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Allergies

How to Avoid Molds

Molds (fungi) are a lower form of plant life that cannot make their own food and therefore must feed on living or dead organic matter. Molds can grow on anything and require no sunlight for growth. They thrive in total darkness in the ground, caves or tree trunks. The wind, insects and man spread mold spores. These spores are difficult to totally avoid. However, following some of these suggestions may help you avoid excessive exposure:

  1. Avoid damp, musty basements.

  2. Avoid raking, burning or jumping in fallen leaves.

  3. Avoid walking through weedy fields or vacant lots.

  4. Place protective covers over mattresses, pillows and old upholstered furniture that can grow mold.

  5. Avoid unheated buildings, barns or garages, which grow molds.

  6. Avoid hay and straw, which contain mold. Also avoid peat moss, compost and sawdust, which may harbor mold.

  7. Avoid playing under shrubbery or climbing trees.

  8. Avoid stacking or playing on fireplace logs as molds grow on the bark.

  9. Avoid caves or hiking in the deep woods.

  10. Avoid farm work such as combining, shoveling oats or corn since molds and smuts infest feed grains.

  11. Avoid greenhouses.

  12. Disinfect or destroy mildewed articles.

  13. Avoid natural Christmas trees. Use artificial trees if possible.

  14. Avoid clothing that has been stored for a long time, which accumulates mold.

  15. Electrostatic filters (HEPA) may help to reduce airborne fungi.

  16. Use a dehumidifier if your basement is damp and moldy. KEEPING INDOOR HUMIDITY LESS THAN 50% PREVENTS MOLD GROWTH.

If you see visible mold, notice a musty/mildew smell in your home, have condensation on windows or have had water intrusion due to problems with leaky windows and/or roof, cracks in the basement foundation and outdoor grading issues, it may be necessary to contact an indoor air quality expert such as a certified industrial hygienist and/or building engineer to determine the extent of the problem and what corrective remediation is necessary. One should be careful not to undertake remediation on their own unless they have experience and adhere to standard remediation recommendations (plastic barriers, negative pressure, air scrubbers, respirator.)

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Last Reviewed: Jan 06, 2010

David I Bernstein, MD David I Bernstein, MD
Professor of Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati

I Leonard Bernstein, MD I Leonard Bernstein, MD
Clinical Professor Emeritus
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati

Jonathan   Bernstein, MD Jonathan Bernstein, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati