The case of the never-ending flu
In the winter of 2010, CHOICE video producer Darrin Baker was suffering from a seemingly never-ending flu. Having tried to wait it out and beat it with medication, he was at his wits’ end. After going back to the doctor for the fourth time in six weeks, it was clear there was an underlying problem.
Darrin had installed an unflued gas heater earlier that year, and the doctor suggested it might be contributing to a mould problem.
“She asked me whether I had any mould in the house. I went home and checked in my bedroom, and lo and behold, right behind the headboard of my bed was a large patch.”
The doctor suggested that Darrin get rid of his unflued gas heater, which can exacerbate condensation and humidity issues inside a home, and clean the mould up with vinegar, as suggested by several of our mould experts (see below). With this done, Darrin bade his flu symptoms goodbye.
“It was incredible the difference it made. Clearly, I had been suffering a reaction to the mould that was mimicking the flu, and as soon as that mould problem was rectified I was back to normal. Now that I’m aware of the health impact it can have on me and my family, I’m much more vigilant about mould.”
The hidden housemate
When yoga instructor Leesa Thornthwaite bought a new apartment in July 2011, she thought she’d found the perfect home for her family. Six months later, however, Leesa learned she had a hidden mould problem. Her closets and ceilings were mould breeding grounds, and her clothing, shoes and furniture were constantly under attack. Despite cleaning her closets and ceilings with supermarket mould cleaners, Lisa found that the fungi just kept coming back.
“Over summer, my daughter hadn’t worn her school blazer. When we brought it out the following winter we realised that it was completely covered in mould. Even though we had the mould cleaned off at the dry cleaner, the chemicals they used must have been really strong, because [the blazer] faded considerably. I thought she’d get a few years’ wear out of the blazer; now I have to replace it.”
Leesa sought expert advice and was told the problem in her apartment was a lack of ventilation. The 30-year-old apartment block, built near Sydney’s Cronulla Beach, was not equipped with vents or weep holes in the brick walls.
“This is going to cost thousands of dollars to fix, and it’s going to take a long time. The whole block has to be done, and it’s going to have to be paid for by our strata.”