respiratory hell | 

Student reveals how ‘mould poisoning’ from her rental accommodation left her gasping for air

Roisin shared her story online

Roisin shared videos of the mould on the walls

Maeve McTaggartSunday World

A young woman has told of her experience with mould poisoning, an illness she caught from her Galway rental accommodation.

The housing crisis meant it was near impossible for her to move when she needed to, she says, leaving her “stuck” in a house that caused her health to quickly decline.

The 22-year-old took to TikTok last month to share what she was going through, giving a “mould tour” as she explained how the room was making her sick.

The videos have been viewed over 300,000 times on the platform, where she gained a following for sharing her journey in recovery from an eating disorder.

“Every time I scrubbed the black mould from the walls it came back within hours,” Roisín Doyle told the Sunday World. “It wasn’t as much of a problem in the summer time, but when the weather got damp it was growing on the ceiling and behind the bed.

Roisin shared videos of the mould on the walls

“It got to a point where I was paying rent but not being able to stay in the house as I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t breathe in the room.”

Already asthmatic, Roisín said her health “rapidly deteriorated” in the house as she struggled to climb the stairs without losing her breath, lost her appetite and broke out in hives.

“The final straw was when myself and my boyfriend started to cough up black phlegm,” she said. “My family were worried.”

The young student visited her GP, who confirmed what she was experiencing was mould poisoning as soon as she heard her breathing.

Symptoms of suspected mould poisoning include respiratory problems and a wheezing cough that Roisín captured in her videos.

The Kerry native knew she had to leave but struggled to move out due to the shortage of housing in Galway city, so she was forced to stay where she was as black mould grew on the walls and ceiling of her room.

“There was a vile smell that I couldn’t get rid of. It was damp, coming from a crack in wall that needed to be fixed.”

Even when her landlord attempted to treat the mould with specialist paint, she could see it begin to “bubble” again within days.

“I was on antibiotics while still being in the environment that was making me sick. I wasn’t getting any better.”

Roisín had to stay in the room for a further two months as her asthma, something she hadn’t struggled with since she was a child, got worse.

Since moving out, her symptoms have disappeared.

“It is really unfair that people are left so desperately looking for somewhere to live that they are put in these housing situations,” she said.

Dr Patrick Magovern of Dublin’s Drummartin Clinic said: “Twenty per cent of the population are more mould sensitive while 80 per cent of people won’t even notice the issue.

“Step one for dealing with the problem is not often realistic for people — just upping and leaving the home isn’t always an option,” he said.

The doctor urged people worried about the problem to treat the mould, have proper insulation and visit their GP.

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