BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Many people use the summer months to expand their ‘To-Do’ lists and excursions. Unfortunately, there is an unwanted fungus that also expands its activities during Louisiana’s hot and rainy summer season.
Mold grows better in warm, wet environments, which is exactly what Louisiana becomes during the summer.
So, it’s important to regularly check one’s home to make sure the unwanted intruder hasn’t made an appearance.
Mold is a fuzzy surface growth of fungus on damp or decaying material and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it can weasel its way into a home through open doorways, windows, vents, and heating and air conditioning systems.
Mold in the air outside can also attach itself to clothing, shoes, and even pets. Using these items and critters as transportation, it can make its way indoors.
Why is mold so dangerous?
Health experts warn against exposure to mold as it can cause a variety of health effects that range from experiencing a stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes and skin to fever and shortness of breath.
While some people may not react at all to exposure, the CDC says individuals with allergies and immune suppression or underlying lung disease are more susceptible to reactions.
How to protect your home from mold
- Keep humidity levels as low as possible—between 30% and 50%–all day long by running an air conditioner or dehumidifier. Seeing as humidity levels change throughout the day, periodically check the humidity levels.
- Be sure your home has enough ventilation and 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.
- Avoid carpeting rooms or areas like bathrooms or basements as these may have a lot of moisture.
CDC recommendations on removing mold
Mold growth can be removed from hard surfaces with commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup (8 ounces) of bleach in 1 gallon of water to kill mold on surfaces. Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners.
If you choose to use bleach to clean up mold:
- Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Mixing bleach with ammonia or other cleaning products will produce dangerous, toxic fumes.
- Open windows and doors to provide fresh air.
- Wear non-porous gloves and protective eye wear.
- Small areas (such as a shower, or an area the size of a door) can often be cleaned by residents, but larger areas might need more professional help. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using bleach or any other cleaning product.
- If you have an extensive amount of mold and you do not think you can manage the cleanup on your own, you may want to contact a professional who has experience in cleaning mold in buildings and homes.
Click here for more information on mold from the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH).