Exposure to mold and dampness in homes as much as doubles the risk of asthma development in children, according to a study published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
You may want to think again before you dust the top of your refrigerator or vacuum under the couch. "Certain toxic chemicals, such as lead, pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are routinely found in household dust," explains Andrea Ferro, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Clarkson University and an air quality researcher. "Simple activities such as dusting and vacuuming generate or resuspend the pollutants into the air that we then breathe in."
Because indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than outdoor air, and people spend up to 90 percent of their time indoors, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) offers advice to allergy and asthma sufferers for cleaning effectively to prevent their allergy symptoms.
Along with pollens from trees, grasses, and weeds, molds are an important cause of seasonal allergic rhinitis. People allergic to molds may have symptoms from spring to late fall. The mold season often peaks from July to late summer. Unlike pollens, molds may persist after the first killing frost. Some can grow at subfreezing temperatures, but most become dormant. Snow cover lowers the outdoor mold count dramatically but does not kill molds. After the spring thaw, molds thrive on the vegetation that has been killed by the winter cold.
Dust mite allergy is an allergy to a microscopic organism that lives in the dust that is found in all dwellings and workplaces. Dust mites are perhaps the most common cause of perennial allergic rhinitis. Dust mite allergy usually produces symptoms similar to pollen allergy and also can produce symptoms of asthma.
Molds are an important trigger of allergic rhinitis, affecting nearly 40 million Americans, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI). "Mold spores contain allergens, substances that some immune systems recognize as dangerous," said Robert K Bush, MD, Fellow of the AAAAI and member of the AAAAI's Indoor Allergen Committee. "Exposure to mold can trigger an allergic reaction such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, coughing and hay fever-like symptoms."