Remove sources of moisture and damp by fixing leaky pipes and drains.
- Clean up water damage within 24-48 hours
- Make sure your air conditioners are cleaned and serviced on a regular basis
- Use the ‘dry’ setting on your air conditioner, which helps get rid of moisture in the air or a dehumidifier
How to clean mould
If you can, ask someone who doesn’t have asthma to clean the mould.
Anyone cleaning mould should wear protective clothing. This includes waterproof shoes, rubber gloves, a shower cap, safety goggles and a disposable N95 or P2 face mask. Do not use surgical or cloth masks as they do not protect against mould spores.
Mixing one part vinegar and four parts water is an effective mould cleaner. You can also use hot soapy water to clean hard surfaces like glassware, plastics and tiles.
Use a microfiber cloth and be sure to scrub well.
DO NOT use a dry brush as this could release spores into the air.
Wash fabric items (such as stuffed toys, clothes and linen) in a hot washing machine cycle.
Avoid using bleach because this may not stop mould re-growth and can create dangerous fumes.