Is smelling musty the same as inhaling mold?

  From March to April every year is the southern sky, when clothes or walls are easy to emit a musty smell. So, what is a musty smell? When we smell musty, does that mean we’re breathing mold into our bodies? In daily life, how can we prevent mold invasion?
  From March to April every year is the southern sky, when clothes or walls are easy to emit a musty smell. Mr. Wang, who lives in Guangdong, remembered the fur coat in the closet, and quickly opened the closet to check. The moment he opened it, a musty smell hit his face, causing him to cough violently. He took a closer look and found that there were already patches of mold plaque on the leather jacket. So he hurriedly took out a dry tissue to wipe it off, which resulted in another burst of violent coughing and wheezing. Although he immediately sprayed asthma emergency medicine, in the next few days, he had repeated coughing and wheezing, and had to go to the hospital for medical treatment.
   What is a musty smell? A published patent application reads: “The standard substance for determining the musty smell of textiles and clothing is 2-isobutyl-3-methoxypyrazine… conforming to the musty smell characteristics stipulated in the national mandatory standard GB18401.” Among them , Methoxypyrazine is a volatile substance mainly from plants, microorganisms and insects, and has a strong plant and earthy smell. 2-isobutyl-3-methoxypyrazine (abbreviated as IBMP) is one of its most common derivatives.
   When we smell musty, does that mean we’re breathing mold into our bodies? the answer is negative. First of all, it is not necessarily mold that produces the musty smell. Some studies believe that the organic matter remaining in textiles can provide nutrients for microorganisms. Under certain conditions of temperature and humidity, microorganisms will proliferate in large numbers and release “earth musty” odor substances, the main ingredient of which is IBMP. Researchers have traced the source of IBMP in juice production and identified two microorganisms that are closely related to its production: Alicyclobacillus acidurus and Streptomyces griseus.
   Alicyclobacillus acidurus has not been reported to infect humans. As for Streptomyces griseus, although its name contains “mold”, it is actually an actinomycete and belongs to a broad sense of bacteria. Currently, cases of Streptomyces griseus infection in humans are very rare.
   It is worth noting that healthy people can cause allergies after contact with mold. If you are allergic to mold, inhaling mold can induce symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, nasal itching, nasal congestion, chest tightness, coughing, and wheezing, which may eventually lead to an acute attack of asthma. Therefore, if mold or a musty smell is found in the patient’s home, it should be dealt with as soon as possible.
   Professor Xie Jiaxing from the National Center for Respiratory Medicine suggested that you should pay attention to 8 points in life to prevent mold invasion.
   1. For mold visible to the naked eye on the wall surface or clothing, it should be dealt with as soon as possible. The most effective method is to scrub the contaminated surface with detergent and water, then allow to dry.
   2. Control indoor mold growth by increasing ventilation to reduce humidity, covering cold surfaces (such as water pipes) with insulating materials, repairing pipe leaks and other damp or standing water, etc.
   3. Use a dehumidifier in damp areas such as basements. The humidity should be kept below 60%, preferably 30% to 50%.
   4. Pay attention to close the doors and windows when returning to the southern sky to avoid a large amount of water vapor entering the room in a short period of time.
   5. Wet towels should be hung up to dry, making sure not to touch the wall to avoid mold. Wash towels with hot water after 3 uses.
   6. Clean up the garbage in the kitchen and other places in time every day to keep the kitchen dry and prevent mold growth.
   7. After the food is moldy, you can’t pinch off the moldy part and eat it again, because at this time, there are many molds that are invisible to the naked eye that continue to grow and spread near the moldy area, and the toxins produced by the mold will also spread inside the food, especially those containing Foods high in water.
   8. Tableware should be disinfected and dried.

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