Problems of damp for elderly health

Damp, condensation and mould growth can make have an impact on the health of older people, exacerbating conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, arthritis and rheumatism.

In addition, it can affect the elderly’s mental health by increasing levels of depression and anxiety. Mould spores can aggravate eye & skin conditions, as well as respiratory problems. If you are removing mould, use a protective face mask and rubber gloves.

So damp and mould are dangerous to elderly health and so it’s important to know where damp comes from and how to combat it

Main causes of damp

Penetrating damp: Isolated damp patches on walls & ceilings, sometimes with mould growth. This means that rain is getting in through defects in the walls, rendering, joints, roof, chimney stacks and/or flashings. One common cause is blockage of gutters, or down-pipes, which results in rainwater running down the outside walls. If left untreated, this causes major damage, such as rotting structural timbers.

You can stop penetrating damp by halting the source of water penetration as soon as possible. This may involve removing and replacing internal plaster work and affected timber and require subsequent decoration.

Rising damp is usually caused by lack of an effective barrier, known as a damp proof course, between ground water and the walls of your home. Water soaks up the wall leaving a ‘tide mark’ on the inside wall.

You can stop rising damp by ensuring the base of outside walls is clear of debris, removing any soil covering the damp proof course, or repairing the damp proof course, which can be quite expensive.

Plumbing problems

A minor leak in water or waste pipes can cause significant damp problems. To minimise damage and damp, turn off the water supply at the stopcock and locate then source of the leak. Make sure your older relative and you know where the stopcock is and turn it a couple of times a year to prevent it seizing up for when you do need to turn it off. If it is difficult for your elderly parent to reach, you can install a wall-mounted switch . Your water company can probably help you with this.

Main causes of condensation

Condensation occurs when warm, moist air meets a cold surface and can then cause black or green mould growth. Causes of condensation include excessive of water vapour in the air and poorly insulated walls. Also inadequate home heating can result in the fabric of the building becoming too cold.

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