Drying washing indoors can pose a serious health risk to people with weakened immune systems or severe asthma, doctors have warned.
Clothes draped on drying frames or warm radiators can raise moisture levels in the home by up to 30 per cent, creating ideal breeding conditions for mould spores.
Experts are particularly concerned about Aspergillus fumigatus spores, which can cause lung infections.
Drying washing indoors can raise moisture levels in homes by up to 30 per cent, creating ideal breeding conditions for mould spores. These spores can cause lung infections, doctors warn
Professor David Denning and his team at the National Aspergillosis Centre in Manchester have issued the warning after treating a growing number of patients who have inhaled Aspergillus fungal spores.
Professor Denning said: ‘One load of wet washing contains almost two litres of water, which is released into the room. Most of us are either immune to the fungus which grows in these humid conditions, or have a sufficiently healthy system to fight the infection.
‘But in asthma sufferers it can produce coughing and wheeziness, and in people with weak or damaged immune systems, such as cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, Aids patients and people who have an auto immune disease, the fungus can cause pulmonary aspergillosis – a condition which can cause irreparable, and sometime fatal, damage to the lungs and sinuses.
My advice would be when in doubt dry wet washing outside, in a tumble dryer or in a well-ventilated indoor space away from bedrooms and living areas to be safe rather than sorry.’
Craig Mather, a father of three from Bolton, contracted tuberculosis in 1997. The disease left his lungs weak and aggravated the problems he had been left with after childhood asthma.
Mr Mather, 43, said: ‘I only started to recover when my consultant diagnosed chronic pulmonary aspergillosis and prescribed me special drugs to fight the fungal infection. However, I noticed coughing fits and night sweats particularly when I had wet washing drying on the warm bedroom radiator.
Aspergillosis is the name of a group of conditions caused by a fungal mould called aspergillus.
It usually affects the respiratory system (windpipe, sinuses and lungs), but it can spread to anywhere in the body.
Depending on a number of factors, the symptoms of aspergillosis can vary in severity from mild wheezing tocoughing up blood. Someone with a weakened immune system is at greater risk of being more severely affected.
Aspergillosis is caused by breathing in small spores of aspergillus mould. Most people's immune systems will quickly isolate and destroy the mould before it can spread to their lungs.
However, a person with damaged lungs or a weakened immune system is more likely to develop aspergillosis after breathing in aspergillus spores.
Aspergillosis isn't contagious and can't be passed between people or animals.
Source: NHS Choices
‘He told me that it could be making my problems worse, so for the last 12 months I haven’t dried my clothes indoors and I’ve notice a huge improvement in my health.’
Aspergillosis is the name of a group of conditions caused by a fungal mould called aspergillus. It usually affects the windpipe, sinuses and lungs, but it can spread to anywhere in the body.
Depending on a number of factors, the symptoms of aspergillosis can vary in severity from mild wheezing to coughing up blood.
A previous study carried out by the Mackintosh School of Architecture in Glasgow found many homes had too much moisture. Up to a third of this moisture was attributed to drying laundry.
Researchers called on housebuilders to build dedicated drying areas into new housing to address the health concerns.