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Deborah Leader, RN

September Named Mold Awareness Month

By September 19, 2010

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Really, it is! September marks Mold Awareness Month and many believe it is a great time to evaluate your home. Why should COPD patients be concerned with a little mold or mildew lying around the house?

Studies have shown that there is an association between factors related to indoor dampness like, mold and mildew, and a wide variety of respiratory illnesses, including asthma, asthma exacerbation, respiratory infections, and upper respiratory tract symptoms such as cough, wheezing and dyspnea.

Mold is found inside and outside of your home. It can gain entrance to your home through open doorways, vents, windows or heaters and air conditioners. It grows in places with heavy moisture like leaky windows, pipes and floors that have been previously exposed to flooding. Mold from outdoors can be carried indoors as it attaches itself to your clothing, your shoes, your purse or grocery bag, or even your pet.

What can we do to prevent exposure to mold? The CDC recommends:

  • Keeping the humidity level in your home between 40% and 60%;
  • Immediately fixing a leaky roof, pipe, window or other leaking area in your home;
  • Thoroughly cleaning after flooding with soap and water, a bleach solution of 1 cup bleach to 1 gallon of water, or a commercial cleaning product;
  • Completely drying an area that has been flooded after it has been cleaned properly:
  • Properly ventilating areas exposed to moisture such as the shower, laundry, and cooking areas.

If you choose to clean your home with bleach or other harsh chemicals, it is important to note:

  • Follow the manufactures instructions when using commercial products;
  • Do not mix bleach with other cleaning products as it could cause toxic fumes;
  • Open doors and windows while cleaning to provide adequate ventilation;
  • Wear eye goggles and protective gloves.

To learn how to improve the air quality in your home, visit http://copd.about.com/od/livingwithcopd/a/indoorairpoll.htm. To get some environmentally safe recipes for cleaning your home, visit http://copd.about.com/b/2008/10/01/recipes-for-improving-your-indoor-air-quality.htm.

To learn more about mold prevention and awareness, visit http://www.cdc.gov/mold/dampness_facts.htm.

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