Fungi thrive in homes that have condensation problems due to housing disrepair issues. Fungi survive by feeding off decomposing organic matter. Fungi propagate via spores, which penetrate homes via dirt and dust that drift in. Fungi produce these in large amounts and, given enough numbers, can trigger allergies and respiratory diseases.
Although the species usually takes the form of mushrooms, they are actually more closely related to animals than plants. Out of the 200 types that people are exposed to, there are six that can be life-threatening when ingested or even held.
Below we give you the details of the top five deadliest fungi that you may have in your home.
The Aspergillus fungus spores can grow on your carpets as these can easily latch on to your shoes and lower garments and, therefore, can easily be brought (albeit inadvertently) inside your home. They can come from the dead leaves in your garden, nearby compost piles, and other decaying matter. are also hosts to this common fungus type.
You can get aflatoxicosis if you ingest the fungus. And while inhaling the spores does not affect individuals with healthy immune systems, those who have underlying medical conditions such as lung disease, cystic fibrosis, or asthma, can suffer chest pain, difficulty in breathing, fever, and blood in mucus when coughing if exposed to a sufficient volume of spores. This disease is called Aspergillosis, an allergic reaction or infection caused by the Aspergillus mould.
The disease can be categorised into stages: allergic, chronic, and invasive. Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis affects those who have asthma or are suffering from cystic fibrosis. In severe cases, asthma can develop into a loss of lung function.
This type of fungus thrives in damp and dark environments. Leaking roofs, humidity, and the absence of a heating system can trigger the growth of Cladosporium as it chooses to inhabit damp and dark areas of your home.
This is another common mould that can be found on almost any type of surface. Although most of its species can grow in temperatures ranging from 18 to 28oC, some can survive below 0oC and infect a whole piece of frozen meat.
As with all types of mould or fungus exposure, contact with or inhalation of Cladosporium spores can trigger allergic reactions, especially in infants. Aside from the usual pulmonary infections and respiratory issues, adults can develop emphysema, fungal sinusitis, and an uncomfortable feeling in the chest.
The spores from the Alternaria fungus can trigger sinusitis, asthma, and pneumonitis. It is a common fungus found on textiles, carpets, window frames, and horizontal surfaces. Alternaria alternata generates hazardous compounds in people and animals that have been linked to sickness.
Alternaria is a non-pathogenic contaminant that is not a common cause of infection in humans except for those who are immunocompromised.
About 5 to 8% of mould in homes is caused by this common indoor fungus. It grows on materials that have a high cellulose content, as well as carpets, mattresses, and books. It is associated with the industrial disease called farmer’s lung disease, which causes permanent damage to the lungs and even death.
Absidia causes a rare disease that affects individuals that have weak immune systems, especially those suffering from any type of cancer, HIV/AIDS, and diabetes. Mucormycosis is a fungal infection that invades the bloodstream which means it can reach the organs that are far from the primary infection site.
The primary cause of Stachybotrys infestation is moisture from flooding, leaks, condensation, or some other form of moisture intrusion. This fungus is a type of black mould that thrives in homes where there is a lack of nitrogen. Black mould gets its name from the fact that it is sticky to the touch and has a greenish-black hue. It is considered toxic as it causes pulmonary hemosiderosis in infants.
In the 1930s, Stachybotrys poisoning, also known as stachybotryotoxicosis, was initially discovered in agricultural animals in Ukraine and Eastern Europe. People working in farms who came into contact with tainted hay or straw were reported to have contracted the disease.
Reporting fungus in your home
The most important thing to do to prevent the growth of fungus or mould in your home is to improve ventilation and the central heating system. Mould thrives in cold, damp, and dark areas; therefore, lighting up the area and opening the windows is the best way to ward off fungi.
Damp and mould are caused by poor ventilation in your home. If you have water leaks or broken windows in your home, report all the issues to your landlord so they can have everything repaired and seen by professionals.
If your landlord keeps ignoring your repair requests, give them 21 days to respond. If they continue to ignore you, file a formal complaint about the disrepair in your home. Contact the claim for housing disrepair experts at disrepairclaim.co.uk. They have a panel of solicitors who are experts in this type of case. They might be able to help you claim compensation for any inconvenience or discomfort that the mould-related issues in your home have caused you and your family.