April showers bring May flowers - but also much more that maintenance managers could do without. As warm rains start to fall and humidity begins to build, schools could face off against mold, if they are not careful. There are numerous issues that could stem from this kind of fungus making its way into your buildings, ranging from structural damage to health problems among their school occupants. Luckily, by taking the proper precautions, you can stave off these organic offenders, protecting your school and the people within its walls.
Mold has medical ramifications
Sure, mold is unsightly, but that's not the main reason as to why you should be concerned. It can truly take a toll on people's health. According to the EPA, mold can wreak havoc on individuals with asthma or allergies, in addition to other folks without any underlying medical conditions.
If people are allergic to mold, they could experience an array of symptoms without even coming into direct contact with it and regardless of whether the mold is dead or still kicking. Individuals can feel the effects of mold inhalation immediately or after a period of time. Symptoms include red or itchy eyes, a runny nose, sneezing or rashes on the skin. Even if people aren't allergic, they could encounter irritation that mirrors these symptoms and even experience burning feelings in these places, as well as in the throat and lungs.
On top of this, mold can have grave consequences on individuals with asthma. In fact, breathing in this fungus or its spores could trigger an asthma attack. Other serious issues could arise with people who have compromised immune systems. Mold lets off toxic substances called mycotoxins, and if these are inhaled, they could cause lung infections.
Keep buildings fungus-free
Taking all of this into account, you should dedicate a portion of your preventive maintenance to keeping your school free of mold. For the most part, this involves ensuring your buildings are dry to prevent fungus from forming.
The EPA advised that you get a handle on air humidity. Keep air circulating with proper ventilation, even enlisting the help of a dehumidifier. Ideally, your school should be at 60 percent relative humidity. You will want to conduct routine inspections of your HVAC systems, plumbing and buildings.
Check to see if there are leaks, wet areas or condensation throughout your school. In addition to drying these places within 48 hours, you will want to track down the root of the issues, making replacements and repairs to nip the issue in the bud. Ultimately, if you eradicate moisture from your buildings, you are bound to keep mold at bay.