Increased asthma risks: The insidious health effects of home dampness

Increased asthma risks: The insidious health effects of home dampness

There was a study carried out known as the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Children which showed that damp living conditions evident in homes was a major contributing factor for asthma in kids. It is not just what the dampness attracts that causes asthma to become prevalent, such as dust mites, but also the dampness in itself which can produce or exacerbate existing asthma. This study was a reflection of many others that have taken place by organisations such as the World Health Organisation, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and the European Respiratory Journal all of which echo the same sentiments that dampness in homes is directly linked with asthma.

Identifying Risks

There are certain signs which let a homeowner know that something isn’t right with the infrastructure and thus the insulation.

  • Frequently fogged up windows can be evidence of poor ventilation meaning moisture becomes trapped easily and results in damp conditions.  If you notice your walls feel wet for no apparent reason then it could be a sign of this.

  • Mould is identifiable by its colour and smell so if there is a certain greenish/black patch with an unusual odour then you have a mould infestation. This means you have had insulation problems for a while as this is a gradual process.

  • Long grass outside brushing up against your exterior walls can result in moisture leaking into the infrastructure so be sure to take good care of your garden.

  • Mildew appearing on old clothes stored away in the attic or basement can often be a good indication of dampness.

  • The final risk which will tell you whether dampness is present in your home is woodworm. If there are small holes in your floorboards and timber then this means you could have woodworm and since these thrive in damp conditions it’s a direct association.

Ways to reduce risks

As far as the fog on the windows is concerned this could merely be a simple solution of replacing the existing windows for less insulating ones. Often with modern homes comes double glazing due to an emphasis on keeping heat in but this can sometimes have an adverse effect. In general you should look to improve overall ventilation by opening windows and doors whilst operating electrical appliances such as the stove or shower and also investing in implementing a new ventilation system in the kitchen or bathroom that allows trapped heat to escape. These can be picked up in your local DIY store. Whenever you purchase a home you should hire a contractor to inspect the property for vulnerable areas which might lead to dampness if not treated. This will save you much more in the long run.

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[Image courtesy: FreeDigitalPhotos.net]

 

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