What is mould?
* Mould is a fungus that can be found virtually everywhere, indoors and outdoors, as long as there is moisture for it to grow.
* There are more than 100,000 different types of mould, including yeast.
* Some types of mould are fairly harmless, and some even have medicinal uses such as penicillium, used in the production of antibiotic penicillin.
* The most common types of mould found in the home include aspergillus, cladosporium and stachybotrys chartarum
* Aspergillus is a fairly allergenic mould commonly found on foods and in home air-conditioning systems. It is is yellow-green in colour and it is gold or red brown underneath.
* Cladosporium is typically a black or green substance that grows on the back of toilets, painted surfaces and fibreglass air ducts.
* Stachybotrys chartarum, or black mould, is the darkest mould and most toxic to health. It produces mycotoxins that can irritate skin and mucous membranes. One potent mycotoxin produced is called satratoxin, which is toxic when inhaled
* Mould produces tiny particles called spores that when carried in the air may cause an allergic reaction.
* Allergic symptoms include a running or blocked nose, irritation of the eyes and skin, wheezing.
* Very rarely, people may develop a mould infection, usually in the lungs.
Who is at greatest risk of health problems:
* People with asthma, allergies, or other breathing conditions may be more sensitive to mould.
* People with weakened immune systems, such as people with HIV infection or cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
* People with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and emphysema.
How to prevent mould:
* The key to preventing mould growth is reducing dampness in the home.
* Turn on exhaust fans, particularly when showering, cooking, doing laundry and drying clothes.
* Open windows when weather permits, to improve cross ventilation.
* Reduce humidity
* Limit the number of fish tanks and indoor plants.
* Repair water leaks and plumbing problems
How to remove mould:
* For routine clean-up of mouldy surfaces, use mild detergent or vinegar diluted in water solution – 4 parts vinegar to 1 part water
* Ensure the surface is dried completely once cleaned.
* Carpet may need to be professionally cleaned or replaced if they are contaminated with mould.
(Source: NSW Department of Health, 长沙桑拿,betterhealth.vic.gov长沙夜网,, National Asthma Council)