Summary Of Health Problems
Many types of indoor mold, not just black mold, may cause health problems in some individuals.
Long-term exposure to high levels of mold in the home, however,
People who are most at risk of the symptoms of mold exposure are:
- infants and children
- people with allergies or asthma
- people with weakened immune systems
The main health risks related to mold exposure are allergies and irritation, which typically cause respiratory symptoms.
People with weakened immune systems may also have a risk of fungal infection.
What Should I Do If I Suspect Mold In My House
Youll need to address the cause of the mold such as water damage, excessive condensation, poor ventilation, and so on. The best way to make sure you get rid of mold in your house is to hire a professional mold inspector. They will conduct a thorough examination of your home, and assess the molds that are present.
What Are Pathogenic Reactions To Mold
Pathogenic reactions to mold exposure are divided into three categories:
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The Effects Of Mold On Your Home And Your Health
We all know that mold in our homes is a bad thing but exactly how bad is it for your health and your home itself?
Mold grows by releasing its spores into the air, which are invisible to the naked eye. It can spread and grow anywhere as long as moisture and oxygen are present, but commonly grows on surfaces such as insulation, sheetrock, tile, fabrics and wood. It can enter your home through windows, vents and doorways or it can attach itself to clothing and pets and be carried inside. It might be a shock to learn that you can have hundreds or even thousands of mold spores in one cubic foot of air in your home.
How Is Mold Poisoning Treated
The effects of mold poisoning can be tricky to treat. Traditional treatments like antifungals do not work because in cases of fungal toxicity there is no actual fungal infection present within the body. Instead, its a matter of treating the effects while assisting your body to clear out the harmful toxins on its own.
The first and foremost step in treating fungal toxicity is to remove yourself from the harmful environment. Since mold poisoning is your immune systems response to being exposed to the mycotoxins produced by black mold, the sooner you limit your contact, the better. This step will prevent your condition from worsening while you seek other forms of treatments in addition to preventing your symptoms from returning in the future.
The following medications can help you manage your respiratory-related symptoms:
- Nasal spray
- Allergy shots
Your body can also benefit from treatments that boost the immune system which will help your body to naturally filter out toxins more quickly and effectively. Be sure to consult with your doctor to put together a treatment plan that works best for you.
- Probiotics and antioxidants
- Limiting exposure to other toxins like pesticides and heavy metals
- Use of binding agents like charcoal and clay to prevent the toxins from re-circulating throughout the body
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Whos At Greater Risk Of Mold Exposure
Some people are more sensitive to mold, whether this is because of their genetic makeup or the current state of their health. Individuals with already-compromised immune systems infants and small children the elderly and asthmatics are especially susceptible to the adverse health effects of mold exposure.
Remember that reactions to mold are uniquely individual, since no two immune systems are alike.
When Should I See My Healthcare Provider About Mold Allergy
If you have symptoms you think are related to mold, call your provider. They can treat your symptoms and may want to do allergy testing.
If you do have asthma or other breathing problems, and you suspect you have an allergy to mold, contact your provider. If you have any type of severe breathing problem, call 911 or go to an emergency room.
If your mold allergy is confirmed, make sure that you follow the instructions of your provider. You may need to carry an epinephrine injector if you have severe reactions to mold. This type of medicine treats life-threatening allergic reactions.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Allergies are common conditions. If you have them, it means you react differently to certain substances than other people do. The best thing to do is avoid what youre allergic to. Among people with allergies, an allergy to mold or other environmental substances happens to 1 in 5 people. Many allergic reactions to mold are similar to the types of reactions you have to other allergens like pet dander or dust. You may have itchy eyes or skin, and your nose might run. Some reactions to mold are more dangerous, like when it acts as an asthma trigger. Keep in contact with your healthcare provider to know the best ways to treat your mold allergy.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/10/2022.
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How Do Doctors Diagnose Mold Allergy
To diagnose an allergy to mold or fungi, your doctor will take a complete medical history and do a physical exam. If they think you have a mold allergy, the doctor often will do allergy skin tests or a blood test. The doctor uses your medical history, the allergy test results, and a physical exam to diagnose a mold allergy.
Different Types Of Mold
Allergenic Molds. Allergenic molds are on the low end of the danger scale. They only cause problems for those with asthma and a predisposed allergy to the specific mold. Children are more likely to have mold allergies than adults.
Pathogenic Molds. Pathogenic molds will cause some infection. This is a big problem for those with a suppressed immune system. An acute response resembling bacterial pneumonia is commonly found with those exposed to these types of mold.
Toxigenic Molds. As the name implies, these molds produce mycotoxins that can cause serious health effects. They have been tied to immunosuppression and cancer. The toxic chemicals found in these types of molds can be absorbed into the body when one inhales them, eats them, or even touches them.
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Identifying Mold In Your Home
- Appearance or dark spots or clusters. Look for spots or clustered growths, especially in warm, moist rooms.
- Musty smell. You may be able to identify mold by a musty smell.
- Allergies or asthma. If you experience asthma attacks or allergy symptoms in your home, that may also indicate theres mold.
- Potential causes. Look for causes of mold growth, like a leak, water damage, lack of ventilation, or old food, papers, or wood.
How To Know If You Have Black Mold In Your House
Mold isnt always visible. If you can see mold, its only a sign of the real potential health risk the unhealthy levels of harmful types mold in the air of your home or workplace.
Airborne mold is all around us in both the outdoors and indoors. The types and amount of mold determines the potential health risk. Most of us are accustomed to the varieties and amounts of mold present in our outdoor environments.
Healthy indoor environments will have mold conditions similar to or better than those in the surrounding outdoors. Over time, because of moisture , many indoor spaces develop unhealthy types and/or unhealthy levels of airborne mold that can be harmful to you or your pets.
These signs could mean you have unhealthy mold conditions in your house:
- Allergic symptoms
- A damp or musty odor in one or more places
- Frequent headaches
- The air in the home feels different
- Your house has been flooded or currently has leaks
- You previously tried removing mold yourself
Take note of how you feel in and out of the house. If the symptoms disappear or decrease when youre out and about, then you might have a mold problem, yes, even if you cant see mold.
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Do I Need To Get Medical Treatment
In many cases, exposure to toxic mold doesnt require medical treatment. If you experience cold-like symptoms after exposure to potentially toxic mold, these symptoms will likely fade on their own with no long-term effects once you remove yourself from the environment with the mold.
Generally speaking, your overall risk of long-term health effects related to mold exposure is fairly low. That said, experts still have more to learn about the possible health effects of mold exposure.
For this reason, its still important to avoid long-term exposure to potentially toxic mold and promptly address signs of mold in spaces you spend time in.
Reaching out to a healthcare professional may be a good option if you:
- have a compromised immune system due to another health condition
- have significant trouble breathing
- live with cystic fibrosis
As for a mold detox? Contrary to some beliefs, theres typically no need to go on a cleanse or detox in order to heal your body after exposure to mold.
Heres why: When functioning optimally, your body constantly detoxes itself and its very efficient at this task.
How Can I Be Exposed To Mold
People are exposed to molds every day, usually by touching or breathingthem. Because molds naturally exist outdoors and indoors, living in a totallymold-free environment is practically impossible. As molds grow, spores can bereleased into the air where they can be easily inhaled. People who inhale largenumbers of spores may get sick. Possible health concerns are an importantreason to prevent mold growth and to clean up molds in indoor environments.
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I Found Mold Growing In My Home How Do I Test The Mold
If you can see or smell mold, a health risk may be present. You do not need to know the type of mold growing in your home, and CDC does not recommend or perform routine sampling for molds. No matter what type of mold is present, you should remove it. Since the effect of mold on people can vary greatly, either because of the amount or type of mold, you cannot rely on sampling and culturing to know your health risk.
Health Effects Of Mold On Adults Children And Pets
In the long term, mold can cause dangerous health problems for adults, children, and pets. If you suspect you or family members are suffering from mold exposure, talk to your doctor, pediatrician, or veterinarian.
If you think you need a mold inspection for your home or business, get in touch with us, and well get down to the source. Here at Branch Environmental, we know your health is your priority, and we see each mold inspection as an in-depth investigation.
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Getting A Diagnosis For Mold Sickness
While symptoms to mold exposure are not uncommon , many health care professionals struggle to pinpoint the cause behind these symptoms.
Often only a few people or one person and not everyone, in a home or workplace experience symptoms. This is frustrating and confusing for the sick person. When their doctors cant find any reason for the illness, they can start to feel like the sickness is all in their mind.
People suffering from mold exposure can often be misdiagnosed with disorders such as:
Mold Toxicity Is Also An Issue And It Is Considered A Chronic Inflammatory Response
An acute and chronic, systemic inflammatory response acquired following exposure to the interior environment of a water-damaged building with resident toxigenic organisms, including, but not limited to fungi, bacteria, actinomycetes, and Mycobacterium serve as inflammogens! Inflammogens keep your body in a state of inflammation.
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Top Tips For Controlling Mold
It’s impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores in your home, but because mold spores can’t grow without moisture, reducing moisture in your home is the best way to prevent or eliminate mold growth. If there is already mold growing in your home, it’s important to clean up the mold and fix the problem causing dampness. If you clean up the mold but don’t fix the problem, the mold will most likely return.
Following is some advice for reducing moisture throughout the home with specific tips for the areas most prone to dampness and mold growth:
Around the house:
In the kitchen:
- Use exhaust fans to move moisture outside whenever you are cooking, washing dishes, or cleaning.
- Turn off certain appliances if you notice moisture on windows and other surfaces.
- Check for leaks around the kitchen sink, refrigerator ice makers, and other sources of water. Repair if necessary.
- Empty and clean refrigerator drip pans if necessary.
In basements and crawl spaces:
In the laundry room:
- Vent your clothes dryer to the outside.
- Make sure the vent is clear of obstructions, such as lint, and that there are no holes that leak air. If the vent duct is damaged, replace it with a metal duct. Have the duct cleaned at least once a year.
- Avoid leaving damp clothes in the laundry basket or dryer. Wash and dry them promptly.
What Happens If You Breathe In Mold
Mold is commonly found both indoors and outdoors, and chances are that you breathe it in more often than you realize.
When mold spores make their way into your body, your immune system immediately tries to rid the body of the mold.
Physically, these symptoms could look like coughing or sneezing.
These symptoms could worsen, however, depending on the level of exposure and your sensitivity to mold.
Thankfully, these symptoms typically only last as long as you are exposed to the mold, or if the mold spores stick around in your body.
Everyone reacts differently to mold exposure, and there are several factors that come into play when gauging the severity.
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Is There More Than One Type Of Aspergillosis
There are several types of aspergillosis.
Pulmonary aspergillosis is most likely to develop in people who have chronic lung disorders or damaged lungs. These people are likely to have abnormal spaces in their lungs where the fungus can grow. The fungus can also rarely infect sinuses and ear canals. The mold spores can colonize inside lung cavities that developed as a result of chronic diseases, such tuberculosis, emphysema, or advanced sarcoidosis. The fibers of fungus might form a lump by combining with white blood cells and blood clots. This lump or ball of fungus is called an aspergilloma or mycetoma. In some cases, a fungus ball may be present in other organs of the body.
Invasive aspergillosis, the most severe type, occurs when the infection travels from the lungs into the bloodstream. Other organs, such as the kidneys, liver, skin or brain, may become infected. This is a very serious condition that may result in death if not treated. People with very weakened immune systems are more susceptible to invasive aspergillosis. Other risk factors include a low white blood cell count, long-term use ofcorticosteroids, or hospitalization.
How Do Molds Get In The Indoor Environment And How Do They Grow
Mold is found both indoors and outdoors. Mold can enter your home through open doorways, windows, vents, and heating and air conditioning systems. Mold in the air outside can also attach itself to clothing, shoes, and pets can and be carried indoors. When mold spores drop on places where there is excessive moisture, such as where leakage may have occurred in roofs, pipes, walls, plant pots, or where there has been flooding, they will grow. Many building materials provide suitable nutrients that encourage mold to grow. Wet cellulose materials, including paper and paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, wood, and wood products, are particularly conducive for the growth of some molds. Other materials such as dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation materials, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery, commonly support mold growth.
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How Does Mold Impact Our Health
As mentioned above, some types of mold produce mycotoxins nasty little spores that cannot be seen without a special equipment. For example, one often found toxic type of mold is the infamous black mold.
In most cases, mold spores will weaken your immune system enough that you become vulnerable to many diseases. How much of a harmful effect mold will have on your health will mainly depend on the time spend in mold presence. The longer you live inside a moldy house and breathe in mold spores, the greater the risk for you and, of course, your loved ones.
Ensuring that your home stays mold free is one of the best ways to prevent diseases and infections such as tuberculosis.
Plan Of Attack To Removing Mold From Your Home
What can you do when you find a mold source in your home? What plan of action is required next? First and foremost, when you locate mold growth in your home you will want to examine the underlying cause of the mold growth, whether there was a moisture leak or what type of conditions surround the mold in the environment.
Second, you will want to call a mold remediation specialist to assist you in the removal of this mold from your homes surfaces. Often times we will try to utilize different methods of mold removal that we find online, but in reality, the best solution is having a trained professional come to your aid to ensure that proper removal occurs of this mold.
Third, eliminating the mold spores that have traveled into your air. We often dont consider that mold can compromise the quality of your homes air by collecting mold spores released from mold.
How can you eliminate these mold spores from your air? The enhanced chemical reactivity found in the EnviroKlenz Cartridge makes it ideal for removing harmful mold-generated VOCs.
The EnviroKlenz Mobile UV Air System is a portable air filtration machine that contains this enhanced chemically reactive technology that can effectively work at taking in mold spores and capturing them from your air.
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