Ridding homes and offices of mold and dampness can help reduce respiratory infections and asthma symptoms, according to a new evidence review published in The Cochrane Library. The best way to eliminate the mold, however, remains unclear.

The reviewers looked at eight studies with 6,538 participants who had the mold and dampness in their homes, schools, or workplaces remediated either through total or partial renovation of a building, or cleaning with a fungicide or bleach solution. The reviewers found, however, that the available studies did not offer high-quality evidence and sample sizes were small, making it difficult to draw hard conclusions.

Nonetheless, the review found that when compared to doing nothing at all, repairing houses decreased asthma-related symptoms as well as the amount of respiratory infections in adults. Remediation also decreased the number of acute care visits in children and students’ visits to physicians for common colds.

The reviewers point to one study in which 115 members of the group who had their homes remediated with the complete removal of visible mold, a fungicide treatment, and installation of a fan, were more likely to see improvement in their respiratory symptoms for 6 to 12 months afterwards, compared to those in the control group whose homes were not cleaned.

The reviewers, however, could not determine which method of remediation was best for significantly improving asthma symptoms.

Source: Health Behavior News Service