Mould triggers asthma, new research suggests.
Visible mould in homes is significantly associated with the onset of wheezing in children, a study found.
Lead author Dr Caroline Shorter from the University of Otago in Wellington, said: ‘We found that mould and leaks were more likely to be found in the bedrooms and homes of children who had just started wheezing compared to the children who had never wheezed.
‘The amount of mould present in the bedroom made a difference: the more mould, the greater the risk that children would start wheezing.’
Dr Shorter recommends people use extractor fans, avoid drying clothes inside and open windows to allow ventilation.
Visible mould in homes is associated with the onset of wheezing in children (stock image)
BREASTFEEDING NEARLY HALVES THE RISK OF AN ASTHMA ATTACK
Breastfeeding nearly halves the risk of an asthma attack, research revealed earlier this month.
Young sufferers who were fed naturally are 45 per cent less likely to experience uncontrollable wheezing, coughing and breathlessness, a study found.
This is thought to be due to breastfeeding’s effect on a person’s immune system.
Senior author Dr Anke Maitland-van der Zee from the University of Amsterdam, said: ‘Changes in the composition and activity of the gut microbiome in early life can influence the immune system and these changes might indirectly lead to changes in asthma later in life.’
Asthma is a long-term condition that affects the airways. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, breathlessness and having a tight chest. There are around 5.4million asthma sufferers in the UK.
How the research was carried out
The researchers analysed 150 children aged between one and seven who had visited their GP with new-onset wheeze.
The study’s participants’ homes were assessed for moisture damage, condensation and mould.
‘The more mould, the more asthma’
Results reveal visible mould is significantly associated with the onset of wheezing.
Dr Shorter said: ‘We have known for a long time that damp and mould will make asthma worse if you already have it but this is one of the first studies to show that mould may be actually causing asthma to develop.
‘The study also found the more mould, the more cases of asthma.
‘We found that mould and leaks were more likely to be found in the bedrooms and homes of children who had just started wheezing compared to the children who had never wheezed.
‘The amount of mould present in the bedroom made a difference: the more mould, the greater the risk that children would start wheezing.
She said: ‘Worldwide prevalence of indoor mould is estimated at 10 to 30 per cent of homes, depending on climate and asthma rates are one in 20.
‘We need to reduce moisture in our homes by using extractor fans, not drying clothes inside, and opening windows often to improve ventilation, even for just 10 minutes a day.
‘Even with these measures mould can still grow, so we also need to frequently check for mould and remove it when we see it, particularly around windows, where condensation can increase mould growth.’
The findings were published in the journal Indoor Air.