Exposure to indoor and outdoor areas that are damp and have mould can trigger asthma symptoms in some people. Mould is commonly found in bathrooms and fridges. It’s also found in places with little air circulation such as walk-in and built-in wardrobes, and in bedrooms with en suite bathrooms.
Common allergic triggers of asthma
The most common allergic triggers of asthma are house dust-mites, pets, pollen and mould. While allergy avoidance measures help to reduce exposure to allergen triggers, using your asthma medications as directed is a cheaper and more effective way of dealing with your asthma.
How to avoid allergens
Even though complete allergen avoidance does not cure asthma, reducing exposure to your allergen triggers may improve your asthma control and make your asthma symptoms easier to manage. Bear in mind that efforts to avoid or reduce allergen exposure can be costly, time-consuming and impractical.
Efforts to reduce to avoid allergen exposure are best attempted if:
- your doctor has advised you that you have a proven allergy to the trigger
- exposure to that trigger causes your asthma symptoms
- you are motivated to try several allergen exposure reduction measures following just one measure is unlikely to make a difference.
Remember, allergen avoidance or reduction strategies should be used in combination with your recommended medicines and do not replace your doctor’s advice.
Mould avoidance measures
Measures that may reduce mould exposure include:
- removing visible mould by cleaning with naturally fermented white vinegar solution (mould is not always visible and some porous surfaces may need to be removed and discarded)
- using high-efficiency air filters; these may be integrated into air-conditioning, heat-recovery ventilation systems, or in stand-alone air purifiers
- ensuring adequate natural ventilation including the use of extractor fans
- sealing leaks in bathrooms and roofs
- clearing overflowing gutters and blocked under floor vents
- removing indoor pot plants (which promote mould growth)
- drying or removing wet carpets
- treating rising damp as soon as it is detected
- avoiding the use of organic mulches, and compost heaps
Air filters and ionizers have been shown to reduce airborne mould, but how this affects asthma control is uncertain.