Mold can cause many health effects. For some people, mold can cause a stuffy nose, sore throat, coughing or wheezing, burning eyes, or skin rash. People with asthma or who are allergic to mold may have severe reactions. Immune-compromised people and people with chronic lung disease may get lung infections from mold.

Molds are part of the natural environment and can be found both indoors and outdoors. Mold is not usually a problem unless it begins growing indoors.

For more resources about mold and indoor air quality, visit the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Mold Resources page. and the Environment Protection Agency page.

Improving Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality affects everyone. Children, the elderly, and people with health conditions like asthma and heart disease are especially vulnerable.

Indoor pollution sources that release gases or particles into the air are a primary cause of indoor air quality problems in homes. Inadequate ventilation can increase indoor pollutant levels by not bringing in enough fresh outdoor air to dilute emissions from indoor sources and by not carrying indoor air pollutants out of the home. High temperature and humidity levels can also increase concentrations of some pollutants.

  • Test for radon and act accordingly.
  • Reduce asthma triggers.
  • Prevent mold by controlling moisture.
  • Keep your home smoke-free.
  • Install carbon monoxide (CO) alarms. Test and replace batteries in existing CO and smoke detectors.
  • Use and properly maintain ventilation systems in your home.

View more resources about protecting your indoor air quality.

Preventing Mold Growth

The best way to control mold growth is to control moisture.

  • Keep humidity levels low. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help keep the level low. You can buy a meter to check your home’s humidity at a home improvement store. Humidity levels change over the course of a day so you will need to check the humidity levels more than once a day.
  • Ensure the air in your home flows freely. Use exhaust fans that vent outside your home in the kitchen and bathroom. Make sure your clothes dryer vents outside your home.
  • Fix any leaks in your roof, walls, or plumbing to prevent moisture and eventual mold growth.
  • After a flood, clean and dry out your home fully and quickly (within 24-48 hours).
  • Add mold inhibitors to paints before painting. You can buy mold inhibitors at paint and home improvement stores.
  • Clean bathrooms with mold-killing products.
  • Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have been soaked and cannot be dried right away. Consider not using carpet in places that may have moisture like bathrooms or basements.

Read more from the CDC about how to control mold in your home.

Mold Cleanup after Disasters

If your home flooded due to a disaster, follow CDC guidance before attempting to clean it yourself. Cleaning up after a flood can pose health risks. You and your family should wait to re-enter your home until professionals tell you it is safe. Before you start cleanup activities, contact your insurance company and take pictures of the home and your belongings. Remember – drying your home and removing water-damaged items is the most important step for preventing mold damage.