Cold houses could lead to breathing issues - Institute for Respiratory Health

Cold houses could lead to breathing issues

Wednesday, August 03, 2022 | News

Cold homes could lead to a higher risk of breathing issues says a lung expert from the Institute for Respiratory Health.

As Western Australians battle a cold and wet winter with temperatures as low as 12 degrees Celsius, Associate Professor Yuben Moodley says the World Health Organization (WHO) has suggested a minimum indoor housing temperature to maintain good health.

“The WHO says an indoor temperature of 18 degrees Celsius is classified as healthy,” Associate Professor Moodley said.

“But this is really a guideline for temperate countries and older people might need it to be slightly higher than this. What they’re really saying is that indoor housing temperatures should be high enough to protect residents from the harmful effects of cold weather wherever you’re located in the world.

“Cold homes can increase the risk and severity of lung conditions like asthma and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

“With energy prices increasing, many Western Australians are shivering through the winter months, not aware of the impact their home can have on their health.

“Damp homes are also an issue – mould may grow indoors in wet or moist areas that lack adequate ventilation – including walls and ceilings,” Associate Professor Moodley said.

“We’re not geared up for the cold weather in Australia. Efficient and safe thermal insulation can help to keep your house warm.

“But this isn’t an option for many vulnerable groups. What you can do is draught-proof your house and make sure your windows are properly fitted, with no gaps and cracks.”