MOULDS & FUNGI

Moulds and Fungi are found everywhere in the environment both indoor and outdoor, as well as in foods, medications and living on the human body.

Moulds reproduce by releasing spores into the air which then settle on organic matter and grow into new mould clusters. These airborne mould spores are far more numerous than pollen and when inhaled can produce symptoms in susceptible individuals. Unlike pollen, moulds do not have a strictly limited season and are particularly prevalent when it is warm and damp both indoors and outside.

New Zealand’s climate does not help those who suffer adverse effects from mould – nor does living in cold, damp, uninsulated, poorly ventilated homes. 

Reactions to mould are common and can contribute to a wide range of symptoms including, wheezing, coughing, rhinitis (runny itchy nose & eyes), sinus problems, itchy skin, headaches, fatigue, moods, joint pain and weakness!  Chronic sinus congestion may be due to an adverse reaction to naturally occurring fungal species living in sinus passages.

The following list is only a guide:

FOOD SOURCES

 

 

 

FRUITS

All dried fruit

Berries

Cherries

Dates

Figs

Melons

Fruit skins and peels; citrus, grapes and melons

Overripe fruit

VEGETABLES

Mushrooms & Truffles

Capers

Olives

Sauerkraut

Soups, prepared & canned

GRAINS, CEREALS, BAKED GOODS

Bagels

Breads using YEAST including sourdough

Breakfast cereals

Cake and cake mixes

Crackers (check labels)

Pastries

Pizza

DAIRY & SOY

Aged and processed cheeses

Buttermilk

Fermented Soy products (tempeh, miso, soy & tamari)

Malted dairy foods & milk drinks

Milk fortified with vitamins

CONDIMENTS & SEASONINGS

Mayonnaise

Pickles and pickled foods

Sauces (BBQ, tomato, Worcestshire)

Salad dressing

Soy & Tamari sauce

Stock cubes & powder

Vinegars

Yeast extracts (marmite, Bovril, vegemite)

SWEETS & SNACKS

Chocolate

Doughnuts

Malted products (includ. Cereals & malted drinks)

Peanuts

Peanut butter

Pretzels

Yeast Extracts

BEVERAGES

All alcoholic beverages (beer, cider, wine, sake)

All caffeinated drinks

Citrus & grape juice

Malted milk drinks

MISC.

Leftovers more than 1 day old

Vitamin B supplements

Some selenium-rich foods

MSG

ENVIRONMENTAL

SOURCES

 

 

INDOOR

Air Conditioning/Heat Pump Units: mould spores in air conditioning units are passed along via the ducts to every part of the house. Heat Pumps or Heating/Cooling systems that are in need of filter servicing/cleaning – otherwise they are drawing potentially damp air in and redistributing mould spores to the rest of the house.

Attics/ Basements/ Wall spaces: exhaust fans from bathrooms that vent directly into attic spaces etc instead of outside can create a humid environment that grows mould.  Basements are naturally humid due to their position in the house.

Carpets: tend to hold any mould spores that have collected in the house. They will also favour the growth of mould especially if the carpet has been damp at some stage. Many methods of carpet cleaning will actually encourage mould growth by leaving the carpets slightly damp.

Clothes Dryers: that are vented inside

Drying clothes inside: creates moisture inside if unventilated

Condensation:  on walls and windows

Fridges: pipes and drip trays can become heavily contaminated with mould

House plants: overwatering can generate moisture indoors creating the perfect place for mould spores to take hold and grow

Mattresses & furniture:  foam, leather, cushions, mattresses and pillows that have become damp at any time will be prone to contamination with mould

Books: piles of papers, books & magazines will absorb moisture and encourage mould growth

Unventilated/ Kitchens & Bathrooms: without extractor fans

Vapourisers:  as above, they all create dampness that if left unventilated and dry can cause moulds to thrive.

OUTDOOR

Gardens: heavy vegetation around and over the house, climbing plants, fallen leaves, grass clippings, soil, compost, and other garden debris all are breeding grounds for mould.

Bark: wood chip and other ground mulches – children’s playgrounds

Sand: sandpits harbour mould especially during wetter months or in the shade.