Damp and mould can be harmful to your health and for students living in privately rented accommodation, they can find themselves readily exposed to it. It’s important to check your accommodation for damp and mould and to understand the implications it can have for your health and well-being. It’s also important to understand the steps you can take to prevent and to remedy damp and mould in your student accommodation.
Mould can cause or exacerbate a wealth of health problems. These include respiratory infections, asthma, allergies and other respiratory problems. This happens because the spores in the mould can enter your lungs and can cause an asthma attack, inflammation or infection. Touching mould can also cause an allergic reaction.
It’s important to get rid of damp and mould as early as possible before it gets any worse and any harder to combat. It’s especially important to get rid of it if you are in a high risk group. These groups include those who have a weakened immune system, such as diabetics. Those with skin problems such as eczema and allergies or asthma are also at risk from having damp and mould in the house.
It’s important to check your accommodation before you move in for signs of damp, and also to give it a really good check once you are in. Throughout the year, keep looking out for mould and move furniture when cleaning to ensure it hasn’t appeared in any corners.
Preventing mould means reducing the amount of moisture in the air, such as condensation. Ventilation is key when it comes to reducing condensation so keep windows and doors open whenever possible. Moisture can also come from leaking pipes, rising damp and rain seepage. Bigger problems such as leaks need to be fixed by your landlord so don’t be afraid to let them know as it’s in theirs as well as your interest to sort them out. By far the easiest way to prevent mould forming, however, is by using a condensation unit in living areas and bedrooms and installing a fan in the bathroom.
If you do find mould, you need to get rid of it as soon as possible. If the mould has been caused by condensation in an area of less than one square metre, you can deal with it yourself. Any more than this, alert your landlord and ask them to hire a professional to deal with it. When getting rid of mould, you need to wear goggles, a mask and gloves as coming into contact with it can be dangerous. Wipe the mould away with a soapy rag and then carefully dispose of the rag.
As you can see, the effects of damp and mould can be serious, but preventing it and treating it need not be too hard. Students need to be savvy when looking for accommodation and also assertive when talking to their landlord about preventing and getting rid of mould in their accommodation. If your accommodation needs a bathroom fan to be installed, your landlord has a duty to do so.
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