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Dealing With Triggers: Mold

A variety of things in the environment can make asthma or allergy symptoms worse. These are called "triggers." Your doctor can help you figure out what your child's triggers are.

Mold is a common trigger for many kids.

What Is Mold?

Mold is a microscopic plant-like organism. It can grow on many surfaces, and prefers damp places like bathrooms and basements. Mold reproduces by sending spores into the air.

How Can I Help My Child Deal With It?

  • Fix leaky pipes, faucets, or roofs. Clean and repair roof gutters regularly.
  • Make sure your bathrooms and basement are well ventilated. Install and use exhaust fans to help lower moisture in these areas.
  • If you have any damp closets, clean them well and leave a 100-watt bulb on all the time to increase the temperature and dry out the air.
  • Run a dehumidifier in the basement or other damp areas. Empty and clean the water pan often.
  • Remove wallpaper and wall-to-wall carpeting from bathrooms and basement rooms.
  • Run the air conditioning (this is especially helpful if you have central air), making sure to change the filter monthly.
  • Avoid houseplants, which may harbor mold in their soil.
  • Clean any visible mold or mildew with a solution that's 1 part chlorine bleach to 10 parts water. Don't paint or caulk over moldy surfaces without cleaning them first.
  • When painting bathrooms or other damp areas of your house, use anti-mildew paint.
  • If there's visible mold on ceiling tiles, remove and replace them. Also check to see if there's a leaky pipe that may be causing the problem.
  • Replace or wash moldy shower curtains.
  • When mold counts are high, kids should take their allergy medicine before going outdoors. After playing outdoors, they should bathe and change clothes.
  • Drive with the car windows shut and air conditioning on during mold seasons.
Date reviewed: August 2017

Note: All information on KidsHealth® is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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