Colder Weather = Time Indoors: Is It A Coincidence That People Get Sick In The Fall?
As the weather cools, many of us spend more time indoors, in close proximity to one another. Simultaneously, kids return to school, where colds and flu can spread like wildfire. It is no wonder we are all more likely to get sick in the fall, and to that end, there is plenty of advice on ways to avoid catching whatever is going around.
However, there may be another explanation for why we tend to feel crummy in the fall, other than just circulating, infectious disease.
Many people do not realize that they have mold growing in parts of their homes and that mold releases spores and other material into the air. Interestingly, mold is often implicated in a number of respiratory problems, such as asthma, allergies and chronic sinus problems. Despite this, many physicians deny mold plays much of a role in anything.
Because of modern building techniques that render our homes, schools and work places more “sealed off” than ever before, these buildings can become Petri dishes for mold colonies, particularly in darker areas with poor airflow and steady access to moisture from a leak, a cracked pipe, etc.
During the winter, we close the windows and doors and keep the house at a comfortable temperature. This keeps the weather outside; but whatever is contaminating the air indoors stays inside, too, where it is inhaled by the inhabitants of that building. Breathing in mold spores constitute another way we are exposed to these virulent organisms, and there is plenty of evidence that exposure to mold via breathing can bring about some serious health problems.
With cooler weather approaching, it is time to fortify your home against fungus. There are a few measures you can take to do this.
Clean Any Problem Areas
If you see mold growing in your bathrooms, or around ceiling ducts, take care of it as quickly as possible. There are a variety of natural cleaners that can assist to this end, such as citrus-based cleaners. Sometimes, more conventional cleaners such as bleach are necessary. Regardless, it is best to address the problem as quickly as possible.
Get Your Home Tested
Seeing mold in parts of your home may be a sign of a more systemic problem; a mold test kit (available at most hardware stores) can assist you in assessing the systemic burden of mold spores indoors. This is a good step if you suspect you might have mold growing in your home. If you find you have a more systemic problem, professional remediation may be necessary.
Fix Your Home
Leaks constitute a common way that areas of your home are exposed to the moisture necessary to sustain mold growth.
- Fix any leaks in the roof that would allow rain or melting snow to get into your home
- Patch any leaking pipes or other areas that water might be escaping
- Replace any affected dry wall, wood or other building materials that have been contaminated with or colonized by mold
Even areas that have been previously affected by mold, but appear to be dormant, should be addressed. Mold spores can lay dormant for years waiting for the right conditions to proliferate; eliminating them before they have the chance for those conditions is a good way to ensure they never cause problems.