Icy blasts are hitting much of eastern Australia and weather forecasters have predicted rainfall is likely to be above average for much of Australia from July to September and even worse for the eastern two-thirds of the mainland.
National Asthma Council's Sensitive Choice program manager, Adele Taylor, says winter is a key time when mould creeps in, releasing tiny spores into the air, which can trigger asthma and allergy symptoms.
"For the 2.7 million Australians living with asthma, it is important to take control now to ensure you have a healthy home as higher indoor humidity levels make it easier for mould and dust mites to multiply," she said.
Symptoms may include nose, eye, and skin irritation, sneezing or wheezing, and severe breathing difficulties.
Ms Taylor said mould thrives in warm and damp environments, particularly in placed where there is low air flow or excess moisture, such as built-in wardrobes and in bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms.
"Be aware of signs such as condensation on your windows due to lack of air circulation, or a crack in a bathroom tile or pipe," she said.
"To help keep this space healthy, focus on good natural air circulation and use extractor fans. Remember it is important to find and fix the source of mould, as well as cleaning visible mould, to stop it from regrowing."
Another common asthma trigger during winter can be dust mites which thrive when indoor humidity is high. They feed off skin cells and grow well in humidity in bedding, blankets and winter clothing that has been left in cupboards all year.
Ms Taylor said while dust mites are nearly impossible to eradicate, they can be controlled by reducing humidity.
"The best strategy is to kill house dust mites, remove the allergen they produce and reduce areas where they can live and breed," she said.
Healthy tips for winter:
"People need to know what their asthma triggers are including seasonal changes and have regular check-ups with your GP," Ms Taylor said.
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