AUSTIN, Texas, July 12 (UPI) — Lots of rain and lots of summer humidity can increase exposure to allergenic mold spores — an important trigger of allergies, a U.S. allergist says.
Dr. Henry Legere of Greater Austin Allergy in Austin, Texas, says mold can be found inside and outside the home, but mold can be brought inside the home on skin or pets, clothing, shoes or indoor potted plants and once inside it needs only a food source, warm environment and moisture to grow.
Large infestations of mold can usually be seen — black stains or specks of black, white, orange, green and brown on surfaces — or smelled. However, mold can be invisible.
“Mold spores contain allergens, substances that some immune systems recognize as dangerous,” Legere says in a statement. “Exposure to mold can trigger allergic reactions such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, coughing and hay fever-like symptoms.”
Mold can be found in basements, crawl spaces, near windows, under sinks, near leaky pipes, heavy vegetation, in piles of leaves and in grass.
To rid a home of mold, Legere suggests:
– Repair leaking roof and pipes.
– Maintain a low level of humidity — between 35 percent to 40 percent. If necessary, use a de-humidifier.
– Use a solution of warm water, liquid detergent and 5 percent bleach to clean mold on washable surfaces.
– Use exhaust fans in the bathroom and wipe down the shower.
– Remove items such as carpeting or wallpaper if mold is visible.
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