How to get rid of black mould and damp: Avoid catching aspergillus with these five steps

Mould and damp problems occur when a building is not properly ventilated and excess moisture exists.  

Extreme cases of damp could cause damage to your home over time, but one of the most serious affects black mould has is on a person’s health. 

Moulds produce allergens, that cause an allergic reaction, irritation and, sometimes toxic substances. 

Inhaling or touching mould spores may cause an allergic reaction, such as sneezing, a runny nose, red eyes and skin rash, and they can also trigger asthma attacks. 

Particularly for people with a lung condition such as asthma, cystic fibrosis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or a weakened immune system, mould and damp can also cause a condition called aspergillus. 

While there are several different types of aspergillosis, most affect the lungs and cause breathing difficulties. 

Aspergillosis is caused by aspergillus mould that can be found in soil, compost, rotting leaves, plants, trees, dust, air conditions systems and damp buildings. 

The condition is rare in healthy people but the NHS notes the following symptoms to look out for: 

  • A shortness of breath
  • A cough - you may cough up blood or lumps of mucus 
  • Wheezing (a whistling sound when breathing) 
  • A high temperature of 38C or above 
  • Weight loss 

It should be noted that you can’t catch aspergillosis form someone else or from animals.

Most people who breathe in the mould don’t get ill. 

If you have a cough for more than three weeks, a lung condition that’s getting worse or harder to control with your usual treatment or a weakened immune system and symptoms of aspergillosis you should see your GP. 

If you cough up blood you should make an urgent GP appointment or call 111 if you can’t see your GP. 

So how can you remove black mould? 

NHS Choices says you may be able to remove the mould yourself, or you may need to get a professional to remove it. 

Only remove mould yourself if it’s caused by condensation and covers an area less than one metre squared (1x1 metre or 3x3 feet). 

Don’t try to remove the mould yourself if it’s caused by sewage or other contaminated water. 

Protect yourself from mould spores by wearing goggles, long rubber gloves and a mask that covers your nose and mouth. 

Open the windows but keep doors closed to prevent spores spreading to other areas of the house. 

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