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Inspect Your Home For Mold

Having COPD is a big enough problem, but if you add mold exposure to the situation, it can create a perfect storm for your health. Shortness of breath can become a problem in otherwise healthy people that have a sensitivity to molds, as it causes inflammation in the lungs as the lungs try to protect itself.1

Respiratory inflammation or irritation is a common symptom for someone when in buildings known to have water damage resulting in mold growth.2 If this is known to happen in healthy individuals, it would be safe to say that those with COPD would be at an even greater risk of exacerbation if exposed to mold.

This is one thing that I wish we would have taken more seriously. I always wondered if mold may have played an additional role in my mom’s health. There were at least two occasions that mold was found in their home during the last few years. However, we never properly tested the home for mold spores, and we really should have.

Mold can grow wherever there has been water damage and in areas where the ventilation is not sufficient. It is not necessarily a reflection of someone’s ability to clean. It can happen out of sight, behind walls, under the floor and even around the windows. However, that does not make it any less of a problem.2

If you believe that your home smells moldy or musty, it would be a good idea to check for mold.3 If your home has had any water damage in the past or if you have a basement, checking your home often for mold could be a great first defense to keep it from developing into a real problem. It is possible to test the air of your home through mold testing kits, easily found for purchase online. Most tests will need to be sent to a lab for results, but knowing whether or not there is mold can help you in your fight to keep exacerbations at a minimum.

If you find mold, it is important to get rid of it as quickly as possible. If the situation is bad enough, the COPD patient may need to relocate while the area is being repaired and cleaned. While this may be inconvenient, the thoughts of having an exacerbation caused by mold far outweighs packing a bag to stay someplace else for a little while.

Mold should be removed carefully as stirring the spores could cause problems, even in the healthy individual cleaning the area. Generally, removing the area damaged by the mold and applying bleach to kill the spores and clean the surrounding area will have positive results.3 However, if you are unsure about your ability to effectively remove the mold, this may be one of those areas to call a professional.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. Wong J, Magun BE, Wood LJ. Lung inflammation caused by inhaled toxicants: a review. International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. 2016;11:1391-1401. doi:10.2147/COPD.S106009.
  2. J. Peltola, M. A. Andersson, T. Haahtela, H. Mussalo-Rauhamaa, F. A. Rainey, R. M. Kroppenstedt, R. A. Samson, and M. S. Salkinoja-Salonen. Toxic-Metabolite-Producing Bacteria and Fungus in an Indoor Environment. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. July 2001 67:7 3269-3274; doi:10.1128/AEM.67.7.3269-3274.2001
  3. D. M. Kuhn and M. A. Ghannoum. Indoor Mold, Toxigenic Fungi, and Stachybotrys chartarum: Infectious Disease Perspective. Clinical Microbiology Review. 2003 16(1): 144-172; published 1 January 2003; doi:10.1128/CMR.16.1.144-172.2003

Comments

  • slowhand
    3 years ago

    I found this article very informative and I believe it hits a little close to home. Our home was built during the energy crunch in the 1970’s and very over-insulated as well. However, my concern would be the reliability of collecting samples, shipping to a laboratory and the expected results. Short of doing a Google search for test kits and labs, where would be a more reliable source of that information? Me – 58 YO, diagnosed over a year ago patient, Stage II also found to have auto-immune Sojgren’s (taking Evoxac and Plaquenile for the latter).

  • Tonya Hidalgo moderator author
    3 years ago

    slowhand,
    If you are concerned about the reliability of a test that you can purchase and do, I would recommend having a professional come and take the samples. This would insure that they are done correctly.
    Tonya Hidalgo (moderator)

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