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Can mould and damp affect my health?

It can be tempting to think of damp or mouldy patches inside a house as just what we have to expect from living in some types of older buildings. We might be surprised when even a new-build develops damp walls and floors because of excess moisture from the construction process.

“It is essential that anyone who is concerned about their health seek appropriate medical advice.”
Mould affected bedroom

So, before you attempt to deal with this yourself, using a hair-dryer and a new coat of paint; read on.

As well as bacteria, trapped moisture can provide a perfect environment for mould to grow. This can cause respiratory irritation through air-borne spores or from the dead mould remains inhaled as dust[1]. Some people are can have allergenic response to the presence of mould. These might manifest themselves as sneezing, a runny nose, skin rashes or blood-shot eyes. There is also a possibility that the spores could induce an asthma attack[2]. Thus, it is imperative that trapped moisture is located and dealt with quickly and professionally. However, finding it can be a challenge as it may have been hidden behind wallpaper or plasterboard. Moreover, premature drying of materials containing mould can cause a sudden heavy release of mould spores.

For these reasons, the safest option is to engage specialists to locate trapped moisture, plan a drying regime, and finally decontaminate and sanitise the site. They will ascertain the structure and materials within the affected part of a building and where a leak or moisture is trapped. Sometimes, this may mean removing parts of the floor, wall or ceiling. Once the location and severity is known, then a drying plan can be put into place involving air moving fans, dehumidifiers, and pipework fed into walls and floors to create a flow of very dry warm air.

It may be necessary to remove air-borne spores by filtering the air using a High Efficiency Particulate Air Filtration System (HEPA). Carpets may need to be thoroughly cleaned and vacuumed too. In some situations, a chemical fog is introduced into the building to denature remaining spores.

Richfords technicians are qualified to deal with these situations and to put your building back to a dry and healthy state. However, they are not trained doctors. Thus, it is essential that anyone who is concerned about their health seek appropriate medical advice.

[1] P.7 http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/43325/E92645.pdf

[2] http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/Can-damp-and-mould-affect-my-health.aspx?CategoryID=87