The Dangers of Mildew

Mildew is present in most homes and offices to some extent. Over a thousand types of mildew and mold have been identified just in the United State alone. Due to the moist, warm environment provided by plants, having plants inside your home increases the risk of mildew. When mildew levels get out of hand--when the mildew becomes visible or detectable through smell, for instance--the mildew can become hazardous. The inhalation of mildew is linked to multiple health issues from allergies to serious disease.


Allergy-type symptoms, including sinus infections and bronchial disorders, are caused or exacerbated by the presence of mildew in the home. These symptoms are likely to increase on rainy, moist days when mildew is the most active in the air. Mildew allergy symptoms include sneezing, coughing, runny nose and itchy eyes, as well as more serious issues such as bronchitis or pneumonia. Skin conditions, like hives and rashes, can also be caused by contact with surfaces that are infected with mildew.


Anyone in your household who has asthma is more susceptible to the mildew that is present in your home. Inhaling mildew may lead to asthma attacks and severe respiratory distress. If your home is predisposed to mildew growth, the regular drying of areas that gather water, such as bathtubs, keeping the house cool and removing the carpeting and other fabric from the room of the asthma-sufferer can prove beneficial to preventing asthma attacks and symptoms. It may be wise to remove plants from the bedrooms of asthma sufferers to prevent the risk of mildew.

Major Health Issues

Though much less common than allergy and asthma-type reactions to the presence of mildew in the home, severe illnesses can be caused by prolonged exposure. According to the University of Texas Health Science Center, studies have shown that sarcoidosis, a disease that causes inflammation in the organs of the body, can be linked to mildew exposure. Sarcoidosis can lead to damage of the affected organs, and if the disease spreads to the heart, lungs or brain, it can be fatal.

Keywords: mildew dangers, mildew and asthma, dangers of mildew

About this Author

Alexis Lawrence has been writing professionally for six years and has been published on Associated Content. She is also a freelance filmmaker and photographer with extensive experience in digital video, book publishing and graphic design. Lawrence attended the University of Central Florida where she earned a Bachelor of Science in English.