Some Of The Symptoms Associated With Mold And Mycotoxins Can Include:
- Chronic burning in the throat and nasal passages
- Coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath
- Eye irritation red eyes, blurred vision
- Increased urinary frequency, increased sweating , or increased thirst
- Abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating
- Metallic taste in mouth
As you can see, the list is quite long! It is also not a list of symptoms that would immediately point a doctor to a specific illness. Some symptoms manifest immediately, but others such as poor color distinction, dizziness, fatigue, poor memory, and difficulty word finding may take months or years to develop.
Our Air Quality Solution For Mold
Though more research is needed to support mold sensitivity in the scientific community, prolonged exposure to indoor mold in your home is unhealthy for everyone, regardless if you have a mold allergy or suspect a mold sensitivity. After taking steps to prevent visible mold growth, mold spores can be addressed by an air purifier. Our solution, the Molekule PECO technology, was developed over 20 years to address many of the common concerns of indoor air quality, including airborne mold. In addition to common indoor air pollutants like VOCs, pollen and dust mites, PECO technology is the only one that can reliably destroy mold particles, including fragments, spores and mycotoxins. Keeping airborne mold to a minimum can help you and your family breathe clean air.
What Do We Know About Mold Sensitivity
The term mold sensitivity is broadly used to refer to any chronic non-allergic response to mold exposure. Mold sensitivity is not understood nearly as well as mold allergies because the condition is associated with an undefined range of symptoms that have no measurable cause. Some people report experiencing a wide array of symptoms that they believe to be caused by mold sensitivity. These symptoms include anxiety, cognitive issues, depression and insomnia, as well as different types of physical pain. Because mold sensitivity cannot be measured, there is no observable link between the condition and its associated symptoms.
Unfortunately, Western medicine has no answer for those who believe they are affected by mold sensitivity, also referred to as vulnerability to mold toxicity. Unlike mold allergies that can be diagnosed with a skin test or allergen-specific immunoglobulin blood test, there is no test that can diagnose this issue, and there is a lack of scientific research to back up information about the condition. The EPA states that mold-related symptoms other than allergic reactions and irritation by spores are not commonly reported.
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What To Do If You Breathe In Mold
Of any problem around the house, mold can be one of the most tedious to deal with. Its stubborn, it spreads easily and, without the right knowledge or professional help, it can be difficult to get rid of. On top of all of this, many homeowners live in perpetual fear of mold due to the effects it may have on their health. Over the years, mold has developed a reputation for being toxic, causing chronic diseases and even causing death in some people.
The fact of the matter is, theres a lot more to mold than you might imagine and a lot of misinformation surrounding it. If youre worried about mold growing in your home and what might happen if you and your loved ones breathe it in, this helpful guide can provide you with insight on what youre dealing with, what steps you should take and how to tell if your exposure to mold has become dangerous.
Mold Reactions: Who’s At Risk
For people sensitive to mold, inhaling or touching mold spores can cause allergic reactions, including sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash. People with serious mold allergies may have more severe reactions, including shortness of breath. In people with asthma who are allergic to mold, breathing in spores can also cause asthma attacks.
In addition to people with allergies and asthma, others who may be more sensitive to the effects of mold include:
- Infants and children
- People with chronic lung disease
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How Is Aspergillosis Diagnosed
Your doctor will probably ask you about your medical history, including the type and duration of your symptoms and whether you have a cough or a fever. It may be difficult to diagnose the condition, because symptoms may resemble those of other diseases.
Some of the diagnostic tests that may be required include:
- Skin and blood tests: These tests are useful to diagnose ABPA, especially in cases where the patient has asthma, bronchiectasis or cystic fibrosis. The doctor or technician injects a small quantity of aspergillus antigen into the skin, usually the lower arm. A small red bump at or near the site will show that you have an allergic reaction. In addition, a sample of your blood might be analyzed to see if certain antibodies are present that indicate an allergic reaction.
- Imaging tests: A chest X-ray or computerized tomography scan may be performed to examine the lungs.
- Sputum culture: A sample of sputum might be stained and tested to see if aspergillus fungus is present.
- Biopsy: A small sample of tissue is removed from the lungs or sinuses to diagnose invasive aspergillosis.
Is Mold Dangerous To Breathe
Normally when we come across mold whether in our home or somewhere else we recoil, perhaps gag and then set about getting rid of it or simply walking away. And whilst mold is, unarguably, a less-than-favorable sight to behold, the real concern can actually be a lot more serious, depending on the person and the type of mold found. So, what can breathing in mold actually do?
Mold produces allergens, irritants and sometimes, even, toxic substances, depending on the type. Some people are more sensitive to mold, for example, babies and the elderly, those with existing skin and respiratory conditions and those with a weakened immune system. For these people, breathing it in may cause a blocked nose, sore throat, wheezing, shortness of breath, skin itchiness, headaches, fatigue or eye irritation, according to a 2004 study by the Institute of Medicine and others.
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How Long Does It Take For Black Mold To Kill You
Black mold, or Stachybotrys atra, has a reputation for being fatal. This is due to reports that black mold was related to infant deaths in the 1990s. Its also been linked to the idea of sick building syndrome and is often called toxic black mold.
But theres no solid evidence proving that black mold is toxic. Black mold, and mold in general, is not deadly.
Still, black mold can cause unwanted side effects, especially those in people who are sensitive to mold. This includes people who are young, old, or have compromised immune systems.
Visit a doctor if you have:
- persistent sinus and nasal congestion
- frequent headaches
- unexplained skin irritation
- more frequent asthma attacks
Sometimes, it can be difficult to know if mold is causing your symptoms. Many side effects of mold exposure are similar to other conditions, like seasonal allergies. Some symptoms also take time to appear.
Your best bet is to see a doctor, even if youre unsure your symptoms are related to mold. They can help you find relief.
The best way to treat mold exposure symptoms is to reduce exposure. Follow these tips:
- Avoid contact with moldy items or surfaces.
- Avoid damp rooms, like basements.
- Remove mold from the home by cleaning surfaces and drying damp areas.
- Increase ventilation by using a fan or opening windows.
- Reduce indoor humidity with a dehumidifier.
The length of time it takes for mold to leave your body will depend on your level of previous exposure.
- a musty, earthy odor
How Can You Tell If Theres Mold In Your Lungs
If your exposure to mold is fairly minimal, chances are you may not even experience any symptoms. For more prolonged cases of exposure, the symptoms are generally recognizable across the board: sneezing, coughing, wheezing, chest tightness or discomfort, and shortness of breath are all strong indicators that there are mold spores in your lungs.
The issue here is that all of these symptoms can be found in a variety of illnesses or allergic reactions, so it can be difficult to directly pin down mold exposure as the cause. Pay close attention to your symptoms, as well as when they started and how they change. Make a mental note of when you discovered mold growing around you, how long you were around it and whether or not you had any protection . If you fear at all that there may be mold in your lungs, dont hesitate contact medical professionals and let them know whats going on. Its always better to be safe than sorry.
Mold exposure can potentially cause serious problems, but most healthy people have nothing to worry about aside from some uncomfortable, temporary symptoms. If youre worried about mold in your home, contact your local professional to learn what you can do about it.
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Diy Vs Professional Mold Removal
Once you have had a home inspection, you may wonder if professional help is really necessary. Customers often ask us, Can I clean the mold myself or do I need a professional? Our answer depends several factors including:
- how extensive the mold problem is
- what building materials, furnishings, and belongings are affected
- where the mold is located
- whether or not you mind being in confined spaces such as your crawlspace, basement, or attic
If youre familiar with our blog, you know that the first thing to do when cleaning mold is to fix the moisture problem that led to the mold growth. Until you fix the moisture problem, mold will continue to grow and spread.
Its time to call in the professionals when:
- you smell a musty odor in your home you cant identify
- there is an area of mold larger than 10 square feet
- you have health problems associated with mold
Mold is great at hiding in hard to detect locations such as in drywall and insulation. If the area of mold covers more than about 10 square feet, there is a good chance the mold problem is more than an isolated issue. If the area of mold is less than 10 square feet, you may be able to handle it yourself. To get all the details check out our post: Cleaning Mold: DIY vs. Professional.
If Mold Spores Are Invisible How Do You Know They Are There
Mold spores are everywhere, inside and outside, and are too small for the eye to see before they germinate. When a spore lands on a wet surface, it starts to grow right away and can spread throughout your home within a matter of days. It can take between one and twelve days to fully colonize and can grow at the rate of one inch per day.
Since mold spores travel, it is possible to have visible mold in one area of your home like the bathroom and unseen spores in another room like your bedroom. Since mold often grows in out-of-sight places like behind walls or under floorboards, the musty smell it gives off will be the indicator that mold is present. Between traveling spores and hidden mold colonies, mold anywhere in the house can mean mold everywhere in the house.
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Can Mold Exposure Be Lethal
This is a major area where information becomes muddled. Some sources of information will tell you that mold exposure of any kind can be deadly, whereas others will say that only exposure to toxic molds can seriously harm you.
Fortunately, exposure to mold isnt usually lethal to a healthy person. However, higher-risk groups can experience far more serious health complications after being exposed to pathogenic and toxigenic molds. Similar to those listed above, people at a higher risk include:
- Pregnant women
- People who have recently had surgery or major medical treatments
- People with compromised immune systems or immune disorders
What Are The Treatments For Mold Allergy
In some cases, there may be ways to reduce or remove mold exposure. This may not always be possible and you may need medications.
- Avoid contact with mold.
- Take medications for nasal or other allergic symptoms. Antihistamines and nasal steroids are available over the counter without a prescription. If you have allergic asthma, talk to your doctor about which medicines may be best for you. You might also be a candidate for allergy shots. Allergy shots may help reduce symptoms and medications. Learn more about allergy treatments.
Look for this mark to find products proven more suitable for people with asthma and allergies. Find CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly® products on our Certification program website.
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Who Is At Risk
Its commonly assumed that mould causes the health problems described above, though the evidence for this is generally weaker than for dampness itself. This may be related to the fact that scientists are still struggling to accurately measure indoor mould exposures.
The WHO estimates that in cold climates, 15% of dwellings have signs of dampness and 5% have signs of mould problems. In warm climates, the estimates are 20% for dampness and 25% for mould.
Since dampness is more likely to occur in houses that are overcrowded and lack appropriate heating, ventilation and insulation, the prevalence of damp indoor problems in low-income communities and rental accommodation can be substantially higher.
Climate change and its effects on the weather are likely to further increase the proportion of buildings with damp problems.
What Can Breathing In Mold Do To You
Mold can grow just about anywhere. It sounds like a nightmare to deal with and in a way it sort of is. If you are a homeowner, finding out that you have mold can be the last piece of news you want to hear. While it isnt as bad as say, termites, mold can still be destructive. What sets it apart, however, is the harm it can do to your health. Breathing in mold can have serious negative health consequences both short and long term.
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How Can Dampness And Mold Problems Be Fixed
- Identify and eliminate the water problem. The most critical step is to identify and eliminate the source of the water that is creating a damp environment. You may need technical assistance from a plumber or contractor to determine what needs to be fixed or changed.
- Determine the extent of the problem. EPA recommends calling for professional help to clean any mold growth that covers more than 10 square feet.3 If you are unable to determine the extent of the problem, contact a professional, who can help you protect your family.
- Remove, clean or discard affected materials. To get rid of mold, wash it off materials that can be effectively cleaned, such as hard surfaces. Use detergent and warm water. Dry the surface completely. If the materials cannot be cleaned or are too damaged to reuse, discard them. Porous materials, like ceiling tiles, likely cannot be cleaned thoroughly and must be discarded.3
- Protect occupants and workers during the cleanup process. At minimum, wear an N-95 mask , disposable gloves and goggles. Workplace cleanup requires that the N-95 mask be professionally fitted.3
If water build up was caused by sewage, floods or other contaminated water, call a professional.
For more information on guidelines for safely cleaning up mold, visit the EPA’s mold clean up site.
Institute of Medicine .Damp Indoor Spaces and Health. National Academies Press. Washington, DC. 2004.
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:
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How Does Mold In Lungs Cause Illness
Mold can cause respiratory illness in a number of ways.
First, it causes irritation to the delicate lining of the bronchi and the tiny bronchioles in the lungs. Inflammation and irritation of the bronchioles make it difficult to get enough air through, causing wheezing and labored breathing. Asthma attacks may occur. Infection of the bronchi, called bronchitis, can also result from mold in the air passages.
Second, microscopic particles of mold that are not expelled by coughing can lead to pneumonia when they become lodged in the lungs. Symptoms of pneumonia range from moderate to severe and include fever, shortness of breathing, coughing, and chest pain when you cough or breathe.
Third, since mold is a foreign substance in the body, it can trigger an immune response in the form of an allergic reaction. This can cause respiratory symptoms as well as an itchy rash or hives.
Finally, some types of mold produce toxic substances called mycotoxins, which may cause a wide range of health problems.
Some people are more susceptible to mold-related illness than others, including small children, elderly people, people with pre-existing respiratory disorders like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder , and people with weakened immune systems, like those with HIV/AIDS or those undergoing chemotherapy.