Respiratory Problems

Aspergillus image

Aspergillus

What is Aspergillus?

Aspergillus is a fungi with many different species including Aspergillus niger, the black mould that is found in damp places like the corner of a bath. It rarely causes infections, but exposure to its spores and the chemicals that it releases can trigger breathing problems in susceptible people.

It spreads by:

  • Growing in damp places and on organic waste like decomposing food or plants, in bins and compost heaps for example.

  • Releasing spores into the air, which can be inhaled into the lungs.

  • Hands transporting fungi to damp surfaces, where new colonies can grow.

The symptoms are:

  • Aggravation of breathing problems like asthma.

  • If you get infected, fungi can grow inside the lungs or sinuses, causing chronic coughs and fatigue, blocked nose and headaches.

  • In rare cases, the infection can travel through the bloodstream and invade the heart and brain of particularly vulnerable people, which can be fatal.

Ways to help avoid Aspergillus:

Remove any mould you can see with a bleach-based cleaner like Domestos Multipurpose Thick Bleach. If large growths return, try to sort out the dampness that's causing them.

Don't store food waste indoors for long periods of time. Wrap old food up before putting it in the bin and try to avoid disturbing it in a way that could release spores into the air.

Keep rubbish bins clean.

How to stop mould from coming back:

Keep the bathroom well ventilated with a fan or by opening the window, and hang wet towels up after use so that moisture escapes as quickly as possible.

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