The wet weather combined with humidity and warmer temperatures has created the ideal environment for household mould to grow, putting the health of thousands of Australians at risk.

Mould in homes can trigger asthma symptoms for many people living with the lung condition, warns Associate Professor Sheryl Van Nunen, a Sydney-based Clinical Immunologist and Allergist.

Symptoms of mould-induced asthma include increased coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and a greater need for medications.

To combat the health hazard, The National Asthma Council Australia has issued a mould prevention checklist.

“Reducing the amount of moisture in a house is the best way to control mould growth. After wet weather conditions, do a thorough clean and open all the doors and windows to dry out the area as quickly as possible. If you can, use fans or dehumidifiers to speed up the process,” said Adam Trumble from the national Asthma Council.

“Using white vinegar solution is an effective way to remove mould. Bleach will remove visible mould but won’t kill the spores underneath and it may also irritate sensitive noses,” Mr Trumble advised.

Mould, he warned, can also grow in less obvious places like on books and toys and it’s important to rid the house of mould before winter.

Mould prevention checklist:

* Promptly remove any mould that appears

* Treat the cause of rising damp as soon as it is detected

* Make sure you have enough natural ventilation, including an extractor fan for the bathroom and laundry

* Seal any leaks in bathrooms and roofs

* Clear any overflowing gutters and blocked vents

* Remove indoor pot plants (which promote mould growth)

* Avoid the use of organic mulches and compost heaps.

If flooded:

* Dry or remove wet carpets and furnishings as soon as you can

* Be ruthless with the clean out, if possible – hidden damp can cause ongoing problems

* Consider using a dehumidifier to help dry out the space

* Remove any visible mould by cleaning with naturally fermented white vinegar solution

* Keep an eye out for mould in the un-flooded areas of the house.