Dealing With Damp
Thanks to double-glazing and central heating, damp living conditions are not the widespread problem they once were. However, for some people – particularly those living in rented accommodation – damp remains a major issue. And, as well as being unsightly, damp can cause a number of health problems from skin allergies to recurring colds.
A study published by the medical journal, ‘Thorax’, quizzed 10,000 Finnish students about their living conditions and their general health. Researchers found that those who lived in damp housing had double the risk of asthma compared with those who lived without damp. In addition, they found that one in seven of the students had suffered from four or more colds during the previous year, and almost 40 per cent of those living in damp accommodation had experienced bronchitis, tonsillitis, sinusitis or pneumonia.
The reason damp has such an impact on human health is because the mouldy surfaces caused by dampness release tiny spores which are easily inhaled, triggering allergic asthma or other respiratory illnesses.
Mould spores are found wherever there are persistent, damp conditions such as in kitchens and bathrooms. You may first spot damp by noticing dark patches on walls or ceilings – or you may see peeling wallpaper or decaying woodwork around window frames. If left untreated, the damp will usually cause unsightly mould to appear.
If damp is caused by structural problems then you may need a builder to conduct repairs to the property. However, damp conditions in bathrooms and kitchens can often be treated by adequate ventilation – this could mean installing an extractor fan, or leaving windows open to allow the room to dry.
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