Mould spores are tiny structures that act like “seeds” for mould reproduction. Mould spores are very hardy and can survive under conditions in which mould cannot grow, such as in dry and harsh environments. Generally they are in very high numbers in household and workplace dust. When the dust is disturbed the spores become airborne and depending on the size, they may take a while before settling. When mould spores are present in large quantities, they are a health hazard to humans, potentially causing allergic reactions and respiratory problems.
Exposure to mould spores
We are always exposed to mould spores both indoors and outdoors. The concentration of airborne spores fluctuates with the season and prevailing environmental conditions. Some people are more sensitive to mould than others. Exposure to mould spores by inhalation can cause serious respiratory problems to people who are sensitized or whose immune system is weak such as babies and children, elderly people, those with existing skin problems, such as eczema, or respiratory problems, such as allergies and asthma. Mould exposure symptoms may include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash. Mould exposure can also irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mould-allergic and non-allergic people.
How to decrease exposure to mould spores
If you are sensitive to mould you should avoid areas that are likely to have mould, such as compost piles, cut grass, and wooded areas. Mould is usually not a problem indoors, unless mould spores land on a wet or damp surfaces and begin growing. Mould growth can controlled by fixing moisture problems and maintaining humidity levels at 50% or less all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. Too much moisture not only encourages mould growth but also makes a home stuffy and gives it a faint odour.