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.
What Is The Difference Between Black Mold And Regular Mold
The only two things you know for sure when you see black mold is you have mold and that it is black in color. Thats all. Scientifically, there is no mold genera or species that is called black mold or toxic black mold. Of the million-plus species of mold, about 20,000 species are indeed black.
Can I Just Get Into The Wall And Use Bleach To Clean It
It may be tempting to get into the wall and spray everything with bleach by yourself. However, if you have never done this before, it is better to call someone licensed to deal with mold. This is especially true if you have never gone into the wall and dont know how to detect how extensive the mold damage is. Leaving the eradication of mold to professionals will save not only your health but also your sanity. A professional team will have all the protective gear, detection tools and methods necessary to get rid of all the mold in your home.
Don’t Miss: Is Mold Really That Bad
How Do You Treat Mold Toxicity Symptoms
Right now, youll see a lot of experts recommending handfuls of supplements and strict diets but the reality is, we just dont know for sure if these are the right treatment approach, says McElroy. Instead, she recommends the steps below. You might be surprised to see that killing the mold is only one out of five. Thats no coincidence! As McElroy explains, I often dont focus on killing mold since most symptoms are due to the immune response, not the mold itself. Instead, she starts with simple lifestyle steps and utilizes non-pill practices to achieve a state of better immune health, including:
Your Eyes Are Watery And Stinging
People can have allergic reactions to mold, explains Purvi Parikh, MD, an allergist/immunologist with Allergy & Asthma Network. The symptoms can include itchy and watery eyes, coughing, and nasal congestion. If you suspect mold is triggering these symptoms, the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology suggests you track your reactions for two weeks to see if they kick in when youre in certain rooms or spaces within your house. You can also visit an allergist for a blood or skin test to confirm the allergy.
Don’t Miss: How To Properly Remove Black Mold
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.
Condensation And Persistent Moisture
Whether there is excess moisture on your windows, or condensation dripping from your pipes, a damp home is an ideal breeding ground for mold, and can be an indicator that mold is already present in your home. The best dehumidifiers serve as a good solution to reduce excess moisture as they will set the humidity in your home to the level you indicate on the dehumidifier. They aren’t a permanent solution, however, and you should consider getting your windows swapped for double-glazed panes, or having them re-sealed by a professional.
If you’re finding moisture on pipes, a plumber can help diagnose the problem here. In some instances, putting insulation around pipes can prevent moisture build-up, and in others you can consider running warm-water pipes away from cold ones, to avoid excess moisture build-up.
Don’t Miss: How Much Black Mold Exposure Is Harmful
Only People With Weakened Immune Systems Can Get Sick From Water Damaged Buildings
Incorrect. While exposure to toxic mold may cause acute illness in those with preexisting conditions that weaken the immune system, almost anyone can get sick from long-term exposure to biotoxins. If no genetic susceptibility exists and the person is removed from exposure, symptoms should eventually resolve.
Case studies looking at teachers who saw the reversal of symptoms after leaving water damaged school buildings each year for summer vacation show how the body is able to eliminate toxins after its no longer repeatedly exposed. Avoiding the affected environment allowed their bodies to catch up and eliminate the toxic load from their systems.;;
This is not true for people who are genetically susceptible, as their immune systems are unable to recognize and remove biotoxins from the body. The biotoxins are unchecked, free to recirculate practically forever, causing system-wide inflammation. Many times, the inflammation caused by CIRS is misdiagnosed as:
Toxic Mold Syndrome Diagnosis
To make a toxic mold syndrome diagnosis,;there is no way to actually measure mycotoxins in the blood but there is a test for mold toxins in the urine which is called the urine mycotoxin test and there are blood tests that test different blood parameters that suggest mold toxicity.This blood test is offered as a panel at Life Extension called the Biotoxin Mold Illness Panel. There is also an eye exam; that can indicate mold exposure called the Visual Contrast Sensitivity Test. These are the main tests to help make a toxic mold syndrome diagnosis.
In addition, there is a genetic test called HLA DR Mold genetic test which is a blood test that will determine if you have a genotype that is prone to being sensitive to mold. There is also a blood test to test for allergies to molds which is called the Allergen Profile Mold test and it will tell you if you also have an allergy to mold in addition to mold toxicity.
SUMMARY OF TOXIC MOLD SYNDROME DIAGNOSTIC TESTS
BIOTOXIN MOLD ILLNESS PANEL
HLA DR MOLD GENETIC TESTING
ALLERGEN PROFILE MOLD BLOOD TEST
PAGE DOWN TO READ MORE ABOUT EACH TEST
You May Like: How To Clean Mold Off Plastic Cutting Board
What To Do After Toxic Black Mold Exposure
If you get the bad news that you have black mold in your home, dont panic! While its not the answer anyone wants, the best thing to do is to get the situation handled by a mold remediation professional.
While hiring a professional is certainly more expensive than DIY mold removal, you dont want to skimp on this. Having a professional remediate your mold is important because all porous materials need to be removed from the area and properly disposed of. If not, youll have another mold problem before long.
Experienced remediators should handle mold infestations and mold removal. Not all certifications and training are equal. Hire remediators with an IICRC certification.
Professionals should wear sufficient protective equipment and isolate the contaminated area. If someone shows up in a paper mask with a bottle of bleach, those are big red flags!
Mold In The Basement: Identifying And Treating It
Homes that have basements often have mold. Due to basements’ proximity to groundwater, water can wick up through concrete floors and continue wicking up through floor sleepers and wall studs. Homes without a robust water diversion system may accumulate water in the soil that can crack the foundation, which results in water leakage.
Identifying and treating basement mold is a multi-stage process. You must find the mold, then test it to make sure of what you’re dealing with. You’ll remove structural elements to permit access to the mold, as needed, and go through the process of killing the mold. Then you’ll mechanically remove or encapsulate the dead mold spores, depending upon which is best for your situation. Finally, you’ll turn your attention to fixing the problem that allowed the mold to grow in the first place.
Don’t Miss: How To Clean Mold Around Air Vents
Mold Cleaners: Do They Work
Most mold cleaners sold in stores only bleach the mold so that its no longer visible. But the mold roots are still there and spreading underneath the surface. This is why its important to follow this advice when it comes to mold in your home:
- Do NOT try to clean a mold infestation yourself! This will spread the spores and further contaminate the area. At best, messing with mold can give someone some sinus issues.
- Do NOT use bleach to clean mold. Even though this advice is rampant on the internet, bleach wont kill mold, and the moisture can feed mold growth on porous surfaces. The Environmental Protection Agency does not recommend bleach for mold.
- Sanitizing cleaners that will remediate mold from personal, non-porous items include Moldex and other EPA-approved products. For those sensitive to chemicals or strong fumes, tea tree oil also works.
- Unfortunately, if youve had mold in your home, you may have to throw away certain porous items that have been contaminated. Paper, leather, and plastics cant be properly sanitized after mold exposure and could continue to spread it.
If non-porous items have been in contact with mold, be sure to use a cleaner that will destroy the mold and mycotoxins, under professional advice.
How To Tackle Mold
Now that weve covered how to identify mold, lets talk about what you can do to get a handle on the situation.
The first thing that you need to do is get specific when it comes to where exactly the mold is coming from. In some cases, it could be sourced all the way back to a leak in your homes foundation.
In other cases, the source of the leak could be something as unexpected as condensation thats created by a small appliance.
Also Check: How To Get Rid Of Mold In Car Air Conditioner
Your Attic Insulation Is Lumpy
Wave off the spider webs and take a closer look at the insulation in your attic. Attic insulation that is very lumpy and uneven-looking may mean a bigger problem, says John Bodrozic, Co-Founder of HomeZada. The insulation could be in bad shape due to unforeseen roof leaks, which could also mean potential mold issues. If your attic has poor circulation or improper ventilation, it could create ideal conditions for mold growth.
A Single Exposure To Mold Only Causes A Single Reaction
The reality isfor genetically-susceptible people, a single exposure can cause a life-long problem. If you have the wrong HLA gene type, your body simply cannot target and remove biotoxins. A single exposure could cause an indefinite recirculation of these toxins, provoking chronic inflammation from a continuously triggered immune system.;
If this is you, even after avoiding exposure for days, weeks, months, years, or even decades, you could suffer from CIRS. Thankfully, recovery is not only possible, its probable. Dr. Shoemaker had developed and applied a systematic protocol, The Shoemaker Protocol, to remove biotoxins from the body and re-regulate the immune response to stop inflammation and reverse chronic symptoms.;
It begins with removal from exposure. Exposure must be carefully monitored throughout the entire protocol. If there is a new biotoxin exposure from a water damaged building or other source, you must begin the entire protocol from the start. In many cases, re-exposure causes CIRS patients to get sick more quickly. The sicker quicker phenomenon is backed by evidence showing an increase in certain biomarkers in as little as four hours after re-exposure.;
Many CIRS patients are highly sensitive to mold and other biotoxins. The smallest exposure can trigger inflammation and feelings of anxiety, agitation, and danger. Its best to trust your bodys reaction and leave a potentially contaminated building immediately.;
Also Check: How To Kill Mold In Washing Machine
More Identification Problems: Mold Testing
Mold testing is hugely controversial. Since mold is always present, air-based mold testing is extremely unreliable. Plus, airborne mold levels fluctuate throughout the day, so multiple, long-term testing is the only way to determine if your mold content is increasing and represents a mold problem. On the other hand, if someone in your home has a known allergy to mold, you might want to invest in a mold testing kit so you can verifiably know as soon as mold levels begin to rise out of acceptable ranges for that household member.
How Are Mold Allergies And Exposure Diagnosed
There are no proven tests that show when or where you may have been exposed to mold. However, your doctor may check for mold allergies by reviewing your symptoms and performing one of the following tests:
- Blood test. Your doctor takes a blood sample and then sends it to a laboratory to measure the number of certain antibodies, which can indicate your immune systems sensitivity to different mold species.
- Skin prick test. Your doctor takes small amounts of mold and applies it to your skin using a tiny needle. Your skin will break out in bumps, a rash, or hives if youre allergic to that type of mold.
Recommended Reading: Is Mold Harmful To Your Health
Youre Coughing But Dont Have A Cold
The mycotoxin spores can find their way into your lungs and lead to a chronic, lingering cough. Your next step should be a call to an allergist. Testing by a board-certified allergist is most helpful, advises Dr. Parikh. There is a lot of mold testing out there that is not evidence-based. If you get a positive test for mold, the next step is to hire a mold eradication expert and address the problem.
Do I Need Professional Testing
In short, usually not!; Because, remember the saying:; no mold, no matter what color, belongs in a healthy home.; And that is good news because a professional mold inspection with testing can run anywhere from $300-$750. In most cases where mold is clearly visible, knowing exactly what type of mold you have is unnecessary. We advise most of our clients to forgo the inspection process and just apply that money saved to the cost of fixing the problem. The EPA agrees that mold testing isnt necessary in most cases.
There are exceptions, however, such as when a mold inspection with testing is required as part of a real estate sale or if you require proof that a mold problem is present, such as for a legal dispute.; If you think you may have a mold problem, but arent sure, then we recommend formal testing from a professional.; And if you require clearance testing to verify an all clear after a mold problem is fixed, then professional mold testing is necessary.
Don’t Miss: How To Remove Mold Under Carpet
Warning Signs You Have A Mold Problem
- Date: 05-2017
Molds are types of fungi that may grow indoors or outdoors, usually in damp, warm, and humid environments. The most common types of household molds might be found around bathrooms, basements, drywall, ceiling tiles, carpet, wallpaper, under sinks, and around plumbing pipes.
Mold in the home can pose serious health risks, but unfortunately many dont realize they have a mold problem because they dont know what to look for. Here you will read a little about mold warning signs, first as it relates to your health, and secondly as it relates to the structure and history of your home.
Mold Warning Signs: Allergies and Other Health Issues
When someone has mold in their home, they usually show allergy-related symptoms. If youre not sure whether your allergy-like symptoms are caused by mold in your home, then consider this question: do your symptoms get better once you go outdoors or leave your home? If so, then there is good chance that mold is the culprit.
Symptoms of mold allergies include:
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Irritated, itchy skin
Some forms of household mold are toxic, causing serious, life-threatening illness. These highly-dangerous molds might cause symptoms such as bleeding, internal organ damage, mental impairment, cancer, and even death.
Mold Warning Signs in Your Home
Black Mold Symptoms And Health Effects
Learn about black mold symptoms and health effects so that you can identify indicators of black mold exposure and black mold poisoning.
A mold infested room of an old building.
Mold in homes can be a costly and dangerous problem, particularly when infestations of toxic black mold occur. The symptoms and health effects of black mold exposure and black mold poisoning cover a wide range of health problems, but understanding the indicators can help keep you and your family safe.
Toxic black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum, as it’s known to scientists, can release spores as it feeds on organic materials in common household materials like 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.
Don’t Miss: How To Clean Mold From Boat Seats
Getting A Mold Checkup
Getting rid of the mold in your home is your first priority. Since CDC guidelines don’t distinguish between different types of mold and recommend the prompt removal of all mold in your home, testing beforehand isn’t a priority if you’ve already decided you have a problem. Testing can be useful when you want to make sure your property is free of mold after a cleanup, though.
There are a couple of ways you can arrange for a test. You can purchase an in-home test kit, follow the directions and submit the resulting sample to a lab. The costs for this can vary quite a bit, anywhere from $40 to more than $200, and the results might not be reliable. Consumer Reports conducted an evaluation of home mold testing kits in 2006, and none of the four kits they looked at received a recommendation. The problems ranged from the kits having no expiration dates, potentially compromising the results, to being difficult to use .
There is a third choice. After a cleanup, you can make periodic, careful evaluations of the infected area yourself and monitor your family’s health to see if the problem recurs. The time and effort you take with the clean-up and the extent of the mold damage may have an impact on how comfortable you feel with this option. If a foul smell alerted you to a mold problem in the first place, using your nose to check the area periodically might be a good way to gauge the success of your cleanup efforts.