How to Fight Mold-Related Winter Depression

Winter Depression by Ramzi Hashisho
Winter is often a time of sad feelings and depression. This
widespread phenomenon has been widely diagnosed as seasonal affective disorder,
which comes from the lack of light during the winter solstice. As a writer, I get seasonal affective disorder because I’m indoors all the time. Or so I thought. Research
suggests, though, that there may be another, overlooked, cause for winter
depression: Mold.
The Findings

Edmond Shenassa, Brown University epidemiologist, who led a study on data collected from eight European cities, said that there was a link between depression and living in a home that had mold. According to the study published in the American Journal of Public Health, a mold score was created from resident and inspector-reported data. Depression was scored using an index of depressive symptoms. Shenassa’s research
team found that people with moldy homes were 40% more likely to be depressed
than those who did not have mold in their homes. This finding is not surprising
since household mold has been found to be toxic to humans, causing neurological
disorders of many different degrees.
The wet, stagnant air in winter months can bring about an
increase of household mold, making winter the prime time for mold-related
depression. The best way to avoid this type of depression is removal and
prevention of mold throughout the home.
Avoiding Mold

Avoiding
mold growth in your home during moist winter months can be a challenge, but it
can be done with a little perseverance.
First,
keep the rooms in your home well ventilated. Use the ventilation fan in your
bathroom during baths and showers or use the heat lamp to dry up any steam. Turn
on the over-the-stove vent when cooking cold weather stews and soups to rid
your home of the steam from the pots.
Eliminate
all standing water. Condensation on walls and windowsills should be wiped dry
on a regular basis to prevent mold growth. A dehumidifier is a good investment
if you often find condensation around your home. It will bring humidity levels below
60% and eliminate the problem.
Carpets
are an ideal home for mold. Clean up spills on carpets immediately, getting the
area as dry as possible.
Getting Rid of Mold

Mold is usually identified as black, green, or dark
discolorations on objects. It can be powdery, furry, of slick in texture
depending on the type of mold and where it is growing. If you already have mold
in your home, it can be removed with simple household products.
I asked Michael Dooley, the Vice President of
the New Mexico chapter the American Society of Home Inspectors, for help. He suggests making
a hydrogen peroxide solution to kill mold on non-porous surfaces. Combine one part hydrogen peroxide and three
parts water in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture on the mold and wipe with a
dry, disposable cloth.
Another
household solution to mold, says Dooley, is to make a paste with borax powder and
a little bit of water. Use the paste to scrub the surface infected with mold
and rinse away the residue.
One
chemical to avoid that is commonly used to battle mold is bleach. “Bleach does
not kill mold,” says Dooley.
This winter, don’t let depression creep
in with the cold and affect your freelance work. Make mold removal part of your winterizing routine to feel
your best.

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