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Health Agency | Public Health

County of San Luis Obispo

Mold Clean-Up and Prevention

What is Mold?

Molds release tiny spores and even smaller particles that travel through the air. Everyone inhales some mold every day without apparent harm; however, molds can cause allergy, irritation or inflammation, or rarely, infection.

Health Impacts of Mold

Allergic reactions are the most well-recognized responses to inhaling mold spores, and some people are more sensitive to the effects of dampness mold.  If you can see mold, water damage, or moisture, or smell mold, there is at least some increased health risk. The more extensive or severe the dampness and mold, the greater the risk of health effects. These can include:

  • Causation of new asthma

  • Asthma attacks in those who already have asthma

  • Allergic rhinitis (sneezing, congested nose, or runny nose)

  • Upper respiratory symptoms, such as stuffy or congested nose or sinuses, sore throat, or irritated nose or throat

  • Lower respiratory symptoms, such as wheezing, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, or cough

  • Respiratory infections such as acute bronchitis

  • Eye irritation (burning, watery, or reddened eyes)

  • Eczema and skin rashes or irritation

Causes of Mold

Since mold requires water to grow, it is important to prevent moisture problems in buildings. Moisture problems may include:

  • Roof leaks

  • Inadequate ventilation

  • Landscaping or gutters that direct water into or under the building

  • Unvented appliances

  • Delayed or insufficient maintenance

Frequently Asked Questions