Woman suffered 'nosebleeds and hair loss' after her car 'made her ill'

A view of a young woman, sneezing as a reaction to allergies, into the handkerchief she's holding.
-Credit: (Image: Getty)


Motorists are being urged to be vigilant for signs of mould in their vehicles, particularly as the UK's weather heats up. It comes after drivers have taken to social media to express health concerns, claiming that spending time in their cars has made them unwell.

Car owners have reported feeling fatigued, nauseous, and dizzy while driving. One Instagram user, @Livingwellwithelle, even alleges that driving her car has led to 'nosebleeds and hair loss'.

She claimed: "In 2021, I bought a car. After driving it for 2.5 years, these are the symptoms I experienced: extreme fatigue, debilitating shoulder, collarbone and neck pain, nosebleeds, nausea and hair loss.

"My husband experienced all of these symptoms except for the hair loss and shoulder/neck pain. I've never had nosebleeds in my entire life but suddenly had red tinged tissue after blowing my nose many times."

While Elle didn't specify the exact model of her car, she said: "It wasn't severe and I initially blamed it on weather and controlled burns. But they have stopped since selling the car."

Elle was quick to add: "Am I sure the car caused these symptoms? I'm not 100% sure of anything. Is it likely? Our symptoms are gone after selling it five months ago."

In the comments section, Laura_r0ci0 suggested: "Those symptoms sound like mould exposure or heavy metal poisoning! Wow."

Another person, Lasteere, recounted a troubling experience: "My sister and brother in law had something similar happen to them. They sent the car in for repairs and it ended up being MOULD EVERYWHERE."

Codywilshire put: "I am so happy you're feeling better now. Most important thing."

Experts at Nationwide Vehicle Contracts have delved into the reasons why some motorists might suffer ailments after time behind the wheel. They suggest that the symptoms Elle described could be linked to mould accumulating in the heating and ventilation systems of cars.

It's not just about unsightly patches - mould can be a serious health and safety risk. Those nasty spores can get trapped in your car, potentially leading to several health issues.

Warmth and dampness offer the perfect breeding ground for mould. Drivers are advised to regularly inspect their car upholstery for leaks and to ensure that the air conditioning is functioning correctly, as faulty vents can cause build-up of stale air and encourage further growth of mould.

Recognising signs of mould invasion in your motor

Could it be more than just seasonal allergies?

If you notice allergy-like symptoms are increasing, this could be triggered by hidden mould in your vehicle. Itchy eyes, sniffles and cough are common allergy symptoms.

However, if passengers or drivers experience an increase in symptoms, experts warn to check vehicles for mould. Recognising these symptoms early can be crucial for preventing further illness.

Allow fresh air to circulate

Driving with car windows open can help ventilate your vehicle with fresh air, and prevent illnesses if your car's ventilation system is contaminated. Inhaling mould particles can cause serious health problems. If you believe your car could be at risk of mould, it is best to ventilate the car with fresh air as much as possible.

Look for visible mould

Mould build-up in vehicles may be hidden, but drivers should be wary of obvious signs of the issue. Common places where mould may grow in cars are on the upholstery, ceiling and floor mats.

Mould grows quickly, so frequently checking hidden spots in your vehicle can prevent further rapid growth and damage.

Check the cabin air filter

Mould has been found in cabin air filters, so experts suggest to regularly check your vehicle's filter, even if you don't notice any symptoms or bad odours. Mould can build up in the air filter, which causes illness due to the air circulation in the vehicle spreading mould. Checking your car's air filter will catch mould before it becomes a health risk.

Regularly clean car interior

Mould often finds a home in fabrics, including car seats. Regular cleaning of your vehicle's interior can help maintain hygiene and prevent the spread of mould. This is because it removes accumulated bacteria and germs that can contribute to mould growth.