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Mold and Bacteria

Mold and Bacteria

Molds are fungi that grow best in warm, damp and humid conditions. They reproduce by making spores, which can survive dry conditions found indoors.

Some people are more sensitive to molds than others. Depending on the level of sensitivity, effects of mold exposure can range from nasal stuffiness, eye irritation and wheezing, to fever, shortness of breath and lung infections. Even in otherwise healthy people, mold has been linked to upper respiratory tract symptoms, as well as the development of asthma in children.

Mold is virtually everywhere. It can travel into buildings through open doorways, windows, vents and HVAC systems. It also can be carried indoors, attached to clothing, shoes, bags and pets. The spores by which mold reproduces are microscopic — about 2-10 microns in diameter — and can be carried easily through the air each time they are disturbed. In addition, some molds actively discharge spores into the air.

In buildings with HVAC, small mold spores (those smaller than 5 microns) are more likely to be removed by the HVAC system and other ventilation methods before settling on surfaces. And larger spores, once settling on surfaces, can mix with other house dust and become re-suspended in the air when people move about.

It is impossible to eliminate all mold and mold spores from most enclosures. To reduce mold growth, most public health experts and organizations recommend strategies like reducing indoor humidity and increasing ventilation. However, it also may be possible to trap and eliminate airborne mold spores with the proper air cleaner — ideally one with HEPA filtration.

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