Household Mold and Allergies

Q: How can I prevent household mold and the allergies it can cause?

A: Mold spores are almost always in the air, but they’re invisible until they take root in a warm, moist area. Household mold is a sign of excess moisture, as in leaky plumbing or the after-effects of flooding. In people allergic to mold, breathing in mold particles can cause coughing, nasal congestion, eye irritation and skin rashes—as well as trigger asthma attacks.

To prevent mold from growing, keep indoor humidity below 50 percent. Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner in areas of your home that are too humid. Install exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms. Don’t lay carpet in the kitchen or bathrooms; wallpaper may be a bad idea in damp climates. If you use a humidifier, clean and disinfect it regularly.