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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, kitchen, and basement are well-ventilated. Open windows or install and use exhaust fans to help lower moisture in these areas.
  • If you have any damp closets, clean them well and air them out by leaving the door open or using a fan. Make sure all the closet contents are dry and uncluttered.
  • Run a dehumidifier in the basement or other damp areas. Empty and clean the water pan often.
  • If possible, remove wallpaper and wall-to-wall carpeting from bathrooms and basement rooms.
  • Keep humidity level in the house below 50%. Use an air conditioner or a dehumidifier, if needed. Make sure to regularly change the air conditioning filters and drain and clean the dehumidifier.
  • Avoid houseplants, which may harbor mold in their soil.
  • Clean any visible mold with soap and water, vinegar, or a special cleaning product for mold. You can also use a solution that's 1 part chlorine bleach to 10 parts water, but be sure to ventilate the area well. Don't paint or caulk over moldy surfaces without cleaning them first.
  • When painting bathrooms or other damp areas of your house, use anti-mold 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. They should try to avoid outdoor areas where mold is common, like leaf piles and uncut fields. After playing outdoors, they should bathe or shower and change clothes.
  • Drive with the car windows shut and air conditioning on during mold seasons.
Reviewed by: Stephen F. Dinetz, MD
Date reviewed: January 2022