Mould is microscopic fungi that provoke allergy by liberating spores, particles that are dispersed in the air, especially a the end of summer and in autumn. There are more than 100,000 species of mould and about 31 of these are the ones most commonly found in the home. The most widespread and allergy-provoking in Italy are Alternaria, Cladosporium, Aspergillus and Penicillium. They can grow both inside and outside the home, in conditions of high relative humidity (over 50%). Modern homes, in particular, being poorly ventilated and equipped with very effective insulating systems, favour the increase of humidity, creating an ideal microclimate for mould growth.
ADVICES TO REDUCE THE EXPOSURE TO MOULD ALLERGENS
1) Keep the relative humidity below 50%
by providing adequate ventilation. It is possible to check the relative humidity (R.H.) with a hygrometer, better if equipped with a memory of the minimum and maximum recorded values. Where adequate ventilation is not possible, such as in houses that remain closed for a large part of the day, it may be useful to install a forced ventilation system, or to use a professional dehumidifier. During the summer months, it is advisable to use an air conditioner with a dehumidifying system. There are studies that show that in recent years indoor allergies have increased also on account of modern building techniques which, by preferring energy saving, have reduced air exchange with the outside to a minimum.
2) Do not use humidifiers
and limit the use of appliances that produce humidity (e.g. steam vacuum cleaner).
3) Periodically check the areas of the home subject to the formation of mould
It is possible to eliminate mould from walls, floors and other surfaces with special fungicide products or with a 10% solution of water and bleach (1 part bleach in 9 parts water). Do not keep the furniture in direct contact with a wall, but leave sufficient space for air to pass. Particular attention is required for built-in wardrobes, the refuse container, the refrigerator and, in general, all damp or wet surfaces (tiles and toilet fixtures, shower curtains, radiator water reservoirs). The filters of air heating system, air conditioners and dehumidifiers must be cleaned regularly.
4) Use air purifiers
It has been shown that they block more than 99% of mould allergens from the filtered air.
5) Cover mattresses and pillows with suitable covers
Mattresses and pillows (especially if made of foam rubber or latex) are a natural habitat for mould and fungi, they should be covered with waterproof and breathing covers that are able to inhibit the growth of these microorganisms (see Microair Pristine® with permanent antimicrobial treatment). Avoid using covers that are non breathing and not protected with antimicrobial, because they favour the proliferation of mould on the fabric itself and in the mattress.
6) Limit the number of ornamental plants in the home
House plants are not generally the main source of mould in the domestic environment, however it is recommended to limit their number. In fact the mould may be spread in the air when the plants are watered, repotted or shifted. Mould is also present in tree bark so, if you use a wood stove, it is recommended not to keep the firewood indoors.
7) Pay attention to mould in holiday homes
As they remain closed for most of the year, they are very cold and damp, so before staying there it is necessary to remove any formations of mould and to dry the environment. In addition, the mattresses and pillows in these houses should be covered with waterproof and breathing covers, with antimicrobial treatment against mould and fungi.