The Impact Of Mold: 5 Steps To Regaining Health
The impact of mold on health is far reaching, and the occurrence of mold might be higher than you might think. Symptoms of mold exposure go beyond an allergic response and can include a vast range from achy joints to dysregulated hormones, cognitive issues or sapping fatigue.
To complicate matters, you could be exposed to it, and simply not know. Mold could be hidden behind walls or be disguised as a fine powder instead of the striking black spots you might expect.
Curious if mold is playing a role in your mysterious symptoms? Have a hunch you need to address it to achieve optimal wellness but overwhelmed with where to start? Here are 5 steps worth investigating if youre concerned about how a moldy environment might be affecting your health and wellbeing.
How Can Mold Affect My Health
Many molds can cause health effects. Molds produce allergens, irritants and,sometimes, toxins that may cause adverse reactions in humans. A reaction tomold depends on how much a person is exposed to, the age of the person and thepersons sensitivities or allergies. The same amount of mold may causehealth effects in one person, but not in another.
Exposure to mold can cause a variety of symptoms. Sensitive people who havetouched or inhaled mold or mold spores may have allergic reactions such as arunny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, watery eyes, skin rash and itching. Molds can trigger asthma attacks in people who are allergic tomolds, causing wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. A diseaselike pneumonia may also develop after exposure to mold, but this is uncommon.
Infectious diseases from molds can occur in people with weakened immunesystems, such as those who are immune-compromised or immune-suppressed fromdrug treatment. Some types of mold are known to cause infections inimmune-compromised people. Such infections can affect the skin, eyes, lungs orother organs. These are considered opportunistic infections that usually do notaffect healthy people.
How Common Is Mold In Buildings
Molds are very common in buildings and homes. Mold will grow in places with a lot of moisture, such as around leaks in roofs, windows, or pipes, or where there has been flooding. Mold grows well on paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, and wood products. Mold can also grow in dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery.
The most common indoor molds are Cladosporium, Penicillium, and Aspergillus. We do not have precise information about how often different molds are found in buildings and homes.
Also Check: Cleaning Mold In Basements
How Do You Recover From Mold Poisoning
Treatment avoiding the allergen whenever possible. a nasal rinse, to flush mold spores out of the nose. antihistamines, to stop a runny nose, sneezing, and itchiness. decongestant nasal sprays, a short term remedy for congestion. nasal corticosteroids, to reduce inflammation. oral decongestants, to reduce congestion.
Different Types Of Bread Mold
Rhizopus stolonifera is also known as black bread mold. This is the most common type. It may also appear in fruits and vegetables. It will first appear as a fuzzy green or blue patch on a surface. If left alone, the patches will develop a black center. This type of mold is not dangerous but may cause mild indigestion.
Penicillium is actually a group of bread molds, although they are all very similar. This type of mold is used in some cheese products, and some species of it are used to create the antibiotic penicillin.
Penicillium will show up as white, blue, or gray patches. Certain types of Penicillium could produce mycotoxins, which may lead to chronic illnesses over time. The side effects of occasional ingestion tend to be mild.
Cladosporium is a fungus that is most irritating to anyone with allergies. If you continue to be exposed to Cladosporium, you may have sneezing or wheezing.
Cladosporium appears on the surface of the crust as a dark patch that can be green or black. What makes it noticeable is that it has a strong smell. Unless you have allergies, you likely wont be harmed by eating it.
Don’t Miss: What Kills Mold On Leather
Mould Is Poisoning Australians
Could invisible mould be the cause of your health issues? Exhaustion, sleep deprivation, body aches, triggered asthma, lack of motivation & brain fog are just some toxic mould illness symptoms.
I drag myself out of bed still exhausted despite sleeping for more than 11 hours. I prepare a bowl of food for my dog, and as I put it down on the floor, she looks up at me. Shes not eating. Again.
I wander into the bathroom and peer in the mirror the stupid rash around my eyes has spread even further.
My body aches, my hair looks stringy, oily and limp no matter how much I wash it. I have zero motivation and I cant think straight. Even stringing a sentence together is hard these days. Im sick really sick. And I have no idea what was wrong with me.
Id been to the doctor four times in the last 2 months each time I went in I was given another drug.
Oh youve got a rash around your eyes? Here, use this steroid cream for a week.
Yeah, but whats causing the rash? Ive never had skin problems. I ask.
Oh nothing. These things just happen.
I have no idea whats going on.
That is Chantelles story, and unfortunately a common story for many Australians. Her house was killing her and she didnt work out how until it was almost too late.
We spend an average of 16 hours a day at home and even more when aged under seven and over 64.
What Are Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds
Another source of irritation from mold exposure comes from substances knownas microbial volatile organic compounds . These compounds are producedthrough fungal metabolism and are released directly into the air, often givingoff strong or unpleasant odors. Exposure to mVOCs from molds can irritate theeyes and respiratory system and has been linked to symptoms such as headaches,dizziness, fatigue, nasal irritation and nausea. The effects of mVOCs are notcompletely understood and research is still in the early stages.
You May Like: How To Remove Black Mold From Ceiling
Test Your Environment For Mold
Testing your environmenthome or workplacefor mold can be very beneficial since the symptoms of mold-related illness can be similar to other chronic inflammatory conditions such as Lyme.
There are different avenues you may take to address mold testing. Options exist for both professional testing and for self-testing.
DIY Mold Testing
There are pros and cons to each so a combination of these may be used:
Find a Qualified Indoor Environmental Professionals for Inspection
An indoor environmental professional knowledgeable about the effects of mold on sensitive populations can be helpful. Their trained eyes and tools can be helpful in identifying the source of your mold. Here are tips for finding a qualified mold inspector:
- Be sure the professional offers just inspection, not inspection with remediation to avoid conflicts of interest.
- Consider a virtual or phone consultation with indoor professionals aligned with the International Society for Environmentally Acquired Illness and their standards for indoor health.
- Look for a local IEP through ACAC.org
- Find inspection professionals with the CIEC and CMC certifications.
- Find remediation professionals with the CMRS and CMR certifications.
Can I Use It For Anything Else
Since many people use old bread to make breadcrumbs or pudding, you might think that you could do something else with bread that has a little bit of mold on it.
Unfortunately, the presence of mold means that you should only throw it away. Keeping even the parts that are not moldy is not your safest option. Any bread that has mold growth should not be used for any other dishes and should be thrown away promptly to prevent any problems.
Recommended Reading: How To Clean Mold From Ceiling In Bathroom
How Can I Prevent Black Mold
Of course, moving out is not a simple or accessible process for everyone. If you dont have the resources to move or simply dont want to, consider these prevention measures to protect yourself against black mold:
- Immediately repair leaks
- Constantly wipe down/dry wet or damp surfaces
- Invest in a dehumidifier to clear the air of excess water vapor
- Clean rooms that are susceptible to water collection with anti-fungal products
- Open windows to facilitate air circulation when possible
- Clean rooms/spaces that dont get much use to ensure mold isnt growing there
Like any prevention method, these steps do not ensure that black mold will not grow in your home, but they lessen the chances. The biggest takeaway here is that black mold flourishes in objects that retain water or places that harbor standing water, which is why avoiding humidity is so imperative in preventing fungus growth.
Can The Spores Spread Throughout My Home
Although mold can come from a variety of sources, it is likely not going to be caused by the occasional piece of moldy bread that you may have, unless it becomes heavily overgrown. Mold spores are constantly in the air and can cause growth on a variety of surfaces, especially damp ones.
If you have moldy food, you should dispose of it appropriately and clean it in all the areas where it was sitting. If you store your bread in a storage cabinet/box, you may want to clean the cabinet thoroughly, but its not likely that this will cause any further problems.
Check out these clever and innovative food storage ideas and dont let your food ever go to waste again: 20 Unique Food Storage Ideas
Recommended Reading: How To Clean Black Mold Off Ceiling
Testing For Invisible Hidden Mould
Not all mould is visible, as contamination may be in cavities or the ceiling.
If you suspect mould contamination but cannot find the source of the problem, or if you have already taken measures to prevent mould from growing and you are still having problems, you could employ an occupational hygienist or environmental health and safety professional. For a fee, these professionals can provide specialist mould testing and consultancy services.
Places where you may find hidden mould or damp include:
- Opposite side of dry walls, wallpaper or panelling. Inside walls it often found around pipes that are leaking or condensing and drains.
- Roof materials above ceiling tiles cement roof tiles may lose their outer glaze and absorb moisture into roof spaces. Moisture in roof spaces accumulate, particularly if moist air is vented into the roof space but not allowed to escape
- Underside of carpets and pads, or curtains
- Condensate drain pans inside air handling units
- Porous thermal or acoustic liners inside ductwork
You may need professional help to find and remove hidden mould.
How Can I Remove Black Mold
If youre looking to get rid of the black mold yourself, here are some pointers to do it properly:
- Clean the area with soap, water, and a diluted bleach formula. Repeat this process for a few days thereafter to get any potentially missed spores in the area
- Replace appliances, furniture or parts of your house that have been affected
- Cover any susceptible walls or corners with mold-preventable paint
Be aware that black mold can spread quickly and invisibly. If you do not feel comfortable removing it yourself, or dont feel equipped to do so, consider reaching out to professionals to do it for you.
Also Check: Can You Sue Landlord For Black Mold
All Carpet Cleaning Companies Should Give You A Precise Quote Over The Phone
As much as you would like to know exactly how much you will have pay for carpet cleaning, a serious company will rarely give you a quote over the phone.
The price will depend on the type of carpet, the amount of dirt and the amount of furniture that has to be moved. None of these can be determined over the phone, so cleaners will have to come to your house to perform an assessment. Only then will they be able to give you an accurate quote.
What Causes Black Mold
Molds are an important part of our environment. They decompose dead plants and animals. All types of mold will grow if the conditions are right. Mold grows and spreads quickly in the right conditions, which include:
- Moisture level at or over 70%
- Adequate food source
- Temperatures that range from 40 to 100 degrees F
Mold can grow anywhere in your house that provides these conditions. The most likely places mold will grow are:
- Anywhere that there has been a water leak.
- Damp rooms without adequate ventilation, such as bathrooms.
- Basements where humidity tends to be higher.
- Any areas with a lot of water condensation.
- Any areas where flooding has occurred.
Don’t Miss: Mould Bathroom Ceiling
How Can You Tell If Your Air Condition Has Mold In It
Its not uncommon for people to go a long time before finding out that their air conditioner has been spreading harmful mold spores. Your air conditioning can be making you sick, and you may not even realize it.
Mold in an air conditioning unit is usually discovered during the course of maintenance, such as when someone is replacing filters or cleaning dust and debris from the air conditioner. In these scenarios, the mold could be discovered by the owner of the home or air conditioner or by a professional HVAC technician.
One way to watch out for mold is through scent. If theres a musty or stale smell whenever you turn on your air conditioning unit, it may point toward mold being present somewhere.
You may also want to look for mold if you experience any sicknesses or other symptoms that could be connected to mold. Look through the list of symptoms and problems discussed above for some examples of what to look out for.
If you suspect that your air conditioning unit may contain mold, you should begin by checking whatever parts of the unit are visible or otherwise easy to access, including the evaporator coils and filter. However, take note that these parts being clean doesnt necessarily mean that youre free of mold. Ducts, ventilation shafts, and other less easily visible areas may hide mold.
Five Of The Most Common Indoor Molds
Mold illness is the variety of health problems that can occur from any type of mold exposure. Although a mold allergy is the most common problem caused by exposure to mold, mold can cause illness without an allergic reaction. Mold can also cause infections or irritants and toxic reactions. Infections caused by mold can lead to a variety of problems from flu-like symptoms to skin infections and even pneumonia.
Read Also: Clean Mildew Off Bathroom Ceiling
Types Of Mold Sickness: Signs And Symptoms
Mold exposure has the potential to cause adverse health effects. Many people start researching mold sickness when they are faced with a set of symptoms that have no apparent cause. They begin to wonder, are they being affected by something in their environment? There is a wide range of mold-related illnesses, some of which are difficult or even impossible to diagnose. Below, we discuss the different types of mold sickness and the symptoms associated with each condition.
Indoor Air Quality Solutions For Mold
The best way to avoid mold in the home or workplace is to prevent its growth altogether. Because mold thrives in damp, warm environments, you can try:
- Keeping the relative humidity in your home between 30% and 50%.
- Checking high-moisture areas, such as window sills, under-sink cabinets and indoor plants, regularly for visible mold growth.
- Increasing ventilation in your homeespecially in high-moisture areas such as the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room. You can do this by installing an exhaust fan, running your HVAC system or opening windows .
- Adding an air purifier to help remove mold spores from the air in your home. Make sure to follow the manufacturers instructions on cleaning and replacing the filters. The Molekule air purifier with proprietary PECO technology destroys mold spores that pass through the device, instead of trapping them within the unit.
Read Also: Black Mold In Shower Grout
You Should Hire The Company That Offers The Lowest Price
If money is your only concern, then yesgo ahead and spend as little money as possible. But dont complain when your carpets are underwhelmingly clean or, in the worst case, destroyed.
On the other hand, if you think long term, you should ask around and compare both the prices and the quality of service that companies offer. You will very likely find a company that will make your carpet super clean for just a slightly higher price.
How To Prevent Sickness From Mold
“To avoid basement mold making you sick, the most important thing is to deal with it immediately,” said McBride. “And keep in mind that molds don’t only grow in basements, they can thrive unseen behind baseboard heating, between walls and in attics. Basically, anywhere moisture can be present, which is why heating, ventilation and air condition systems are notorious for creating mold issues.”
And because mold can grow within 24 hours of an area becoming wet, McBride suggests reducing the risk of long-term exposure by tackling the source of any excess moisture in your home whether thats condensation or a leak. When you know what’s causing the damp problem, you can carry out the appropriate home repairs.
You may need to get a professional to remove mold for you, but if it’s only a small amount you could opt to deal with it yourself. However, if you do decide to tackle mold patches yourself, be sure to protect your health from toxic mold microbes by wearing an N-95 mask , disposable gloves and goggles.
Fungicides can be just as toxic as mold, so I would use an everyday household detergent to clean the area, McBride told Live Science. Youll also need to contain and decontaminate any items that have been affected. For example, storage boxes, furniture or documents, in order to reduce the spread of toxic microbes. You can use a dehumidifier to help prevent mold, however, these can be susceptible to growing mold themselves, so be sure to maintain it very closely.
Recommended Reading: Cleaning Mold On Bathroom Ceiling