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28 January 2015

Mold in the home: how big a health problem is it?

For many people, January is a cold and damp month. During the winter, activities at home can lead to increased humidity and moisture indoors and, unfortunately, this can lead to the growth of mold.

Walls, clothes, books, toys and even CDs - nothing is sacred when it comes to mold growth. Its seemingly insidious growth can turn prized possessions into musty, moist sadness that only look fit for the garbage.

But for all its corrupting menace, to what extent should we be worried about mold when it invades our homes? If these are the effects that it can have on our possessions, what effects can it have on our bodies?

In this spotlight feature, we take a look at precisely what mold is, what causes it to grow, whether it is bad for our health and, if so, what can be done to stop it.

What is Mold?
Molds are a form of fungus. There are many different molds and they can be found both indoors and outdoors. Molds spread through the production of spores, which are present in all indoor environments and cannot be removed from them - spores are capable of surviving in harsh conditions that otherwise prevent the normal mold growth.

Molds grow best in moist, warm and humid environments - easily created in the home during the winter. When mold spores land on a damp spot they can begin to grow, digesting the material they are growing on as they do so. Molds are capable of growing on a variety of different surfaces, including fabric, paper and wood ...

12 January 2015

Indoor Mold Can Be Very Dangerous For Asthma Sufferers

The allergen and fungi mold is gross. It looks gross in its variety of colors. It grows in typically gross places (around toilet bowls, under sinks, in nooks and crannies). It feels gross and slimy if one happens to accidentally touch it. And frankly, it can smell pretty gross. When we walk into a place that has a plethora of mold, our noses tell us right away.

Yes, mold is gross. And it is dangerous.

There are types of molds that grow in our homes which can kill us if we are too exposed to them or too allergic. A recent study by University of Exeter researchers found that some molds have even been found to exacerbateasthma and potentially contribute to the risk of asthma. And since the study found that around ten varieties of mold grow in the typical home, people should be interested and concerned.

Just to be clear, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America identifies that mold is a fungi which reproduces and grows through spreading spores in the wind outdoors and through air circulating indoors. In some individuals, these spores may cause allergic reactions that have varying symptoms including itchy eyes, runny nose, rash, coughing and sneezing. But some people have more aggressive allergic reactions including their throats closing, and in extreme cases the need for emergency medical attention. What the team of researchers found is yet another damning health condition related to mold ...

03 June 2014

Preventing Norovirus Infection

Practice proper hand hygiene
Wash your hands carefully with soap and water:
• especially after using the toilet and changing diapers, and
• always before eating, preparing, or handling food.
Noroviruses can be found in your vomit or stool even before you start feeling sick. The virus can stay in your stool for 2 weeks or more after you feel better. So, it is important to continue washing your hands often during this time.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be used in addition to hand washing. But, they should not be used as a substitute for washing with soap and water. See “Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives.”

Wash fruits and vegetables and cook seafood thoroughly.
Carefully wash fruits and vegetables before preparing and eating them. Cook oysters and other shellfish thoroughly before eating them.
Be aware that noroviruses are relatively resistant. They can survive temperatures as high as 140°F and quick steaming processes that are often used for cooking shellfish.

Food that might be contaminated with norovirus should be thrown out.
Keep sick infants and children out of areas where food is being handled and prepared.