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METRO – Basements may not be go-to hangouts during spring, summer and fall, when many homeowners spend more time on their patios and decks enjoying the great outdoors. But as winter approaches and the great outdoors becomes less welcoming, basements once again become popular places to relax and spend time with loved ones. That’s why fall is such an ideal time to address mold issues in a basement. According to WebMD, exposure to mold can irritate a person’s eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. That’s true whether a person is allergic to mold or not. Even people who are merely sensitive to mold can experience sneezing and runny nose, and some may even develop red eyes and skin rash if exposed to mold. Reactions are much more severe for people with mold allergies, who may experience shortness of breath or suffer from asthma attacks if exposed to mold. Molds require moisture to grow, and basements may provide ideal growing conditions for mold. Mold spores cannot grow without moisture, so dehumidifiers can help homeowners effectively reduce the risk of mold growth in their basements. WebMD advises homeowners keep indoor humidity levels, which can be measured with an inexpensive instrument known as a hygrometer, below 60 percent. In lieu of wall-to-wall carpeting in basements, install concrete floors and area rugs to make mold growth less likely. Basement floors also should be routinely inspected for leaks, as leaks can promote mold growth. Address leaks promptly if any are found.