A MUM has revealed she is 'terrified' for the lives of her children as their family home is 'overrun with mould'.
Kay Anderson first moved into her two-bed property in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, a decade ago.
The 35-year-old mum, who has asthma, said she started to notice mould coming through the walls six months after they first moved in.
Over the next 10 years, the issue has allegedly worsened and the mould has spread throughout the entire property, which Kay calls a "living nightmare”.
Carer Kay, who lives in the house with her husband, Delroy, 36, and their three children, aged 17, 13 and four months old said she has contacted the estate agents on multiple occasions, stating they have just told her to 'clean' the area on a weekly basis.
Kay now stays up at night worrying about her kids, feelings which she says have been exacerbated after she heard about Awaab Ishak, the toddler who tragically died from a respiratory condition caused by “extensive” mould.
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The mum-of-three said: "How it's affecting me is one thing but seeing what it is doing to my children is a whole different ball game.
"I don't sleep after hearing that mould took that beautiful little boy's life [Awaab Ishak] and I'm worried it's going to cost me one of my children too.
"Do we have to be a statistic in order to be taken seriously and be heard?
"It's taking a toll on all of our mental health and we are all having breathing problems."
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She added that her husband and their son also have asthma, but that they are struggling to get it under control with their inhalers.
Kay said: "I will be definitely booking in to see the doctor soon, our asthma nurse is aware however we haven't seen her in person since Covid.
"I hear my son coughing all night; every night and I wonder if this is going to be another trip to the hospital with an asthma attack.
“A few years ago, his asthma was so bad doctors discussed intubating him.
"Meanwhile, my daughter is experiencing headaches and nausea on a daily basis and my four-month-old baby has symptoms of allergies."
5 top tips to prevent damp and mould at home
Asthma and Lung UK are aware that mould can exacerbate or trigger asthma symptoms in those with the condition.
They give their top five tips to start combating mould in your home today:
1. Open windows and doors so air can move around. But be cautious on high pollen or pollution days if these are triggers for you.
2. Try to avoid drying clothes indoors. If you have nowhere else to dry them, open a window if you can.
3. Use extractor fans in the kitchen and bathroom or open a window when cooking or after a shower.
4. Close the door of the room you’re in if you’re cooking or showering to prevent condensation in other rooms
5. Try to keep your home at a good background temperature so it never gets too cold at least 15 degrees in all rooms
Kay said that while her children have not yet been to the doctors, she believes they have developed allergies from the mould, as they are all suffering with itchy and runny noses.
In addition to the mould, the mum-of-three claims the ceiling collapsed on her while she was pregnant in November 2021, due to a leak from a flat upstairs.
The mum said instead of it being fixed, she was left with a bucket in the front room.
Now, Kay said the mould is spreading through the flat and the family are unable to move due to low income, and not having a new guarantor to secure another property.
She said: "The mould has spread throughout the whole property.
"My bedroom seems to be the worst as I have no ventilation whatsoever in there.
"I have been told over and over again by the estate agents to keep wiping down the mould with bleach and water spray.
“But I can no longer do this as the mould causes my asthma to play up and my chest becomes very tight."
There is evidence to suggest mould and fungi are a major trigger for asthma attacks and can worsen symptoms for those with other lung conditions.
One study, published in 2012 found that young children exposed to mould in the home had an increased risk of developing asthma by the age of seven.
The mum said the family is topping up between £500-600 a month in bills by keeping the heating on.
"It's really taking a toll on us.
"We struggle on a regular basis with bills, we have had to use the local food bank twice.
"I feel like it's taking control of our lives and I’m worried about the future.”
However, inspectors have said the mould is down to the tenant's lifestyle and poor ventilation.
A representative from the estate agents said: "As well as having provided some basic advice on how to combat condensation issues created by lifestyle (which was a large part of the problem a year ago as reported by a specialist damp treatment company and local environmental officer) we have instructed another specialist damp company to take a fresh look encase any new problems have developed.”
In November, leading charity Asthma and Lung UK warned that mould and damp problems get worse as temperatures drop – amid fears the cost of living crisis could result in more families being affected.
They added that cold and flu viruses, which can cause respiratory infections, can also thrive in colder temperatures and poorly ventilated, damp environments.
Last year, two-year old Awaab Ishak died of respiratory failure after being exposure to mould in his own home.
How damp and mould affect my health
The NHS says the problem with mould is that it produces allergens (substances that can cause an allergic reaction), irritants and, sometimes, toxic substances.
When these are inhaled or they get into the skin, it causes nasty symptoms.
At first these toxins may not cause any harm at low levels. But if they are consistently in the air, it starts to cause side effects.
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People who live in homes with mould are more likely to:
- Have respiratory problems
- Respiratory infections
- Asthma, including asthma attacks
- Problems with the immune system
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