All of us are surrounded every day by mould particles in the atmosphere, but when we are exposed to particularly damp areas in which these fungal spores positively thrive, ill health can be a direct result.
How do I know if my home is damp?
You may have experienced a leaking pipe or damaged guttering which has caused water to soak into the brickwork of your house, but not all causes of damp are quite so obvious. Whether you have a faulty or even non-existent damp-proof course thus allowing water to soak up through the brickwork from the ground, or have inadequate ventilation in your rooms, you are likely to have experienced condensation on the walls and windows at some point.
A tell-tale indication of damp is the presence of dark patches on the walls. Often found around a metre above ground level in the case of rising damp, or behind furniture and pictures where inadequate ventilation is the primary cause.
Another clear indication of a damp home is the distinctive smell, which is almost impossible to mask and contaminates bedding and clothing. There may be a simultaneous infestation of insects such as woodlice which thrive in these conditions.
The damage to health
One of the sure signs of dampness in the home is when one or more family members suffers from a persistent cough. Mould spores, along with dust mites, are a frequent and common cause of allergic reactions. Babies, toddlers, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems are particularly at risk of developing complications such as pneumonia or bronchitis.
Mould spores in the atmosphere at high levels are implicated in asthma attacks. Although the damp itself is not the cause of an individual suffering from asthma, sufferers experience more frequent and aggravated episodes when living in a damp atmosphere.
Aside from being the cause or aggravating factor in a number of respiratory problems, mould spores can also reach toxic levels in the body causing a number of other health issues. From sinusitis to headaches and digestive problems to skin disorders, living in a damp home can cause serious damage to your health.
What can I do?
Fresh air is the enemy of mould spores, so make sure you have adequate ventilation in any room featuring damp patches or mould. Bathrooms and kitchens which are prone to constant exposure to steam should have extractor fans installed to minimise the problem.
Remove surface mould from walls using a strong bleach solution – wear rubber gloves to avoid skin contact and keep the bleach solution away from coloured furnishings and fabrics.
Get an expert to come and assess your home to ascertain the cause of the dampness. A reputable company will be happy to come and spend time with you in your home free of charge in order to establish the best and most appropriate solution to the problem. Ask for a no-obligation quotation and always make sure that any company you choose to undertake the work can offer you a substantial guarantee for peace of mind.