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Allergen of the month: summer mold

Each month, we’re going to shed light on a seasonal allergen that seems to squirm into our lives (and lungs) to disrupt our everyday routines. Learn what it is, why it’s here, and how to avoid it so you can enjoy the more important things.


By the time August hits, it’s easy to shift into peak summer-mode. That means time spent thinking about beaches, barbeques, and book-reading. The last thing on your mind is the allergens popping up in your surroundings. However, late summer provides the perfect storm of factors to incubate mold in and around your home.


Fast facts

• Where it hides: Places that are warm and wet.

• What to look for: A musty smell—that could be the first sign of mold in hard-to-see places.

• Notable numbers: 77 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the temperature where mold begins to thrive.


The conditions that make it prevalent

Mold thrives in environments that are warm and wet. Because summer temperatures hit high numbers, many places in your home can easily hit that 77 degrees Fahrenheit mark. That temperature, paired with leaky pipes, a humid bathroom, or anything else wet, is a recipe for summer mold. Once mold spores interact with heat, humidity, and a food source (such as dust or dirt), they begin to multiply.


What summer mold does to your home and body

When mold moves in, it has an array of effects on both your body and abode. Left untreated, it can cause damage to your home that is expensive to repair. Because mold can hide in and between the walls of your house, it’s easy to overlook the damage. The effects on your body can cause symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and even skin irritation. If you have a mold allergy or chronic lung disease, these symptoms will likely be worse.


Five tips to prevent summer mold

Luckily, it’s easy to prevent mold with a little bit of foresight and common sense.

• Use an air conditioner to keep temperatures below the level mold needs to grow rapidly.

• Ventilate your bathroom when showering to prevent moisture from building up.

• Check windows and doors after it rains for any water accumulation.

• Keep surfaces free of dust and dirt to limit mold’s food source.

• Use a HEPA air purifier, like Airmega, to filter out mold fragments and spores in the air.