Experts are warning that many more UK homes could be blighted by mould this winter, as people keep their heating turned off in an effort to save money. Energy bills have roughly doubled over the last year, fuelling the worsening cost of living crisis.
Rocketing bills have left millions of people facing serious financial difficulty. With the winter months now closing in, there are growing concerns that the anticipated increase in mould-infested homes could have a major impact on health.
Mould can cause a number of health problems, with young children and older people particularly at risk. But what causes mould, how exactly does it affect your health - and what can you do to get rid of it?
According to the NHS, excess moisture causes mould and damp. There are a number of factors that can result in excess moisture, including leaking pipes, rising damp, condensation or rain seeping in.
During the colder months of the year, a combination of condensation on cold surfaces and poor ventilation can result in black mould. Exposure to black mould can trigger a variety of health problems, with vulnerable people particularly at risk.
The NHS says that mould can cause a number of health problems. These include allergic reactions - moulds commonly produce allergens - such as sneezing, skin rashes, runny noses and red eyes, as well as potentially triggering asthma attacks.
Some groups of people are particularly susceptible to health problems resulting from mould. These include babies and children, older people, people with skin conditions such as eczema, people with respiratory problems including asthma, and immunocompromised people.
There are some precautions you can take to reduce the risk of mould during the colder months of the year. Ventilation is especially important, so it’s a good idea to open windows in kitchens and bathrooms while they’re in use, as these rooms are most at risk.
In addition, while kitchens and bathrooms are being used, you should keep the doors shut so that any excess moisture is confined to those rooms. Otherwise, the resulting steam will spread elsewhere around the house, which can cause mould to appear elsewhere.
You should also avoid drying clothes indoors without proper ventilation, as the moisture from your clothes could end up being transferred to the ceiling and the walls. Make sure you open windows when clothes are drying or, if possible, use a tumble dryer.
Another option is to buy a dehumidifier, as they can substantially lower humidity. This means that your home will be less susceptible to the spread of mould spores, although dehumidifiers cannot kill existing mould where it is already present.
Get all the latest benefits, money and politics news in our
This content was originally published here.