Rainy season is coming, and it lasts for about 40 days.
In the Kanto area it is usually from June 10th to July 20th.
With it arrive the humidity and the mold.

Mold can be found everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
Everyone is exposed to some mold on a daily basis without evident harm.
Mold can however cause health problems when inhaled in large quantities.
How much mold will make you sick depends on the individual.
For some people, a relatively small amount of mold spores can cause health problems.
For others, it may take more. The basic rule is, if you can see or smell it, do something about it.

Infants and elderly, pregnant women and individuals with existing respiratory conditions,
such as allergies, asthma or reduced immune defense should be extra cautious.
Allergic reactions may be the most common health problems of mold exposure.

Typical symptoms reported (alone or in combination) include:
*Respiratory problems, such as wheezing and difficulty in breathing.
*Nasal and sinus congestion.
*Dry, hacking cough, nose and throat irritation.
*Eyes problems like watery eye, red eye, blurry vision, light sensitivity.
*Skin irritation
*Constant headaches, memory loss, mood changes
*Ache and pains, possible fever.

Consult your doctor if you suspect that you or your family should suffer from
such health problems triggered by mold.

Here in Japan, the combination of high temperature and humidity makes it the perfect place for mold to multiply.
It is very important to open windows and let the air circulate throughout the apartment/house when the weather permits.
The humidity is at its lowest between noon and 4pm so if possible, try to ventilate during these hours.
On rainy days, opening the window will increase the humidity inside so use the air conditioner instead.
Set the air conditioner to its dehumidifying mode除湿運転or use a dehumidifier除湿器.
A dehumidifier is a very effective tool to keep the humidity out. Many types are available at electric appliances stores. Portable dehumidifiers which can be moved from room to room are especially convenient.

Next, try not to dry your laundry indoors.
Use a clothes dryer or if you absolutely have to dry your laundry inside on a rainy day,
put the laundry in the bathroom with the ventilation fan on and if possible,
also use a portable fan to blow air at the laundry from below.
To prevent mold in the bathroom, leave on the ventilation fan every time you take a bath or shower.
Wash the bathtub, walls and bath utensils with soap water and rinse with cold water
to lower the temperature inside the bathroom. It is also a good idea to wipe the walls and tub with a dry towel.
Keeping things dry is the key.

On nice sunny days, it is good to hang out your beddings in the sun to dry.
Don’t forget the mattress as well. If you always leave it on the floor it will soon get moldy on the bottom.

It is also good to vacuum it after you dry it. That will help with house ticks as well as mold.

In Japanese style closets (oshiire押入れ) it is a good idea to use ventilation racks (sunoko)
on the floor of the closet before storing any bedding, in order to circulate air and decrease humidity.
There are also dehumidifying agents for closets. They are sold in stores before the arrival of rainy season.

Remember that keeping your house clean is an important factor in the battle against mold.
Don’t forget to clean the filter inside the air conditioner as well.  (A.H.)