Mould spores are a potent allergen that can trigger severe asthma and rhinitis symptoms and cause a broad range of respiratory conditions. It occurs both indoors and outdoors and the density of mould spores is normally much higher than that of Pollen.
Mould spores, sometimes also called fungal spores, are light and are therefore readily carried through the air of your home or office. This is because their diameter is between one and 100 microns, depending on species, with most being between 2 and 10 microns. Moulds come in a variety of colours: white, grey, orange, green, pink and black.
Your first step in keeping the mould count under control is to ensure that you tackle any damp areas. Another important step is to neutralise mould spores in the air and on surfaces, to prevent the mould from spreading.
Types of mould
When inhaled, tiny fungal spores, or sometimes pieces of fungi, may cause allergic rhinitis or trigger an asthma attack. Because they are so small, mould spores also can reach the lungs.
In a small number of people, symptoms of mould allergy may be brought on or worsened by eating certain foods such as cheeses processed with fungi. Occasionally, mushrooms, dried fruits, and foods containing yeast, soy sauce, or vinegar will produce allergy symptoms.
Mould spores can also cause Allergic Bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis (ABPA) which is an allergy to the spores of Aspergillus fumigatus. Around 5% of adults with asthma develop ABPA at some time during their lives.
Where do moulds grow?
Mould loves damp conditions, so you will tend to find it in places such as:
What is the best way of preventing indoor mould?
Keep your home or office well-ventilated and dry, and discourage the dispersal of mould spores:
A mixture of bleach and water, a mixture of white spirit and surgical spirit, or a specialised anti-fungal spray can be used to get rid of mould patches. Mould tends to reoccur, so you may well have to repeat your cleaning operations.
Can an air purifier help?
While numerous manufacturers of ‘air cleaners’ / ‘air filters’ claim to be able to clear mould spores from the air, they can only reduce, not eliminate, the problem, because:
Dr Wyatt blogs on his lifetime's experience of Indoor Air Quality Issues.