People await the monsoon season all year long as it brings respite from the searing summer heat and spreads greenery. However, the rainy season also brings with it a host of problems that can prove to be health hazards. One of the most common issues during this season that can not just damage homes but also contribute to health problems is house fungus.
House fungus can enter homes through windows, doors, clothes, shoes or even pets. They are usually powdery and cottony in texture and have a musty smell. However, most of us ignore it, neglecting its potential impact. But, did you know house fungus can cause a range of health problems? Therefore, it’s significant to understand its origin, impact and ways to prevent it from entering your homes.
What is house fungus?
“These are the molds occurring in the damp area of the house under 60-80 degree temperature. These areas can be slightly dry corners of bathrooms, kitchens, surrounding AC and coolers etc. Some may develop behind wallpapers of the house with minor air exposure. These molds may produce toxins that can cause long-lasting harm to the people residing in the house,” explained Dr Manisha Arora, senior consultant, internal medicine, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute.
Adding, Dr Manoj Sharma, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine, Fortis Hospital Vasant Kunj said: “Anywhere where moisture and dampness cling to each other, the fungus can grow.”
Different types of house fungus
“Aspergillus, Alternaria, Acremonium, Aureobasidium, Chaetomium, Cladosporium, Fusarium, Mucor, Penicillium, Stachybotrys, Trichoderma, Ulocladium etc,” are the different types of fungus that can develop in your homes, Dr Arora told indianexpress.com.
Acremonium is, however, “the most common fungus which can be found in households. There are many other types as well but those which affect humans are candida, aspergillus and mucor,” according to Dr Sharma.
Health impacts of house fungus
While many downplay its health impacts, house fungus has the potential to cause mild to severe problems. “Many people can be sensitive to such household fungus and develop cough, cold, sneezing issues after coming in contact with it. It can also aggravate already prevailing health issues like asthma, respiratory infections. People with the compromised immune systems can develop a sore throat or other respiratory issues,” Dr Arora explained.
Agreed Dr Sharma and said that these fungi, depending on the organ the fungi spores effect, can cause a lot of issues which include health deterioration, itching, dandruff, discomfit, redness. allergic reactions and breathing issues. “They can affect immunocompromised patients and cause more health-related issues.”
Under certain circumstances, house fungus can even prove to be fatal. “The invasive fungal infections can prove to be very deadly.”
“Prolonged exposure of household fungus can potentially cause pulmonary fibrosis or lung scarring as well. They can be cancerous as well in severe conditions,” Dr Arora added.
Health experts underline the importance of maintaining proper hygiene to prevent house fungus. Frequent cleaning and basic hygiene is the key, as per the doctors.
“Bacteria potentially causing harmful effects can potentially develop even in the confined areas of our house. Use safe and effective chemical solutions to prevent household fungus from developing,” Dr Arora said.
From a health perspective, “Maintain good blood sugar levels, immunity and overall health and fitness. If one is on immunosuppressant or suffering from an ailment such as chronic kidney disease, they should be extra careful otherwise the infection can cause their conditions to worsen,” Dr Sharma said.
If your house has developed fungus, “Never touch them with bare hands even while cleaning, wear gloves. Clean deeper areas of the house. Even don’t leave the abandoned places like storerooms or unused rooms”, according to Dr Arora. She added, “Never ignore even a single rash on the skin after coming in contact with such fungi”.
She, further, said, “Take extra care of children and sick people in the house”.