Persistent cold-like symptoms are triggered by indoor mold. Here are tips for easing the misery:
Recognize the signs. Mold allergies can cause an itchy or runny nose, watery eyes, congestion, sneezing, wheezing and rashes. Doctors can test for the allergy.
Know where mold grows. Spores thrive in damp, dark environments, which make bathrooms and laundry rooms prime spots.
Lower humidity at home. Central air conditioning and dehumidifiers are effective; change filters regularly. If you have window A/C units, check them often for moisture condensation. Don't use humidifiers or vaporizers in the rooms of anyone with a mold allergy.
Focus on the bathroom. Install an exhaust fan or open windows after baths and showers to help get rid of moisture. Clean shower walls regularly, and remove carpets or rugs.
Also target the laundry room. Again, open a window and don't put a rug on the floor. Also keep the washer lid open between loads to help dry it.
Take out the trash. Kitchen cans filled with food waste are hot spots for mold. Another important chore: vacuuming any carpets regularly.
Fix leaks. Repair leaky roofs and plumbing fixtures as soon as you realize the problem.
Move the furniture. Keeping large items such as dressers and headboards a few inches away from the wall - rather than pressed up against it - helps improve air circulation.
Check your food. Look for signs of mold before eating. Consider avoiding foods more likely to contain mold, including cheese, mushrooms, vinegar, sour cream and pickled meats.
Get rid of free-standing water. Dump water from pots, birdbaths and other spots where water pools near your home.
Source: 2009, Daily Press (Newport News, Va.).