Find out the risks of indoor dampness and how to prevent them

Find out the risks of indoor dampness and how to prevent them

Last Reviewed : 12/29/2020
Find out the risks of indoor dampness and how to prevent them

Increased indoor dampness or moisture can give rise to molds inside the house. On the other hand, molds can grow almost everywhere but mostly in areas where the moisture is very high, like areas around leaks in roofs, windows, or pipes, or flooded areas. Mold growth looks like spots of different colors and can smell musty.


Exposure to damp and moldy environments can cause many health effects. Some are sensitive to molds. They can present with the following signs and symptoms:

  1. Nasal stuffiness
  2. Throat irritation
  3. Coughing or wheezing
  4. Eye irritation
  5. Skin irritation
  6. Some may present with severe allergic reactions - like rash and swelling - all over the body
  7. In the ones who are already suffering from lung diseases, the disease severity may increase, or it can cause new infections.

A study done by Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 2004 has found sufficient evidence that links indoor exposure to mold and upper respiratory tract symptoms.

  1. Cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people.
  2. Potential to develop asthma in genetically susceptible individuals.
  3.  Asthma symptoms in people with asthma and
  4.  Hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition.

In 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) came up with additional guidelines for indoor air quality which includes dampness and molds.


The best practice is to remove the mold and work to prevent future growth. The tips for controlling the growth of molds are:

  1. Controlling humidity levels, not higher than 50%. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low
  2. Promptly fixing leaky roofs, windows, and pipes
  3. Thoroughly cleaning and drying the floor after flooding
  4. Ventilating shower, laundry, and cooking areas
  5. Use exhaust fans which vent outside your home in the kitchen and bathroom. Make sure your clothes dryer vents outside your home
  6. Add mold inhibitors to paints before painting.


Tips for mold removal


  1. From hard surfaces: Use commercial products like soap and water or bleach and water
  2. Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Mixing bleach with ammonia or other cleaning products will produce dangerous, toxic fumes
  3. Open windows and doors to provide fresh air
  4. Wear non-porous gloves and protective eyewear.

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