Can Mold In My Washer Make Me Sick
Yes. Just like any mold, mold in the washing machine can make you sick. Symptoms are dependent on what type of mold is growing, but a general set of symptoms accompany almost all mold types. Respiratory symptoms like coughing and sneezing, along with allergy-like symptoms of runny nose, itchy eyes, and more are common because of mold. If the strain of mold is more severe, dangerous lung infections or even death could occur. Finally, since mold in the washing machine can spread its spores into the fabric of your clothes, you may also notice itching or skin rashes from the exposure.
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.
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How Do I Know If My Cough Is From Mold
Coughing. Another one of the most immediate symptoms of a mold allergy is a dry and scratchy throat, prompting a nagging cough. In some cases, mold can cause heavier coughs as well. Mucus and histamine production can lead to persistent coughing as your body tries to clear the throat of mucus buildup.
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Symptoms Of Black Mold Exposure
Many types of indoor mold, not just black mold, can cause symptoms if you are sensitive to them or are exposed to them for a prolonged period of time. Symptoms of mold exposure include:
Symptoms of mold exposure may be worse in people who are most at risk, including:
- People with an allergy to mold
- People with a weakened immune system, who may develop infections
- Older people
Is Mold Behind Drywall Dangerous
Is mold behind drywall dangerous? Toxic black mold can release spores as it feeds on common household materials such as drywall, carpet, insulation, or sub-flooring that have been exposed to moisture. These spores, if ingested or inhaled, can cause a range of unpleasant and even dangerous symptoms in humans.
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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
Can Basement Mold Make You Ill
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences outlines the most common types of basement mold, several of which can cause illness. This includes alternaria a fast-growing brown-black mold that can cause serious infections and stachybotrys chartarum which is often referred to as toxic black mold and thrives on damp building materials such as wood and wallpaper. Somewhat rarer is aspergillus, a type of mold that can be highly damaging to people with weakened immune systems or lung problems, such as asthma.
According to the American Lung Foundation, anyone whether or not they are allergy suffers can experience eye, skin, nose, throat and lung irritation when exposed to airborne mold particles and symptoms can include:
- Worsening of asthma
- Sore throat
However, the impact of basement mold can reach far beyond these symptoms. Indoor Environment Health Consultant John McBride acknowledges that, of the many species of mold that might be present in a basement or somewhere else in the home, many are cytotoxic, neurotoxic and immunotoxic. This means they can cause cell damage and adversely affect the functioning of the nervous and immune systems.
Remember, if you are concerned that exposure to damp or mold is making you or someone else unwell, you should always seek professional advice.
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Toxic Mold Is The Only Cause Of Illness
This might seem confusing at first, but a major misconception about mold illness is that its only caused by toxic mold. Youre probably thinkingWell, why is it called mold illness? Am I right? Let me explain.
First, its important to understand that the fuzzy green, white, or black mold you see on food or growing in the attic usually doesnt make you sick. Mold is a type of fungus that may or may not produce toxic chemicals called mycotoxins. Mycotoxins can be found on mold as well as on mold spores and are harmful to humans. If youre exposed to mycotoxins through skin contact, inhalation, or ingestion, you might experience short-term symptoms or long-term illness.
Next, what is often diagnosed as mold illness or mycotoxicosis may be more accurately diagnosed as biotoxin illness or Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome . Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker, a physician and clinical researcher who was the first to uncover the connection between a specific group of symptoms and certain toxins called biotoxins, defined CIRS in the late 1990s.
CIRS is a multi-system, multi-symptom condition often caused by exposure to a dangerous mix of biotoxins, including but not limited to mycotoxins. Mold is often solely blamed because of its visible presence in water damaged buildings. This has led to the general label mold illness or mycotoxicosis, which is just one subcategory of biotoxin illness/CIRS.
What Are Black Molds
Black molds is actually an umbrella term for several mold species bearing a black or dark green color. One of the most common is the Stachybotrys chartarum. But as much as its dark, the mold color has nothing to do with how dangerous it can be.
As with any mold type, black molds like warm, moist, and dark environments. At home, this could easily be your basement, bathroom, kitchen, or hidden parts of your room. Molds also thrive on materials that absorb moisture like paper, wood, and even dirt.
Many homeowners have a firm belief that black molds have an adverse effect on a persons health. This is mainly due to the dark color, but its beyond what you see with the naked eye.
Black molds are dangerous because it produces mycotoxins. These toxins are substances fungi, like molds, produce. Mycotoxins are also the culprit behind mold poisoning.
Also, mycotoxins can go airborne. This will make it easy for a person to inhale it. The bigger the mold infestation is, the higher the mycotoxin levels will be.
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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.
Moisture Control Is The Key To Mold Control
Mold does not need a lot of water to grow. A little condensation, in a bathroom or around a window sill, for example, can be enough. Common sites for indoor mold growth include:
- Bathroom tile and grout
- Plant material
In most cases, temperature is not an issue some molds grow in warm areas, while others prefer cool locations such as bread stored in a refrigerator. Often, more than one type of mold can be found growing in the same area, although conditions such as moisture, light and temperature may favor one species of mold over another.
Buildings that have been heavily damaged by flood waters should be assessed for structural integrity and remediated by experienced professionals. Please note that the guidelines covered in this course were developed for damage caused by clean water .
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How To Prevent Mold Exposure
Denying them a place to grow is an important step in preventing mold. And for that, you need to control the moisture inside your home. You should make sure that your home and the workplace is free of visible mold growth or strong moldy odor. Here are a few tips for that.18
- Use an air conditioner or dehumidifier to keep the humidity level low.
- Make sure that your floor and wall are dry after flooding.
- Fix water problems such as roof leaks and plumbing leaks.
- Provide enough ventilation for your house.
- Use mold-killing products while cleaning bathrooms.
- If absorbent materials like carpet become moldy, they should be removed.
- Cleaning frequently keeps mold to a minimum.
- Do not paint moldy surfaces without cleaning up the mold and drying the surface.19
Cleaning up the mold in your home is the first thing you should do. These are a few ways to do it:
- Remove mold growth from hard surfaces using soap and water.
- You can also use a bleach solution.
- Take less than 1 cup of household laundry bleach in 1 gallon of water to remove the mold. Remember, never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners as it produces toxic fumes.20
- Make sure that the windows and doors are open while you use bleach.
- Also, wear protective gloves and eye mask.
If you are worried about mold exposure from your workplace and the symptoms associated with it, you should consult an occupational health clinic.
The Different Black Mold Tests
The first thing to do is verify that you have black mold. Symptoms of mold exposure are almost identical to other fatigue issues, like Lyme disease and chronic fatigue syndrome. And because mold can grow behind walls as a result of burst pipes or water damage, its often hard to pinpoint where mold is in your home.
If you can see black mold in the caulking around your bathtub or below your kitchen sink, for example and you have no reason to suspect its elsewhere in your house, you may be okay skipping a formal test. Otherwise, you have a few different options when it comes to testing for mold in your home:
- Mold culture test. This test includes a petri dish with a swab. You expose the petri dish to either the air or, through the swab, a specific area in your home, and then you cover it and let it sit for 48 hours. If you get lots of growth in the petri dish , you have a mold problem. If you get little to no growth, youre okay. Mold culture tests are fast and cheap . A mold culture test is a good option if you suspect mold in your workplace or school. The downside is that the test wont tell you where mold is only if mold is present. Heres a good mold culture test.
- ERMI test. Environmental relative moldiness index testing will tell you with much more specificity what mold is in your home and how big of a problem it is. ERMI tests will run you $200-$300.
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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:
What Are The Symptoms Of Black Mold Exposure
If you find black mold on your property, theres no need to panic. But black mold presents more health risks to sensitive groups like those with respiratory conditions or immune conditions.
According to the Centers for Disease Control , black mold spores can generate cold- or flu-like symptoms such as:
- Stuffy nose
- Shortness of breath
So while black mold probably wont kill you, it can make you feel sick and should be removed as soon as possible.
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What Should You Do While Waiting For A Mold Remediation Expert
If youre not experienced in dealing with widespread mold, you may need professional mold remediation. If you arent sure what to look for, how to safely handle the issue or how to properly dispose of things contaminated with mold, consider contacting MoldRemediation.io to connect you with a certified, bonded and insured mold remediation company in your area.
With that said, there are steps you can take to limit mold exposure to yourself and anyone else in your home.
- Seal off the area. You want to minimize the surface area that mold can spread to. Try to keep the interior doors to the mold-affected areas closed and open them as infrequently as possible. Consider keeping the space under the doors blocked by foam insulation or plastic.
- Use a fan. Not only can fans help circulate the air and disperse any free-floating mold spores, but they can also help dry any moisture in the area and make it harder for mold to grow. If youre using a fan, make sure the windows are open and that the fan is blowing toward the windows and out of the house. You dont want to redirect the mold back into your home!
- Wear a mask. Any time you need to be in an area affected by black mold, try to wear some sort of face covering to filter the mold spores and keep them out of your lungs. While surgical masks or respirators are ideal in these cases, something as simple as a dry T-shirt can make it easier for you to breathe in the afflicted area.
Navigating All Of The Confusing And Concerning Information About Black Mold Is Hard But Were Here To Tell You The Truth
Many of us have heard of the dangers of toxic black mold and may worry about black mold poisoning, but the truth is that black mold is a much more manageable problem than you might expect.
Few topics get us more upset than seeing misinformation publicized about toxic black mold, and mold in general, by unscrupulous companies and zealous media articles that seem more interested in sensationalism than fact-based reporting.
When you understand what youre dealing with, you can make informed choices to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy. Were here to cut through the mess and help you understand what having black mold in your home may mean, and give you some tips on how to fix the problem yourself and save big money in the process.
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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