Molds are found worldwide, are adaptable and frugal. Most of their representatives are harmless, but some can cause infections and allergies. An estimated one in four allergic persons is sensitive to mold. Mold fungi (filamentous fungi) feel at home wherever it is moist and warm. They feed on dead organic matter, such as B. in foliage and plant parts, house dust and the soil occurs, but also in wallpaper, fabrics and even bricks. Mold infestation on building materials can usually be eliminated quite permanently. Wallpaper, plaster and joints must be expertly cleaned.
How do molds develop?
Molds are known for spoiled food, but the spores of molds can also lurk in other places such as trashcans, flowerpots, mattresses, air conditioners and vacuum cleaners. If they are carried by air from place to place, they spread the mold and the culprit settles wherever suitable living conditions prevail.
Most types of mold grow quickly at a relative humidity of 80% and a temperature of over 20 degrees Celsius. On permanently damp corners, in the bathroom, on shower curtains, behind cabinets and next to windows, fungi are particularly common. In order to save energy, apartments are often built relatively "airtight" today. Thus, in a flat often has a relatively high humidity. The resulting condensate creates the best conditions for the growth of mold.
Symptoms of mold attack
Molds are therefore usually absorbed by the inhalation of polluted indoor air pollutants through the lungs, but also reach via food via the gastrointestinal tract into the body. They therefore predominantly infect internal organs. They form liver-damaging and carcinogenic toxins (aflatoxins) and can trigger an allergy. On its surface are certain structures (enolase), which are responsible for the allergic reactions. Since a fungus can have many different enolases, the detection of the triggers is often not easy.
The symptoms are varied and quite non-specific, including:
- to cough
- skin lesions
- Gastrointestinal complaints
- joint pain
Avoid mold in the apartment
Some tricks help to prevent mold and thus possible disease consequences:
- Good ventilation of the apartment and a relative humidity of only 40 to 50%.
- Allergy sufferers should pay particular attention to mold formation behind cabinets, tiles or wood paneling - and tackle them.
- Filter bags of vacuum cleaners should be changed frequently.
- No plants in the bedroom! Flower pots are a frequently underestimated source of mold contamination.
- Avoid long storage times of food, keep fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator if possible.
- Bread which has been stored for a long time must be thoroughly checked for mold before consumption - especially in humid weather.
- In general, foods that are attacked by mold fungi should be disposed of better. It is not enough to remove affected areas generously, as mold may have spread even further away - not yet visible.
- Rubbish bins, especially biotons, are a popular playground for molds. Regular emptying and then thorough cleaning will help.
- Rather dispense with humidifiers and water evaporators or at least clean them regularly; also clean air conditioners at regular intervals.