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Aspergillosis

Aspergillosis is a condition caused by aspergillus mould. There are several different types of aspergillosis. Most affect the lungs and cause breathing difficulties.

How you get aspergillosis

Aspergillosis is usually caused by inhaling tiny bits of mould. The mould is found in lots of places, including:

You cannot catch aspergillosis from someone else or from animals.

Information:

Most people who breathe in the mould do not get ill.

Aspergillosis is rare in healthy people

You're usually only at risk of aspergillosis if you have:

Symptoms of aspergillosis

Symptoms of aspergillosis include:

If you already have a lung condition, your existing symptoms may get worse.

Non-urgent advice: See a GP if you have:

  • a cough for more than 3 weeks
  • a lung condition that's getting worse or harder to control with your usual treatment
  • a weakened immune system and symptoms of aspergillosis

Get an urgent GP appointment if you cough up blood. Call 111 if you cannot see your GP.

What happens at your appointment

Your GP will check for an obvious cause of your symptoms, like a chest infection or asthma.

If they're not sure what the problem is, they may refer you to a specialist for tests such as:

Treatment for aspergillosis depends on the type

Treatment usually helps control the symptoms. If it's not treated or well controlled, there's a risk it could damage your lungs.

You cannot always prevent aspergillosis

It's almost impossible to completely avoid aspergillus mould.

But there are things you can do to reduce your risk of aspergillosis if you have a lung condition or weakened immune system.

Do

  • try to avoid places where aspergillus mould is often found, such as compost heaps and piles of dead leaves
  • close your windows if there's construction work or digging outside
  • wear a face mask in dusty places
  • consider using an air purifier at home – devices with HEPA filters are best

Don't

  • do not dry your laundry in your bedroom or living areas, if possible – ideally dry it outside or in a tumble dryer
Information:

You can find out more about aspergillosis on the Support for People with Aspergillosis website.