It’s winter and parents begin worrying when the first asthma attack occurs and you hear the nightly wheezing that keeps your child awake. Back in the recesses of your mind, you ask yourself, should this be? No, but what do you do about it? Asthma, allergies, and other respiratory diseases can occur and actually be caused by mold exposure. Not recently this scenario occurred. I went to see a friend. She was giving her daughter a nebulizer treatment because she wheezes at night. My friend had a”Flovent” a preventative inhaler sitting on the counter to keep her asthma in check. Every winter this family has the same respiratory problems: asthma, colds, flu and pneumonia with the last condition quite serious. Doctors treat the asthma, pneumonia but not much is done to prevent the problems in the first place. There is something wrong with house and the air in it.
Two years ago that same friend’s finished basement flooded after a 5 day heavy rain. The basement was carpeted, with furniture and boxes of toys. There are several rooms that are used for storage and are kept closed; a musty smell was apparent when opening the door. Some things were tossed; other prized should be pitched but porous possessions were kept. The prized stuffed animal had to go but it was kept. Anything porous and wet needed thrown away. The basement was never fully cleaned; but the floors and the flooded part of the basement were. When one says “fully cleaned”, it means all surfaces wiped down with a mild detergent, a hepa vacuum used on all surfaces and a dehumidifier for basement running. A dehumidifier was installed which was a step in the right direction. Another thing to consider,how did the water get in? What type of mold is still in the basement could only be found by testing by a reputable lab. This house is 1 of over half the homes and buildings that have water intrusion and mold according to the ( NIOSH )(National Institute for Safety and Health)
The correlation between asthma, allergies and other respiratory infections to mold has been established. Many asthma patients react to mold. Mold is not easy for allergists to test. To discover mold allergy exists, it often requires subjecting a patient to several doses of mold before a reaction occurs. However, while some patients show an allergy to mold, they react to the allergy shot. Not everyone has mold allergies but can have a genetic defect that causes the body not to clear neurotoxins when exposed top mold which are able to effect every system in the body according to Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker.This condition is a “Biotoxic Reaction to Mold”. This reaction causes asthma, airway restrictive disease and other respiratory ailments among a whole host of conditions.. Common sense can prevail. If you get sick in a damp building, you are reacting to mold. Asthma can continue to worsen when constantly exposed to offending agents like mold. Many parents keep their houses very hot which is an also an offending factor in asthmatic lungs: hot, dry air.
Asthma can also be triggered by strong scents like perfumed laundry detergent or air fresheners. The whole house needs to have cool,fresh air void of chemicals. Parents need to be the one that realize that the lungs of asthmatics are quite sensitive. Asthmatics must have a mold air purifier constantly running in their bedroom and through the house.There are many benefits to using mold air purifiers including getting killing mold, bacteria, germs and viruses and eliminating chemicals from the air. Use a hepa vacuum to properly clean surfaces of contaminants and not release contaminants back into the air as regular vacuums do.
Folks need to start thinking about how healthy is the air inside my house? Some simple things to do to help with mold, indoor air pollution and organic contaminants:
- Let sun shine in as often as you can. Mold loves dark and does not grow in sunlight.
- Leave bathroom door open after a shower. If possible, crack the window.
- Do not shut any doors in the basement because it creates an area for mold to grow.
- Place mold air purifiers throughout the house and run them year-round.
- Dehumidify your basement with dehumidifier for basement.
- Purchase a hepa vacuum; empty it outside.
- Instead of air fresheners which add to indoor air pollution and trigger asthma attacks, buy a small air purifier for the bathroom and actually clean the air.
- Since carpeting has over 120 chemicals ( including formaldehyde), pitch it and go with hardwood flooring. The underlayment for carpeting wears down and disintegrates gathering dirt and mold spores.
- Buy the least amount of cleaning chemicals as possible.
- If harsh chemicals including paints, hobby products, sealants etc are applied, open the window and have the asthmatic stay somewhere else for a few days.
- Wear more clothing in the winter and keep it cool.
- Make sure you have your heating system serviced and the ducts cleaned. Heating systems can blow mold everywhere.
- Spray the shower down with straight vinegar. It will smell for a bit but kills mold.
- Be a minimalist. Throw out or give away things that are not necessary. The less you own, the less chemicals in the air.
- Make sure the humidity level in any room is below 50%, chemical off- gassing occurs as humidity rises.
- Do not smoke around children and especially in a closed up car. Do not smoke in the house. Smoking is certainly correlated with respiratory diseases including second-hand smoke on young developing. lungs. Change the way you think and: Live healthy….Be Happy!