How Do Molds Affect People
Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects, or none at all. Some people are sensitive to molds. For these people, exposure to molds can lead to symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes, or skin. Some people, such as those with allergies to molds or with asthma, may have more intense reactions. Severe reactions may occur among workers exposed to large amounts of molds in occupational settings, such as farmers working around moldy hay. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath.
In 2004 the Institute of Medicine found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people with asthma symptoms in people with asthma and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition.
In 2009, the World Health Organization issued additional guidance, the WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mould pdf iconexternal icon pdf icon. Other recent studies have suggested a potential link of early mold exposure to development of asthma in some children, particularly among children who may be genetically susceptible to asthma development, and that selected interventions that improve housing conditions can reduce morbidity from asthma and respiratory allergies.
What Is Mold And What Causes Mold In Your Home
Mold is, by broad definition, a type of fungus that sprouts from microscopic spores floating in the air. When clusters of mold spores grow on surfaces, they start to reproduce and become visible to the human eye. If you have mold allergies, asthma, or another lung condition, even breathing in the microscopic pores can trigger an attack. If you dont, you may not even be aware that there is mold in your home until you see it or smell it .
All homes have the key ingredients needed for mold growth: the presence of mold spores, a surface for it to grow on, oxygen, warmth, and darkness. When you add moisture, whether from a water leak, stagnant water, or high levels of humidity, into the mix, thats where mold problems begin. Knowing where mold is commonly found in homes can help you prevent and treat it so you can keep your home and body healthy.
When Should You Consider A Mold Inspection
If you notice a musty smell in your home but cant find any visual evidence and you or a member of your family has persistent symptoms, you need to hire someone to inspect your home for mold. Or if you need help locating the source of the water thats causing the mold. If you are buying or selling your home you need to have a mold inspection and if you need a formal plan to remove the mold and repair the damage.
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Condensation Around The Windows
Mold is often found near windows. It may not be a lot of mold but even a small amount of mold can damage paint and cause health problems.
Mold is less likely to occur on newer windows. Condensation is common on old, single pane windows but rarely on dual pane windows.
Also, make sure the window is set correctly so air isnt entering the house through the sides of the window.
Cleaning Up Small And Medium Mould Problems
Bleach is not necessary to clean up mould.
You can clean up small areas of mould if you follow the proper procedures and use the right protective equipment. Unless the mould growth is on smooth surfaces such as bathroom tiles, surface cleaning will not eliminate the problem.
In most cases you can clean up medium areas of mould if you follow the proper procedures and use the right protective equipment. Materials damaged by mould must be physically removed and disposed of under safe conditions. However, it is important to seek professional assistance if there is a large mould problem or if mould comes back after cleaning.
Susceptible individuals such as pregnant women, infants, children, the elderly, and occupants with asthma, allergies or other health problems should not be in or near the area where the mould is being cleaned up.
Minimum protective gear needed:
- a disposable N95 mask and
- household disposable gloves.
You can purchase an N95 mask from a hardware store. Make sure that the label says “N95”. Other masks are designed to provide limited protection against dust and are not suitable for protecting against mould exposure. Make sure that the mask is properly fitted and you can breathe through the mask.
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Determine If There Is A Smell
Another way that you can identity black mold is by the smell. This will be harder for those that dont have a trained nose. However, most mold smells the same. You should be paying attention to the smell of certain areas of your home. If there is a musty or mildew smell, theres a good chance that you have mold somewhere in your home.
You should follow these smells as best that you can, and then use visual and texture clues to determine if the mold is indeed black mold.
How To Kill Mold In Your Rv
Always kill mold immediately after discovering it. Remember that it can be extremely toxic. Therefore, you may need to seek expert help if the infestation is widespread. Always protect yourself by wearing gloves, a mask, and long-sleeve clothes, even with smaller areas.
For external molds, such as that on your roof or awning, use store-brand spray. Consult with your local RV dealer or hardware store to find the right product for you. Also, keep in mind that regular washes and treatments to your RV roof are the best defense against mold.
Conversely, you can treat the internal mold using various techniques. It is especially necessary to wear a mask inside the RV to avoid inhalation of mold spores and chemicals. Open your windows and doors, as well, to promote ventilation.
Natural remedies that get rid of mold are less harsh and work well on interior mold. Pour into a spray bottle, douse the affected area, and start scrubbing. With that, here are the best homemade mold killers:
For tougher to remove mold, bleach or ammonia are secondary options. Please note that you should never mix these two, as the combination produces a deadly, toxic gas. Either way, these chemicals need to be diluted with water , as they are quite harsh on their own. Only use bleach or ammonia on hard, non-porous surfaces. Do not use these chemicals on fabric and carpets, as they will cause stains.
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Products And Tools Youll Need To Test For Mold In Your Home
The only thing you need to test for mold at home is a test kit. In addition to the ones previously mentioned, there are several options available:
- Pro-Lab Mold Test Kit: This kit includes three tests. Your sample can be tested for an additional $40 fee, with results delivered by e-mail or via the companys app.
- MoldCheck Multi-Test Kit: This kit includes supplies to perform ten tests, which is great for an entire home or monitoring an ongoing infestation. However, there is no lab testing option, so you will need to find your own if you need identification.
- ImmunoLytics Mold Screening Test Kit: Perform eight tests with this kit. Each plate can be tested for $33 each.
- My Mold Detective: If you are looking for a more advanced mold monitoring option, the My Mold Detective is a reusable air sampling pump that collects samples in just five minutes. The device comes with four sampling cassettes that can be tested in a lab for $35 each.
- My Mold Detective Additional Samples: The My Mold Detective can be used again and again, so order as many samples as you need to keep tabs on your mold problem.
Extent Of Mould Growth
It is important to determine the extent of the mould problem in your home to help you decide on the clean-up procedure. An area of mould is considered small if it covers one square metre or less. There should be no more than three patches of mould, with the total area staying within one square metre. Many small patches of mould in one area or throughout your home are a sign of moisture problems that need to be investigated and corrected right away.
If ignored, small mould areas may become larger over time, so it is important to clean them up before the problem gets bigger. A small amount of mould may be cleaned up using proper procedures and protective equipment.
The area of mould is considered medium if there are more than three patches of mould , but the total area is less than three square metres. In this case, assessment by a qualified professional is recommended but in most cases a medium amount of mould may be cleaned up using proper procedures and protective equipment .
An area of mould is considered large if a single patch of mould is larger than three square metres. Health Canada does not recommend that an unqualified person clean up large areas of mould. You may need a professional assessment to determine why the mould is there in the first place and how to clean it up.
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And If You Weed Is Moldy
Mold will appear at any stage in your plants growth. So, larger crops present a bigger challenge. If mold appears on one plant, you should remove it immediately. It cant really be corrected. Composting it or burying it only spreads the contamination. Burning may be the option. But, moving it and transporting it also too actively only distributes the spores.
Mold targets plants in the two weeks before and after harvest. The more leaves and buds your plant produces, the more targets they provide for mold growth. So, daily inspection is necessary.
Mold can be controlled if not readily eliminated. Professional growers can vary soils, environments, and methods to correct threats to their crops. Personal use growers can stay on top of a few plants if they pay attention.
But, you cannot underestimate the risk to your crop or health by letting things go. These risks are yet another reason to trust you licensed dispensary more than your local dealer.
Keep It Clean And Dry
It never hurts to clean regularly. Make sure humid areas and rooms with plumbing get regular spot checks. Add mold and mildew removal products to your cleaning routine, especially for the bathroom and kitchen.
Mold thrives on moisture, so use dehumidifiers in humid areas of your home like bathrooms, basements, or closets.
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Visual Indicators Of Mold Growth
Seeing mold is obviously a sign that you indeed have mold. Greenish black areas, slimy textures residue left by stachybotrys chartarum and even simple mildew are all signs that a mold inspection needs to be scheduled. However, what most people dont realize is that smaller mold spores may look like ordinary dirt or soot, but it could actually be mold in disguise. And so, people ignore it.
If you visibly see mold growing, no matter how small, immediately take action. If common molds can grow somewhere so can black mold and toxic molds like that are slowly poisoning many across the country who dont realize how important it is to remove mold. Whenever you find mold make sure either you, the homeowner, or your landlord, if you rent, remove it immediately because all mold species can present a major problem if theres no remediation. Even seemingly insignificant mold patches can quickly spread.
The fact that you have mold means you have the right conditions for it to grow and proliferate to several other areas of your home.Sometimes mold is unusual looking and doesnt look like classic mold. In fact, some mold can appear whitish and thread-like, while other kinds of mold look like tiny clusters of black spots. Mold can appear in various colors including black, white, gray-green, or grayish-brown. Sometimes the mold that grows behind vinyl wallpaper can look pinkish-purple or even orange.
Is It Safe To Sleep In A House With Mold
Because of the risks that come with mold exposure, it can be unsafe to sleep in a house with mold, particularly in the affected areas because you put yourself at risk of mold allergies. This becomes especially concerning if you are sensitive to the mold. When mold grows indoors, it can often be found in the bathroom.
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Find Mold Before It Becomes A Major Mold Problem
Mold is dangerous. It reproduces quickly, and once mold spores get into the air, they can be difficult to remove. Knowing this makes it quite disheartening when a homeowner finds a mold problem in the home they live in.
Discovering that you have mold within your home can cause you to feel a strange gamut of emotions. You might initially feel disgusted, frustrated or you may even feel a sense of being overwhelmed. Placing your home up for sale might be the first thing that pops into your mind, but that should be a last resort. Having a mold problem does not mean that you cannot get your house back.
However, it does mean that you must take immediate action. Many people actually live in a home with mold and never realize it is there. They ignore the warning signs until the problem reaches a point where the mold is taking over and affecting their health.
If you can find mold BEFORE it becomes a major problem, the remediation process will be substantially cheaper and easier to complete. There are warning signs that can alert homeowners to a potential problem. If you notice any of these warning signs, take the necessary actions to inspect and remediate.
How To Tell If There Is Mold In Your Basement
There are a lot of things lurking in your basement. Aside from snakes, the worst thing you can have is toxic mold. Any type of mold, in fact is undesirable. You can initially sense its presence in your basement if there are musty odors around your house. Basement mold is usually hidden away in a crack or corner, but the smell is a great determining factor of its presence.
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A Known Moisture Source
If your house recently flooded, your roof recently developed a leak or you know you have a source of water ingress into your home, then you know you have a potential for a future mold problem. Even if you arent sure what the source of moisture is, once you discover that you have moisture, you should take this as a warning sign of a future potential mold problem. Identifying and fixing the moisture source is key to preventing or stopping the growth of mold in your home.
Your Bathroom Exhaust Fan Is On The Fritz
Mold is a particularly common problem in bathrooms with inadequate ventilation, says Yoel Piotraut, a managing partner at MyHome Design + Remodeling. A bathroom exhaust fan is an essential tool to keep toxic mold at baybut it wont work if its clogged or not running well. In fact, if its still steamy five to ten minutes after you get out of the shower, your fan isnt circulating enough air. It may need to be cleaned or replaced with a unit that meets the square footage of your bathroom. Piotraut also suggests cleaning the walls regularly with a bleach solution or other mold-killing product. These are the household items you use that could be poisoning your air.
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Moisture: Investigating And Solving Problems
Mould will grow indoors if moisture is present. Moisture problems in homes may result from:
- daily activities such as showering or bathing, washing clothes or cooking, if exhaust fans are not working properly or are not used
- infiltration of water from the outside when there are cracks or leaks in the foundation, floor, walls or roof
- plumbing leaks
- moisture condensation on cold surfaces
- flooding due to weather conditions
- inadequate ventilation.
Moisture indoors accumulates when it cannot be vented outside and becomes a problem when building materials become damp or wet.
Moisture problems are preventable.
Unless the cause of the moisture problem has been identified and solved, mould will reappear. Once the moisture problem and its causes have been identified, they must be fixed. To prevent future problems, measures should be put in place to control sources of moisture in your home, for example:
- Ensure rain, irrigation water and snowmelt drain away from the house by sloping the grade away from the building.
- Keep eavestroughs and downspouts clean of debris and ensure that the outflow runs away from the house and not into neighbouring foundations.
- Repair plumbing leaks promptly.
- Use exhaust fans, ventilation and air conditioning systems to vent moisture outdoors.
- Use moisture tolerant materials in areas likely to get wet .
Run a dehumidifier in damp areas such as basements or if you observe that moisture is condensing on cold surfaces such as window panes.
Mold Poisoning Symptoms In Humans
Mold poisoning can cause a number of different symptoms, depending on the age of the affected individual, the strength of their immune system, and whether or not they have a pre-existing mold allergy. Here are a few of the most common signs and symptoms of mold poisoning in humans.
- A stuffy or runny nose
- Sinus issues or infections
- Worsening or development of asthma
- Wheezing or difficulty breathing
- Skin itchiness, redness, or discomfort
- Fever and shortness of breath
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