Can damp be harmful to your health?

The health risks associated in living in a damp house are often underestimated. Research indicates that people who suffer from illnesses or disorders are often, directly or indirectly, extra sensitive to damp. Damp in your home can aggravate chronic symptoms and illnesses such as asthma, rheumatism, respiratory- and lung problems.

There are even indications that mould can be the cause of certain allergies. The consequences of damp, mould and high relative humidity at home might not be immediately visible. They might not manifest themselves until later on. There are all kinds of problems that can be caused by damp including respiratory problems, allergies, rheumatism and colds. What’s more, there is strong evidence to suggest that damp and mould can also affect the immune system making you more susceptible to other infections.

Chronic rhinitis:

As opposed to ordinary rhinitis or hay-fever, which is caused by air-borne pollen, the chronic form of it is caused by a badly ventilated environment and/or excessive damp which in turn causes mould and the house dust mite. The disorder is an inflammation of the nasal mucous membrane, caused by a virus, a parasite or an external bacteria. Chronic rhinitis causes coughing, tiredness, headache, irritation of the eyes and runny noses.


Asthma is an inflammation of the airways. Symptoms may be: wheezing, shortness of breath, a tight chest and coughing. For many people one of the causes of asthma is an allergic reaction. The main allergic triggers are pollen and the house dust mite, the little creature that feels most at home in warm and damp houses.


Eczema is a skin reaction which causes inflammation. One of the main causes of this is the house dust mite which is common in damp houses. So people who suffer from eczema would benefit from getting the correct relative humidity in their homes. It should neither be too high nor too low. Excessively low humidity may increase the symptoms in the form of dry eczema so a balance is important.


If you suffer from an allergy, you are hypersensitive to particular substances. There are various forms of allergies, all dependent on the substance(s) you are allergic to. For instance, you might be allergic to the droppings of the house dust mite, to mycotoxins and mould spores, or to the toxic emissions that are caused by the chemical breakdown of building materials. These are all types that are directly or indirectly linked to excessive humidity at home. For example, an allergy can cause nasal catarrh (blocked nose, runny nose, constant sneezing) or an asthmatic cough. A particular type of allergy is towards silverfish. Silverfish occur in damp places, such as the corners of kitchen cabinets, behind the kitchen units and in wet paper. If you suffer from this type of allergy, you might have symptoms similar to asthma such as tightness in the chest.