Mold spores are ubiquitous, so living with a mold allergy can be difficult. Children with mold allergies suffer from nasal symptoms like a runny nose or congestion, as well as ocular symptoms like itchy eyes or conjunctivitis (pink eye). These symptoms can be present year-round, but reducing your child's mold exposure can help to keep the symptoms under control. Here are three ways to reduce your child's mold exposure at home.
Control indoor humidity
Mold needs moisture to grow, so to keep it at bay, you need to control the humidity inside your home. Mold can grow as soon as the humidity level reaches 80%, so you will need to keep the humidity below this level. An easy way to measure your home's humidity is with a device called a hygrometer; this device looks similar to a thermometer, but instead of temperature, it measures humidity. Ideally, you should reduce your home's humidity level to between 30% and 50%.
To lower indoor humidity, make sure that moist parts of your home, like your bathrooms, are well-ventilated. Remember to turn on your ventilation fans after a shower or bath to get rid of excess moisture. You should also use your exhaust fan every time you cook. Place dehumidifiers in your basement, bathrooms or other rooms that have a humidity problem.
Filter indoor air
You can remove airborne mold spores from your home with high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. To be sold as a HEPA filter, an air filter must be able to filter out at least 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 microns in diameter or larger. Mold spores are much larger—one to five microns in size—so a HEPA filter can remove them effectively.
To control indoor mold, place HEPA filters around your home. Place these filters in rooms that are likely to contain mold, like basements and bathrooms. It's also a good idea to place a HEPA filter in your child's bedroom to make sure mold doesn't develop there. HEPA filters can even be attached to your home's air conditioning system for whole-house mold control.
Handle spills and leaks quickly
Spills and leaks are annoying for anyone, but they're a bigger problem for people with mold-allergic children. This is because leaky pipes, dripping faucets and wet floors can quickly form a breeding ground for mold. It only takes 24 to 48 hours for mold spores to start to grow on a damp surface, so you need to be vigilant about cleaning up spills and leaks.
Once you've cleaned up the spill, it's a good idea to wipe the area with a solution of 10% bleach. This will kill any mold spores that are present in the area.
If your child is allergic to mold, take steps to reduce their mold exposure at home. Since it's impossible to completely avoid mold, you should also take them to an allergist to receive allergy control medications.