Moisture Is a Leading Cause of Allergens in the Home!

By:    |   Published April 25, 2019
A woman, sitting inside a home, sneezes into a tissue.

You wake up with a stuffy nose, again. You rub your itchy eyes, drag yourself through your morning routine and head out the door. By the time you get to work you feel better and have a great day. You sing along with the radio as you drive home. You walk in the door, put your keys down, and kick off your shoes.  As you walk over to look through the mail, you make a quick stop to get a tissue because you feel a sneeze coming on. Your rub your eyes which are beginning to itch again.  You wonder: What’s going on? Am I allergic to my house?

You may not be allergic to your house per se, but you may very well be allergic to something in your house. According to the CDC, more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that Americans spend up to 90 percent of their time in their home and, according to surveys, 35-50 percent of all structures have damp conditions which may encourage the growth and buildup of biological pollutants. So it is very likely that allergens in the home are causing your symptoms.

How Moisture Puts Your Home at Risk

Mold is a common allergen. Mold is a fungus and requires moisture to survive – and thrive. While you may have a favorite houseplant that you want to flourish, mold is not something you want growing in your home. Green thumb, yes; black mold, no!

Once mold has taken a foothold in your home, it can’t be completely removed without eliminating the source of moisture. One of the most common sources of moisture in a home is in the basement.  Even well-built basements are prone to moisture. The drastic temperature changes here in Ohio and Michigan can cause condensation – moisture which collects on walls, inside windows, on pipes and on floors.

Not everyone is allergic to mold. However, even your pet can have adverse reactions to it! Often, the type of mold can change your body’s physical response, but everyone’s reaction to mold spores is different. Black mold is often considered the most dangerous type of mold. It is important to keep in mind that with mold, or any other types of allergens in the home, those with compromised breathing conditions such as asthma are at the highest risk.

Signs of Mold Allergens in the Home

The most common symptoms of mold allergies are:

  • Sneezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Red or watery eyes
  • Itching in the throat, nose or eyes
  • Unusually dry or scaly skin
  • Stuffed or runny nose
  • Persistent cough

 If these symptoms appear primarily when you or a family member are at home, you likely have allergens in your home.

How Mold Allergens Cause Symptoms

Mold spreads by releasing spores into the air. While spores are the most concentrated at the source, they can also travel. So, if you notice a moldy or musty smell, you are likely breathing in mold spores. When you inhale these spores, your body senses them and triggers its natural response of antibodies – or an allergic reaction. Your body will continue to react to the presence of mold spores until they’re completely removed.

Airflow in your home will bring spores from your humid basement into the rest of the home. One way to improve air quality is with the EZ Breathe system. It can help reduce or eliminate allergens in the home.

How to Deal with Mold Allergens in the Home

The only way to stop allergic responses is to remove the allergens at their source. The three most common places mold can be found in your home are bathrooms, kitchens and basements. Hot showers and cooking can release a lot of moisture in the air that collects on walls and floors. Mold can even grow on soap or soap-covered grout!

When eliminating moist air from bathrooms and kitchens, be sure to use vent fans that remove moisture from the home to the outside. If your fan vents to the attic, you could inadvertently be creating a new breeding ground for mold while trying to eliminate it from the bathroom or kitchen.

When you find mold, you can clean it, which will reduce the amount of mold spores in your home. Two places that are often overlooked are the refrigerator drip pans and door gaskets. Clean these regularly and remove any mold that may be growing.

However, without removing the source of moisture, even if you clean it, mold will simply return.  There are some steps you can take to reduce or eliminate moisture:

  • If you live in a high-humidity area, invest in a dehumidifier. Reducing the humidity can prevent mold from growing. Most models come with a digital humidity gauge that measures the humidity in a room. You can set them to the desired relative humidity – between 35 and 45 percent. The risk of mold rises drastically if the relative humidity is 50 percent or higher. Also, be sure to empty and clean the drip bucket regularly as mold can grow there. If possible, have your dehumidifier drip directly into a drain. Don’t let your dehumidifier end up being a source of allergens in the home!   
  • Keeping your basement dry is an important step in mold prevention. Preventing water from entering your basement in the first place is a great way to keep your home mold free. Directing water away from your home on the outside is the best way to start. If you have cracks in your foundation, sometimes foundation injections are all that’s needed.
  • For more serious issues of moisture invasion, a full basement waterproofing solution may be necessary.

If you suspect mold, excess moisture, or water damage in your basement, getting a professional inspection can determine if you have water issues. If so, you will then be able to determine the best way to address them. Eliminating the allergens in the home and the moisture that feeds it is an investment in your home and in your health – and that’s nothing to sneeze at!

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