Can damp and mould affect my health?

Yes, if you have damp and mould you are more likely to have respiratory problems, respiratory infections, allergies or asthma. Damp and mould can also affect the immune system.

Who is affected?

Some people are more sensitive than others, including:

  • babies and children
  • elderly people
  • those with existing skin problems, such as eczema
  • those with respiratory problems, such as allergies and asthma
  • those with a weakened immune system

These people should stay away from damp and mould.

How does it affect your health?

Moulds produce allergens (substances that can cause an allergic reaction), irritants and, sometimes, toxic substances. Inhaling or touching mould spores may cause an allergic reaction, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes and skin rash. Moulds can also cause asthma attacks. 

Causes of damp and mould

Mould and damp are caused by excess moisture. Moisture in buildings is most commonly caused by leaking pipes, rising damp in basements or ground floors or rain seeping in because of damage to the roof or around window frames. If your home is newly-built it may be damp because the water used when it was built is still drying out, for example, in the plaster on the walls. Excess moisture indoors can also be caused by condensation.

If you have mould or damp it is important to find out why you have excess moisture in your home. When you know the cause of your damp you can make sure your home is repaired or take steps to limit moisture in the air. If you have mould you may need to get a professional to remove it for you. If you have only a small amount of mould you may be able to remove it yourself. Read more in How do I get rid of damp and mould?

Read the answers to more lifestyle questions.

Further information

Page last reviewed: 17/09/2013

Next review due: 16/09/2015