Having allergies from seasonal changes is bad enough, but things can get even worse when we’re regularly exposed to molds within our own homes. While pollen-based allergy flare-ups generally only hit at peak times such as late summer, household mold not only has its own heavy attack times—during the moisture of winter, for example—, but it is a pernicious annoyance all year long. In addition to the sneezing, coughing and itchy eyes associated with allergies, if undetected, molds can snowball into even worse conditions, including rhinitis and asthma.
One of the biggest problems with mold is that we often are unaware that it’s present in our households. Because it’s an unseen enemy with various and sundry places to hide, mold needs to be dealt with proactively and aggressively. If you notice that you or other members of your household are experiencing allergic reactions that are especially acute and/or outside of pollen peaks, be sure to implement some of the following screening procedures and methods of alleviation.
Investigate hidden spaces.
Mold can be deep within the interior of your home, but it may also just be lurking in enclosed areas that don’t ordinarily see the light of day. Basements, crawlspaces and attics (especially sealed ones) are notorious harbors for mold. Check these areas regularly, as sometimes the mold can even be visible. If such areas seem suspiciously damp, take steps to dry them out and get professional screening.
Get home testing.
Checking in with your state’s health department or EPA are great resources for referrals; otherwise look online for environmental testing. Generally, such providers will come to your home for a thorough inspection, but you can get the ball rolling by getting a dust sample from your carpet to check for spores and doing a moisture meter test.
Track down wet/moist trouble areas.
Dampness and dank water are also notorious breeding places for molds, so take the necessary steps to dry them out, or better yet, stop them before they happen. Leaky plumbing is one common culprit; water-damaged carpets or floors can be other places to be vigilant. In areas that are likely to be frequently flooded, such as basements, consider avoiding carpet altogether.
Drywall is another sneaky place for mold to invade. Since you can’t see it, it may be tricky to hunt down through a basic inspection, but once mold has pervaded drywall, you should be able to smell it. Once mold has staked a claim on drywall, no amount of cleaning will help— it must be replaced.
Purchase a humidifier or vaporizer.
If you have allergies to begin with, it’s a good idea to use air conditioning to avoid outside pollen and regulate circulation. If you know there’s a mold problem, you might want to go one step further in regulating your air quality by investing in a high quality humidifier or vaporizer (essentially a warm mist humidifier). Both of these devices kill most airborne bacteria, and make breathing a lot easier.
Especially in older houses, the fight against mold can be ongoing. Since the problems listed above generally only get worse over time, the best strategy for those with allergies is to regularly clean with natural agents, such as vinegar, and aerate all areas of the house. It’s a significant time and energy commitment, but the discomfort and suffering you’ll prevent will make it well worth it.
Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer from California who writes on everything from home improvement and DIY, to holistic health and fitness, to business and marketing. She keeps her home allergy-free by using VapeWorld vaporizers, as well as natural cleaning agents. Follow her on Twitter andFacebook today!