The Gourd Flu? What is it?
As gourds dry out they go through a molding process. For this reason, gourds should always be kept outside while they are in this stage, and kept outside even after they are dried. I try to do all my cleaning outside also, but since we have long winters that is not always possible. Sometimes I will need to get some new ones cleaned if I run low for projects or for sale. I try to keep this at a minimum especially now since I have learned more on the dangers of mold spores.
When you work with moldy gourds, you are releasing millions of mold spores which are the culprits in health problems.
Dan Dunkin, of The Gourd Reserve, has some wonderful information on molds and their dangers at his site, thegourdreserve.com.
Some symptoms of gourd flu that I've heard talked about mainly affect the respiratory system. But from what I read at Dan's site, mold can be tied to a lot of other problems, such as lupus, MS, brain damage, cancer, and the list goes on.
When handling gourds you should always wear a respirator and gloves to help prevent spores from entering your respiratory system. If you don't, you are increasing your chances of getting gourd flu.