A panic-stricken mum has watched her asthmatic son be hospitalised three times as a blanket of mould sweeps her home.
Laura Nicholson, 37, says the walls of her Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, home are wet to the touch and bedding and furniture are covered in sticky fungus.
Son Kayden, 12, has been taken to the hospital with breathing difficulties which Laura says is because of the stubborn mould that has burrowed in their house.
In a years-long battle, Laura deep cleans the flat almost daily to keep the mould at bay — yet it keeps coming back.
Laura said: ‘I’m crying out for help and I feel like I’m getting nowhere. It’s like I’m being ignored and my children’s lives are at risk.
‘I don’t know where else to turn with this and it’s affecting our health.
‘I am at my wits end trying to protect my children. The dampness started when we moved into the property six years ago but it wasn’t as bad then.
‘As the years have gone, it’s gotten worse but it has been ridiculous since last year. The carpets are wet and the walls are black.
‘My son has been at the hospital three times in the last month and half with his asthma. He’s been sent home from school.
‘The damp just triggers him. I’ll see him walking to the bathroom and
he’s having to catch his breath because of the dampness.’
Laura is now sleeping in the living room with her four-month-old, River-Amari, in a bedside crib. But the mould is spreading on it as well and she’s binned the sofa.
She’s tried everything at this point, she said. Leaving windows open, not placing things up against the wall and getting people to repair the home.
Her daughter, Mia, 10, is also feeling unwell.
‘It’s affecting all our health,’ Laura added, ‘and I already suffer from depression and anxiety.’
When a council official said they’d visit the home only to not show up, Laura cleaned the home again as she has done countless times.
Yet when a council worker arrived last Friday after she cleaned, the council said they couldn’t find any mould at the property.
‘This house is making my kids ill, and I can no longer keep putting their health and life at risk with asthma attacks and dampness into their lungs,’ Laura said.
‘I’ve done everything I can to try and stop the dampness but it’s in
the walls no matter how much you paint, wipe or clean.
‘I was meant to get another house when my boy turned nine because of North Lanarkshire Council rules that opposite sex can’t share a room. He’s now 12 and my wee girl is 10.
‘They’re still sharing a bedroom because the other room is unliveable — the walls are black.’
A spokesperson for North Lanarkshire Council said: ‘We are working with Miss Nicholson to resolve concerns which have been raised about condensation dampness in her property and are treating this as a priority.
‘We managed to visit the property [November 10] after several attempts were made to gain access over the last few months. No mould was found in the property during our visit; however, we will work on areas which Miss Nicholson identified.
‘We will carry out work to reseal and remove staining from windows. We are also providing practical advice and support to help properly heat and ventilate the property.
‘Our housing allocations team will be in touch with Miss Nicholson, when a suitable property meeting her housing requirements and areas which she has identified becomes available.’
A wandering mould spore only needs a few essentials to get by and reproduce: Moisture, oxygen and a surface to grow on.
Leaky pipes, damp basements or rain seeping in because of roof damage or drafty window frames are the usual ways in for mould.
And once it sticks and spreads, mould can pose a risk for vulnerable older people, children and those with weakened immune systems, according to the NHS.
It can cause health problems that range from itchy eyes to asthma attacks and even permanent lung damage.
Mould is typically found crawling up walls, floors, ceilings, carpets and other moisture-exposed fabrics.
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