Healthy Living Environment
Living on campus is a great way to meet new friends, get involved on campus, and adjust to college life. However, moving to a new place can be stressful! As you prepare to live on campus, we want to share some important steps you can take to ensure a healthy experience at CSULB.
Diet, sleeping habits, and level of stress may change in college, impacting your overall health.
We encourage you to take advantage of resources offered by the CSULB Student Health Services to ensure a healthy experience on campus.
- Peer Nutrition Counseling
- HIV/STI Testing Information
- Stress/Psychological Services
- Tobacco Cessation
There are proactive steps you can take to improve your air quality, stay healthy, and cope with allergies.
The Long Beach area can be a concern for students with allergic rhinitis, conjunctivitis, hives and asthma - particularly those allergic to tree pollen. If you have dealt with spring allergies before coming to Long Beach, it's possible that you may be more significantly affected here. There are many over the counter products that are effective in alleviating symptoms. Note that everyone responds differently to medications and it may take time to find the one that works for you.
If over the counter products are not working, you may want to consider being evaluated by our medical staff and ask about prescription medications.
Discerning between common environmental allergies and mold-related concerns cannot be diagnosed without additional testing from your health provider.
If you experience sensitivity, as with all health concerns, please seek the assistance of our Student Health Services and/or your physician. Below are also some suggestions to help cope during the high pollen seasons in this area.
If medication has been prescribed to reduce your sensitivity, follow the instructions of your doctor and/or medical personnel.
Track the pollen count at pollen.com and on the days that the count is "high" try to stay indoors as much as possible.
Keep windows and doors closed to reduce the number of allergens entering your living space.
Vacuum and dust regularly to reduce the number of allergens that may have hitchhiked into your space on you or your roommate's shoes or clothes. If you find you are extremely sensitive, you may want to invest in a HEPA Filter vacuum to capture as many allergens as possible.
Avoid tossing your book bag or the clothes worn outside on your bed to prevent spreading allergens to your sleeping area.
Consider showering and washing your hair before going to bed to also avoid introducing allergens to your bed linens.
If all efforts above fail and you remain highly sensitive to allergens, you may consider investing in an air purifier for your area to remove as many allergens as possible from the air.
If purchasing an air purifier, beware of ozone generators and their claims of being safe and effective in controlling indoor air pollution in occupied spaces. People vary widely in their susceptibility to ozone. Healthy people, as well as those with respiratory difficulty, can experience breathing problems when exposed to ozone.
Mold & Mildew Prevention
Mold is pervasive in the environment and needs water, food, and warmth to grow. Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation. Some people, such as those with serious allergies to molds, may have more severe reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath. Some people with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may develop mold infections in their lungs. Click here for more information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
University Housing engages in routine maintenance efforts to prevent maintenance and mold concerns. Buildings and residence hall rooms are inspected multiple times per year.
If you believe that you have mold in your residence hall room, we recommend that you complete a maintenance request so that University Housing staff are notified and can respond.
University Housing staff will respond to reports of mold using mold response guidelines.
Mold is a part of the natural environment that aids in the decomposition of leaves, trees, and other natural outdoor organic materials. Individual mold spores are invisible to the human eye and are continually floating around outside in nature. However, when those spores make their way into the indoors and are exposed to wet/humid areas they can begin to grow or colonize. It is impossible to eliminate mold and mold spores in the indoor environment due to the ingress and egress of daily human activity being carried in on clothing, shoes, and backpacks.
Mold is found almost everywhere and can grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods, insulation, ceiling tiles, clothing and painted walls if moisture and oxygen are present. Mold needs water/moisture to grow, therefore maintaining indoor moisture and humidity levels between 30-60 percent will reduce the likelihood of indoor mold growth. Controlling humidity in large, heavily populated buildings is difficult, especially in hot humid weather.
Molds come in a variety of colors, including white, which is sometimes seen on a damp carpet; pink, which is often found on shower walls not cleaned regularly; and darkly pigmented, which is often seen around windowsills because of condensation. Given a source of moisture, mold can grow just about anywhere. Moisture control, air circulation and good housekeeping practices are necessary to control mold growth.
There are no federal or state regulations governing the presence of mold or mold spores in buildings. There are also no health standards from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or public health departments for concentrations of mold spores in the indoor air. The presence of visible mold on indoor building materials should be remediated.
Mold testing is not recommended in many cases. Instead, careful detailed visual inspection and recognition of moldy odors should be used to find problems needing correction. Efforts should focus on areas where there are signs of moisture or water vapor (humidity) or where moisture problems are suspected. The investigation goals should be to locate indoor mold growth to determine how to correct the moisture problem and remove contamination safely and effectively.
The California Department of Health, as well as the CDC and EPA, do NOT recommend testing as there are no exposure-based standards to use for evaluation of the sampling results.
Air circulation in a building varies throughout the day and depends on the level of activity in that space. Mold spores are always present in both the indoor and outdoor environment and can be carried in on clothing, backpacks, shoes, etc.
In most cases, the answer is yes. According to federal health and safety agencies, mold growth is commonly found in both indoor and outdoor environments. Therefore, varying levels of mold is always all around us.
Some people are sensitive to mold and may experience short-term or acute reactions in the presence of mold growth. Symptoms associated with mold exposure are not unique and cannot be readily distinguished from symptoms caused by other medical conditions, such as the common cold or seasonal environmental allergies. We recommend that you see your health care provider if you experience any health concerns.
A qualified team of staff members from University Housing responds to work orders. Staff will knock, enter, and conduct a thorough visual inspection of furniture, wall, closets, and fan coil units to check for any evidence of mold growth or other concerns, as well as take internal temperature and humidity readings.
If mold growth is found, staff will take appropriate steps to clean or remediate per the University Housing Mold Response Guidelines.
Measures will be taken to thoroughly clean and dry the area affected. This work may be completed by University Housing staff and/or an outside contractor specializing in water cleanup and restoration. If necessary, dehumidifiers, fans and/or air purifiers will be placed in the living space and will need to remain operational until they are removed to enhance the drying process to prevent future mold growth. Staff will return to check regularly on the progress until the situation has been resolved and may instruct residents in ways to assist in that process. In some cases, students may be relocated within the building to an open room for a few days to allow for proper remediation. Due to the unique circumstances around each situation, cases are managed independently with communication managed by the hall director.
Mold inspections within occupied spaces during the academic school year are only conducted at the request of a work order. Proactive inspections occur regularly throughout the year to include focusing on common areas in conjunction with the fire and life safety inspections. Comprehensive building inspections during the summer between conferences also occur each year.
Mold Prevention Tips
Preventing Mold in your Residence Hall Tips. Below are a few strategies to keep in mind that will help prevent mold from growing in your room:
- For rooms that have heating and ventilation control, set the thermostat between 68 - 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not turn the unit on a cool or hot setting and then turn it off once it gets to the setting. Turning units off and on continually prevents proper air flow and stagnant air leads to odors and potential mold growth issues.
- Do not block airflow from window unit air conditioners with furniture, clothing, etc.
- Keep your suite and room doors closed as much as possible to keep any outside humidity from entering your space.
- Air circulation helps prevent mold so please do not pack your closets and storage areas too tightly.
- Keep ALL vents within the room open and free of obstructions.
- Avoid placing damp or wet clothes/towels in storage spaces for extended periods of time as that will provide an environment conducive to mold growth.
- Keep your windows closed. Allowing outdoor humidity to directly enter a room enhances the chances for mold growth.
- Good housekeeping practices (vacuum floors, wipe down counters, clean up spills quickly, washout out refrigerators).
- Empty all trash and recycling regularly.
- At least once a week, bathroom shower stalls, tubs, sinks, and floors should be scrubbed cleaned with cleanser and treated with a bathroom disinfectant. If you are living in an apartment on campus, you are responsible for cleaning your own bathroom.
- Remove plants from the area, wet soil/plants and/or containers, such as wicker baskets, introduce moisture in the air and promotes fungal growth.
- Limiting hot showers to shorter periods of time to prevent excessive humidity and steam build up.
- Store food in airtight containers.
- Don't tape your air ducts closed. This prevents proper airflow and can lead to mold growth issues.