Mould is rampant on the Northern Beaches. Most homes are affected if they do not have optimal air flow and direct sunlight. We have lived in multiple rentals that were mould affected and when we were looking to buy our first home it was slim pickings trying to find a place that didn’t have water damage, a smell of dampness or visible mould spores. Remember, you can’t paint over mould spores! They survive that.
Living near the coast offers plenty of benefits but it can also support this fungal ecosystem, and the effects could be damaging the health of you and your family. Whether it’s the slimy black spots on your shower curtain, the fuzzy white patches on your walls, or the slick orange film that forms on your kitchen sink, household mould is more than just ugly, it can make you sick. Mould needs treating at the source with the right cleaning solutions, and, if serious, by a building biologist (mould expert).
What Is Mould?
Mould is a type of naturally occurring fungi that plays a major role in the earth’s ecosystem. Mould grows best in damp and poorly ventilated areas and reproduces itself in the way of spores.
Mould can exist indoors and outdoors and can grow on and in materials such as food, furniture, fabrics, carpets, walls, paper, timber and plumbing. Not all mould is harmful or toxic, there are over 10,000 species and there is a commonly prescribed antibiotic which is actually a purified mould – penicillium notatum or penicillin. To add to this, fungi regulates and assists diversity in the ecosystems (in the right locations – not your shower for example).
The most infamous type of mould is “black mould” (Stachybotrys chartarum), which can grow on water-damaged building materials and produce toxic spores. In 1994, it was linked to a serious respiratory illness after ten children experienced idiopathic pulmonary haemosiderosis (bleeding from the lung) and one subsequently died. But despite significant media interest and public concern, a causal link was never established.
Am I At Risk?
Climate change and its effects on the weather (storms, heavy rainfall and floods) are likely to further increase the proportion of buildings with damp problems. If you suffer from allergies, live in a home with dampness, have water stains on your roof or walls, smell a mould odour in your home or have visible mould then your immune system could be being challenged by an invasion of mould.
The list of infections, symptoms and conditions can include:
- sinus issues
- skin infections
- yeast infections
- respiratory infections and exacerbation of asthma
- aching joints
- loss of libido
- depression and anxiety
- slow wound healing
What Can You Do?
Connecting the dots with symptoms and mould can be a long, drawn-out process as the symptoms can be so many other things, and, the mould is not always seen in your house for you to even realise it is there.
Apart from the ensuing ways you can mitigate or eliminate the presence or affects of mould in your home – here are also a few really simple, yet important general comments:
Keep your health at a maximum. Mould sensitive people often have room to move with improving their health, something which will assist in the elimination of mould, drop sensitivity to mould and most importantly, assist in the process of cleaning mould from their lives (as much as practically possible). Keeping health at a maximum involves breathing good clean air (in nature) and breathing deeply and well, drinking good clean drinking water (like via a kangan water system), moving well and often (get yourself a yoga membership), keeping your gut health high (colonics, Naturopathic and nutritional assistance, eating organically and seasonally and eliminating processed foods), getting adequate sunshine and of course mangling sleep and stress. If you have any questions about these things get in touch with our team – we love providing really easy to use, empowering and simple health habits and treatments.
Tips for reducing moisture in your home:
- Use dehumidifiers and air conditioners to reduce moisture in the air
- Keep indoor humidity below 60% if possible
- Add insulation to cold surfaces, such as exterior walls, floors, and windows to reduce condensation
- Dry wet areas within 24 to 48 hours to prevent mould growth
- Open windows and doors to increase circulation. Increase air circulation by using fans and moving furniture from wall corners
- Use exhaust fans to move moisture outside whenever you are cooking, using tumble dryers, or cleaning
- Check for leaks around the kitchen and bathroom sinks, refrigerators and other sources of water It’s also critical to avoid water leaks by controlling and maintaining rain and surface water drainage. Where holes are created in the roof or walls to allow skylights, windows, doors, pipes or other structures to be fitted, make sure these are watertight.
If you find visible mould in your home, remove the mould and identify and address the cause of the excess moisture. Clean hard surfaces using clove essential oil, vinegar and water, dry excess moisture and spray with Homebiotic to prevent and repopulate with the right type of bacteria. You may need to throw away absorbent materials such as carpets, depending on the level of contamination.
In case of extensive mould damage, you may need to call on commercial mould remediation services.
Although those with pre-existing allergies or asthma are at greater risks, mould can also cause health effects in otherwise healthy people. So measures to prevent or reduce mould exposure are important to everyone.
If you think mould could be affecting your health, we recommend our detox therapies (Colonics and Infrared Sauna) to support your healing and recovery.