Asthma Rx: A Dry Home

asthma moldEven if you take your asthma medications, dampness and mold could be lurking in your own home, threatening to undo all your best efforts. As the weather gets colder and houses get warmer, dampness can develop in your bathroom, kitchen, and under your carpets and wallpaper, providing the perfect conditions for mold.

?Mold will grow on anything that contains cellulose,? says James Sublett, M.D., chief of pediatric allergy and immunology at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. In other words, wall board, wood, paper, cardboard, foam, rubber, clothing, leather ? you name it, are susceptible to mold growth.

Studies suggest that more than 20 percent of asthma cases are attributable to mold, and there are hundreds of thousands of different kinds of mold. Whether or not you?re truly allergic, certain molds produce mycotoxins that can irritate your nose and lungs and trigger asthma symptoms. Instead of feeling relaxed and calm at home, you may feel your asthma symptoms getting worse.

Housing and health expert Megan Sandel, M.D., MPH, says even if you aren?t coughing and wheezing right now, research has shown that long-term exposure to damp, indoor spaces can worsen your asthma over time ? meaning more frequent and severe symptoms. So, you should take a close look at your home now, before that happens. ?Being proactive and doing the healthy home check-up before you feel bad is a good idea,? says Dr. Sandel, a pediatrician at Boston University School of Medicine.

NEXT: How to clear the air


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