Q: How To Know If Mold Is Making You Sick
A: Mold is one of the most common concerns of illness in homes, but often isnt the culprit. If you suspect that you or someone else has been exposed to mold, call your doctor immediately. The symptoms of mold exposure can mimic allergic reactions, include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, fatigue, skin rashes, eye irritation, and nosebleeds.
You Can Clean Your Carpets Yourselfall You Need Is A Steam Cleaner
While the right equipment is necessary to do the job effectively, it is not the only thing you need. The best companies have both the right equipment and the experts to clean your carpeting properly.
Carpet cleaning professionals are specifically trained and have years of experience cleaning carpets. They know things that the average homeowner does not, from which steam cleaner to use to which carpet shampoo to apply based on the type of carpet you have and how soiled it is.
So if youre tempted to rent a steam cleaner and attempt a DIY carpet cleaning project, dont. Theres a reason why professional carpet-cleaning companies exist.
What Happens When You Breathe In Mold Spores
The human immune system is designed to react when foreign contaminants enter the body this is exactly what can happen when you breathe in mold spores. People who are asthmatic or allergic to mold may experience a more severe reaction than those who are not, but anyone can experience adverse symptoms after too much exposure to mold.
Mold spores can enter your airways through your nose and mouth, and they may irritate your exposed eyes and skin as well. Once the spores have made their way into your body, your immune system will try to get rid of them by eliciting a series of physical responses from you, such as coughing or sneezing. The intensity of these responses is mostly based on how sensitive you are to mold.
The most common symptoms of mold exposure include:
- Coughing and wheezing
- Redness and dry skin
- Asthma attack
Fortunately, mold exposure symptoms typically only last as long as the mold spores are present in your body. Once youve cleared away the mold in your home, bathed and circulated fresh, clean air throughout your respiratory system, the side effects should lessen within a day or two.
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It Lurks In Your Coffeemaker
How do you take your coffee? Milk? Two sugars? Mold? No thanks. According to a study by the NSF, your coffee maker is the fifth dirtiest thing in the average American home. Fifty percent of all coffeemakers had mold, yeast and bacteria growing in the reservoir. The dark, damp environment is a perfect breeding ground for moldsometimes enough to make us sick.
The Rx: Clean your coffeemaker thoroughlywith vinegar. Fill your carafe with equal parts vinegar and water, brew until it’s half empty, turn off and let it sit for a half hour, then turn back on and finish brewing. Vinegar sanitizes your coffeemaker and removes buildup, so your cup of joe will taste better, too.
Organ Damage And Cancer
Certain molds produce substances called mycotoxins. These substances grow outdoors on grains and in agricultural areas. In these environments, they feed on dead plants and other organic waste materials, preventing them from accumulating. However, mycotoxins may also be present indoors, in buildings that have been damaged by moisture, such as leaking pipes or poorly-controlled humidity. They may also suppress immune system activity.
- Certain molds produce substances called mycotoxins.
- However, mycotoxins may also be present indoors, in buildings that have been damaged by moisture, such as leaking pipes or poorly-controlled humidity.
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How Do You Get The Molds Out Of Buildings Including Homes Schools And Places Of Employment
Mold growing in homes and buildings indicates that there is a problem with water or moisture. This is the first problem to address.
Remove moldy items from living areas. Once mold starts to grow in carpet, insulation, ceiling tiles, drywall, or wallboard, the only way to deal with the problem is by removal and replacement.
It is important to properly clean and dry the area as you can still have an allergic reaction to parts of the dead mold and mold contamination may recur if there is still a source of moisture.
Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have been soaked and cannot be dried promptly.
Clean up and dry out your home thoroughly and quickly after any flooding. Dig out mud and dirt . Use a wet vacuum to remove remaining dirt. Scrub cleanable surfaces with soapy water and a bristle brush. Thoroughly clean all hard surfaces with water and dish detergent. Dry surfaces quickly and thoroughly after cleaning. If you have a fan, air conditioner or dehumidifier that wasnt affected by flooding use it to help the surfaces dry after you finish cleaning
Mold growth can be removed from hard surfaces with commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water to kill mold on surfaces. Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners.
If you choose to use bleach to clean up mold:
Why Mold Causes Problems
Molds alone dont usually cause many health problems. Its when they land on damp surfaces and reproduce that you feel their nasty health effects.
Mold spores produce allergens substances that can cause you to have allergic reactions resulting in hay-fever-like symptoms: itchy, red eyes, runny nose and asthma. If these persist, you can develop respiratory infections. Its rare, but exposure to mold spores can eventually cause organ damage, cognitive difficulties and even death.
Whats more, mold spores can irritate your lungs even if youre not allergic to mold. When introduced to your body, spores irritate your airways in your nose, mouth and throat, Dr. Ibrahim says. They can also cause burning and bleeding if they become lodged in your mucus membranes, such as in your sinuses and lungs.
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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.
Mold Prevention Is The Key To A Healthy Environment
The saying goes better safe than sorry for a reason. Many things, including mold, can be prevented from making a harmful impact on your health by following a few simple steps. Most of them can be done on a daily basis, without interrupting any other daily habits.
First of all, fresh air is your weapon in the fight against mold. It will lower the humidity level and dry wet surfaces such as walls, windows, curtains, etc. Try to keep your windows open as often as possible, especially in rooms such as the kitchen and bathroom. In case there are no windows, or if its too cold outside, your next best weapon are air vents, and even dehumidifiers if the humidity level is extremely high.
Secondly, you have to ensure your house is clean, because dust, spoiled food, and any similar dirt are molds favorite food. Of course, it doesnt mean you should be obsessed with cleaning, but things like washing the dishes every day, cleaning the excess water after the shower and vacuuming at least once a week will do the job.
And last but not least, if mold is already present in your home, there is little you can do on your own. In that case it is best to call professionals to test and confirm the mold type after which they will give you information about the remediation process and future prevention.
If youd like to get in touch with a professional mold inspector, contact Mold Busters. We provide all-inclusive mold testing, inspection and removal services at affordable prices.
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What Is Mycotoxin Poisoning
The most serious problems caused by mold are caused by small molecules call mycotoxins, which are produced by mold when they feel threatened. Think of this like the ink an octopus produces or when a skunk sprays someone. For some mycotoxins, low levels are not problematic for most individuals.
These mycotoxins are found in low amounts in food. However, other mycotoxins such as the Trichothecenes are toxic in much smaller quantities, but only in water-damaged buildings, and they are much more toxic. Trichothecenes are produced by Stachybotrys, otherwise known as black mold.
There are multiple different health effects that are caused by mycotoxins, and these symptoms are influenced by genetics, sex, age of the patient. The number of mycotoxins patients absorbed and the type of mycotoxin also play a role in symptoms . However, common signs are chronic fatigue, ADHD, rashes, COPD, and depression. Less common symptoms include dementia, Parkinsons, and cancer. Mycotoxins also weaken the immune system, which leads to other secondary infections to occur .
How To Get Rid Of Mold
There are plenty of DIY mold removal options for you on the web some more effective than others. These may suffice if the problem is minor. After DIY treatment, it may be good to have an air quality test taken to determine the effectiveness of your work.
If the problem is more than minor, DIY methods will likely only remove the appearance of mold for a short time. If the problem is more serious, the best approach is to hire a certified and reputable local mold remediation company.
Most mold remediation companies will recommend demolition of the infected part of your home to get rid of mold, so keep in mind that you might have additional expenses to restore a portion of your house. Besides that, the process might take several days.
If you are looking into demolition-free mold removal, then look into the companies that use a dry fog technique. When properly done, this method not only kills mold without demolition to your home, but it also takes less than a day to complete.
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What Causes Mold To Grow Indoors
The conditions present in your home can play a critical role in the formation of mold in your indoor environment, with certain ideal conditions causing mold growth. Moisture is usually the most important condition that needs to be present in the environment since mold cannot grow without moisture in the environment. Additionally, mold will require a food source such as wood, drywall, or cotton to feed on in the environment, darkness to minimize exposure to ultraviolet light, warmer temperatures, oxygen, and time to thoroughly grow and spread within the environment. When all of these conditions are met in an indoor environment like your home, mold will flourish and grow rapidly which can leave for major problems to both your indoor air quality and to the health of those exposed to this mold growth.
Other issues in a home can also promote the growth of mold indoors, these can be normal occurrences in the home that will unknowingly advance mold that is developing in the area. Elevated levels of humidity indoors have been correlated with the growth of mold, as mold feeds off of high humidity levels in the air. Also, poor ventilation will aid in the progression of mold growth indoors since it will create pockets of moist air in the environment for mold to thrive.
Mold Problems in House
Signs Of Mold Illness
Mold is a big problem in most homes, but many people are unaware of the problem. Of course, everyone looks at the shower curtain, under the sink, or in the basement when he or she think about mold issues, but mold can grow just about anywhere.
Mold can be found in drywall, in the roof , and even in ones Christmas tree. One study found that Christmas trees can breed mold, quietly releasing millions of spores into the room causing winter allergies and asthma attacks. Studies have found that indoor air quality dropped six-fold over the 14 days a Christmas tree typically decorates a room.
There are 1,000 types of mold that can be found growing in the modern American home. Scientists classify these molds based on the effect they have on humans and other living things.
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Sensitive Eyes And Headaches
Redness in your eyes, itchiness, or blurry vision may be related to mold illnesses. Some people are sensitive to mold more than others. This causes their immune system to overreact, which in turn causes an allergic reaction.
If your symptoms are similar to hay fever or seasonal allergies and are accompanied by a headache and other symptoms of a mold illness, seek medical attention, and explain those concerns to your practitioner.
Your Pet Bowl Isn’t Much Better
You put a lot of thought into what your pet eatsbut what about the bowls the eat from? One study found that 45% of all pet bowls had mold growing on them, compared with 27% of toilet seats. So, it’s actually healthier for your pooch to drink from the toilet than eat their dinner from their bowl.
The Rx: You wash your own plates every time you eatdo the same for your pets.
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How Do You Know If Mold Is Making You Sick
Are you sick and suspect it might be from mold?
Determining whether exposure to mold is making you sick isnt always easy.
Each persons body is affected by mold toxicity in different ways. Some experience constant migraines and headaches, shortness of breath, brain fog, fatigue or even depression.
Since symptoms differ from person to person, they may not be quickly associated with mold exposure. Many people suffering from mold illness struggle to get a proper diagnosis and investigation.
Its common to think my house is clean it cant be mold! However, mold comes in many forms. In this article, well share what toxic mold is, the signs and symptoms, and how it can be treated.
What Are The Symptoms Of Aspergillosis
Symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending on the type of aspergillosis.
Pulmonary aspergillosis might not cause any symptoms, especially in the early stages. If the disease progresses, symptoms may include:
- Coughing, sometimes accompanied by mucus or blood.
- Bloody cough or massive bleeding from the lungs.
Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis may cause:
- Coughing accompanied by mucus or blood.
- Wheezing or worsening of asthma.
- Increased mucus or sputum secretions.
- Inability to tolerate exercise or asthma brought on by exercise.
Many patients with asthma or cystic fibrosis already experience respiratory symptoms similar to those caused by an allergic reaction, so it may be difficult to detect ABPA in these situations. Sometimes, a worsening of symptoms such as coughing and wheezing is the only sign that the person is experiencing an allergic reaction.
If the allergic reaction recurs over time, and the lungs become inflamed repeatedly, damage to the lungs and central airways can occur. Recurrent allergic reactions may cause scarring of lung tissue and widening of the central airways, a condition known as bronchiectasis.
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How To Minimize Your Risk
To know how to protect yourself, start by knowing where mold spores thrive. Besides growing best in warm, damp, humid spots. Outside, youll find mold in shady, damp areas or where leaves or other vegetation break down. Inside, mold grows in high-humidity locations, such as basements and showers, she says.
If you are prone to breathing problems, such as asthma, you should consider limiting exposure to damp, humid areas such as basements and saunas, she says.
Here are other things you can do to minimize your mold exposure risk:
- Use an air conditioner or dehumidifier to keep humidity levels below 50% at all times.
- Check the humidity level in your home at least once a day because humidity changes with temperature shifts.
- Be sure your home is adequately ventilated. If you have exhaust fans, use them especially when you shower.
- Use paints fortified with mold inhibitors.
- Use mold-killing bathroom cleaning products, such as bleach.
- Dont carpet bedrooms or bathrooms. If you own your home and can afford to, remove carpeting from your home and replace with another surface, such as laminate tile, thats easy to clean.
- Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have gotten wet or soaked through in the past as these are breeding grounds for mold spores.
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.
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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.