Experts and allergists across the country are predicting that spring of 2012 may be one of the worst allergy seasons in a decade. Researchers blame climate change. The mild winter and early spring has allergy sufferers running to the medicine cabinet for relief. But high pollen counts are not the only issue – mold spores are unusually abundant this time of year. Both indoor and outdoor mold can significantly affect allergy sufferers, and can even cause asthma in otherwise healthy individuals.
What can you do to lessen the amount of mold in your home? Here are a few tips:
- Clean out your gutters, even if you cleaned them in the fall. Leaves and debris collect all winter, then rot, creating a fertile place for mold to grow – right on the exterior of your home;
- While you’re at it, remove organic debris from your yard – especially if it is decomposing. Dead branches and leaves are prime growth spots for mold;
- Clean bathrooms, and especially bathtub and shower areas, window sills and shower curtains with a bleach or disinfectant mixture at least once a month to prevent mold growth;
- Use an exhaust fan in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms to vent excess moisture;
- Use a dehumidifier – especially in damp areas of your home. Keep the dehumidifier set at 50% humidity. Any more than that will encourage mold growth;
- Try to keep your home dry and ventilated;
- Keep your basement carpet-free to avoid moisture build up and mold growth;
- Regularly check under sinks and plumbing for leaks. Mold can grow quickly in these areas;
- Don’t put wet shoes or damp clothing in your closets. Let them dry fully first to avoid mold growth.
If you are having problems with mold allergies, the best course of action is to have your home tested by a professional to identify the source of the mold and then devise a remediation plan. Then you can truly — breath easy.