Mold on My Mind: With asthma, how do you protect yourself and your family?
I received a fancy air filter for a present last year. It has a mold attachment, a kind of light blub, which uses ozone to fry the mold spores out of the air.
But ozone is bad for asthma -- very bad apparently. Even the guy who sold the product to us said the ozone lamp causes an "allergic reaction" in some people. That would be me, yup yup.
According to the AAFA, however, machines called "ozone generators" directly produce ozone (O3) molecules -- not as a byproduct, but as a direct product -- and blows it into the room to "clean" the air.
Unfortunately these "ozone generator" machines can produce ozone up to 10 times more than the acceptable standard. Therefore, AAFA and other groups recommend that you do not use "ozone generator" machines in your home.
The Mayo Clinic site states even clearer:"Despite manufacturer's claims, ozone air purifiers don't remove particles from the air that may trigger asthma attacks. In fact, inhaled ozone may even make asthma worse."
So needless to say, I didn't bother getting the mold zapper for my air filter.
But a mild winter with more rain than snow is a haven for the growth of mold, so mold is still on my mind. Add to that continuing construction in my building and years of behind-the-walls of water damage that isn't getting properly taken care of by my building's owners and there is a recipe for low-grade allergic asthma that can lead to a decreased immune system and all kinds of winter colds/illnesses.
What to do?
The Center for Disease Control has this to say about mold and offers these mold-prevention tips:
- Keep the humidity level in your home between 40% and 60%. Use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier during humid months and in damp spaces, like basements.
- Be sure your home has enough ventilation. Use exhaust fans which vent outside your home in the kitchen and bathroom. Make sure your clothes dryer vents outside your home.
- Fix any leaks in your home's roof, walls, or plumbing so mold does not have moisture to grow.
- Clean up and dry out your home thoroughly and quickly (within 24-48 hours) after flooding.
- Add mold inhibitors to paints before painting.
- Clean bathrooms with mold-killing products.
- Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have been soaked and cannot be dried promptly. Consider not using carpet in rooms or areas like bathrooms or basements that may have a lot of moisture.
- To learn more about preventing mold in your home, see the Environmental Protection Agency's publication A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home.
What do you do about mold?