August 31, 2014
Indoor Mold Can Be Very Dangerous For Asthma Sufferers
Rayshell Clapper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
The allergen and fungi mold is gross. It looks gross in its variety of colors. It grows in typically gross places (around toilet bowls, under sinks, in nooks and crannies). It feels gross and slimy if one happens to accidentally touch it. And frankly, it can smell pretty gross. When we walk into a place that has a plethora of mold, our noses tell us right away.
Yes, mold is gross. And it is dangerous.
There are types of molds that grow in our homes which can kill us if we are too exposed to them or too allergic. A recent study by University of Exeter researchers found that some molds have even been found to exacerbate asthma and potentially contribute to the risk of asthma. And since the study found that around ten varieties of mold grow in the typical home, people should be interested and concerned.
Just to be clear, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America identifies that mold is a fungi which reproduces and grows through spreading spores in the wind outdoors and through air circulating indoors. In some individuals, these spores may cause allergic reactions that have varying symptoms including itchy eyes, runny nose, rash, coughing and sneezing. But some people have more aggressive allergic reactions including their throats closing, and in extreme cases the need for emergency medical attention. What the team of researchers found is yet another damning health condition related to mold.
It's not just mold that poses a problem. Dampness obviously creates an atmosphere conducive for mold to grow. “Molds are abundant in our outdoor and indoor environments, with around 10 varieties living in a typical home. We’ve found the strongest evidence yet of their potentially harmful effects, with higher levels of some of these molds presenting a breathing hazard to people suffering from asthma, worsening their symptoms significantly. It also looks as though mold may help to trigger the development of asthma – although research in this area is still in its infancy,” said Richard Sharpe, one of the study’s lead authors.
The study team was able to identify links between a number of mold types and issues with breathing particularly for those who suffer from asthma. The team gathered and analyzed all the information relating to mold in order to come to their conclusions. What they found is homes with high humidity and those with poor heating and ventilation make cozy places for mold to flourish. This is a recipe for allergic reactions and even asthma attacks. Additionally, any sort of dampness further invites mold to grow, which is one possible reason mold is on the rise since many older homes are being retrofitted with energy efficient technology that may not adequately protect against dampness.
As much as our own health choices affect us, so do our environments. If our homes are producing allergens like mold that damage our health, we need to do something about it. What the University of Exeter team found is that mold most definitely affects those who already have asthma, but mold also may be contributing to the rise in cases of asthma as well. This is why housing providers, residents, homeowners and healthcare professionals must work together in order to assess and address the impact and prevalence of mold in homes. Increasing energy efficiency is good, but not at the expense of increasing the possibility of health issues caused by mold. By considering both, we can better approach installing and retrofitting energy efficient technology so that they do not increase molds in the home.
The new study was recently published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.