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.
Effects Of Black Mold
The effects of black mold can be harmful for you and your family, and there are many health problems caused by black mold. The health impact can vary depending on the severity of the mold growth as well as each persons sensitivity to mold. Sometimes mold will begin growing in an unnoticeable place within your home, resulting in a gradual increase of symptoms and other serious health problems as the mold spreads.
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.
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What Causes Nasal Congestion
Eye Nose Throat And Skin Inflammation
A questionnaire study was performed with 36,541 randomized parents. It found that moldy homes were associated with inflammation in the eyes, nose, throat, and skin .
A study was done measuring reported symptoms and indoor air quality by teachers in New York State .
Reported mold or mold odors were associated with a 70% increase in reporting one of the following symptoms :
- Sinus problems
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A Rainy Summer In Syracuse Exposed A Growing Problem: Black Mold
Black mold grows in a closet at the home of Tim Starkey in Syracuse.
Tim and Joanne Starkey have been packing up 25 years worth of valuables inside their home on Mud Mill Road. Boxes are piled up in their master bedroom alongside an unused bed, an empty closet and nearly shut curtains with a sliver of light beaming through the dark room. Hiding in the darkness lives mold. Everywhere.
Tim noticed mold growing within the corners of their home this summer. They first saw it on their living room ceiling, then their closets, the cracks in the window frame, the walls of the shower, and now the nightstand that once held Joannes bible collection and a picture of her mother who died when she was three years old.
The mold has become so prominent in the bedrooms that they wear their masks inside and sleep in the living room.
Were sick. Cant breathe, cant sleep, and got headaches like crazy, Tim said.
The Starkeys are not the only victims of the mold. Brianna Taggart moved out of her apartment on Ostrom Street after she found black mold crawling up the wall of her closet in early September.
The very first thing I noticed was the smell, she said. It just smelled stale. Like Tim, Taggart was surprised she had not seen mold before this summer. What changed, say weather experts, was the amount of rainfall this year in Syracuse.
Josh Mattingly, the owner operator of Green Home Solutions, said his company received an overwhelming number of mold inspection requests this summer.
How Can I Prevent An Allergic Reaction To Mold
There is no cure for allergies. But you can reduce your allergy symptoms by avoiding contact with the mold spores. Several measures will help:
Reduce Your Exposure to Mold Spores Outside
- Limit your outdoor activities when mold counts are high. This will lessen the amount of mold spores you inhale and your symptoms.
- Wear a dust mask when cutting grass, digging around plants, picking up leaves and disturbing other plant materials.
Reduce Your Exposure to Mold Spores Inside
- Use central air conditioning with a CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly® filter attachment. This can help trap mold spores from your entire home. Freestanding air cleaners only filter air in a limited area. Avoid devices that treat air with heat, electrostatic ions or ozone.
- Lower your indoor humidity. No air cleaners will help if excess moisture remains. If indoor humidity is above 50%, fungi will thrive. A hygrometer is a tool used to measure humidity. The goal is to keep humidity below 45%, but below 35% is better. If you have to use a humidifier, clean the fluid reservoir at least twice a week to prevent mold growth. Air conditioners and dehumidifiers can also be a source of mold.
- Prevent mold and mildew build up inside the home. Pay close attention to mold in bathrooms, basements and laundry areas. Be aggressive about reducing dampness.
To Reduce Mold in Your Bathrooms:
To Reduce Mold in Your Kitchen:
To Reduce Mold in Your Laundry Area:
To Reduce Mold in Your Bedrooms:
To Reduce Mold in Your Basement:
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Is Everyone Vulnerable To Mold Exposure
Sometimes inhaling or touching mold or mildew may have hazardous health effects. But, everyone may not be adversely affected by molds. People who have other allergies or existing respiratory conditions such as asthma, sinusitis, or other lung diseases are more susceptible to the effects of mold exposure. Also, those with an impaired or weakened immune system will have severe reactions to molds.2 Pregnancy, autoimmune disease, AIDS, or diabetes are medical conditions that can weaken your immune system. Infants, small children, and elderly people are also vulnerable to mold contamination.3
How Can You Be Exposed To Black Mold
You can be exposed to black mold, or any species of mold, by breathing in microscopic mold particles in the air, or through consumption of food that contains it.
Stachybotrys is unique because its spores are sticky and easily adhere to a surface when the mold colony dries. They are not regularly found in the air unless the mold colony has been disturbed. Though its spores are not readily airborne, black mold can produce other harmful contaminants more easily found in the air .
A disruption to a black mold colony can be as simple as slamming a door, opening a window or knocking into contaminated furniture. More force is required for Stachybotrys spores to become airborne, as compared to other commonly found indoor molds .
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How Is Mold Poisoning Treated
The effects of mold poisoning can be tricky to treat. Traditional treatments like antifungals do not work because in cases of fungal toxicity there is no actual fungal infection present within the body. Instead, its a matter of treating the effects while assisting your body to clear out the harmful toxins on its own.
The first and foremost step in treating fungal toxicity is to remove yourself from the harmful environment. Since mold poisoning is your immune systems response to being exposed to the mycotoxins produced by black mold, the sooner you limit your contact, the better. This step will prevent your condition from worsening while you seek other forms of treatments in addition to preventing your symptoms from returning in the future.
The following medications can help you manage your respiratory-related symptoms:
- Nasal spray
- Allergy shots
Your body can also benefit from treatments that boost the immune system which will help your body to naturally filter out toxins more quickly and effectively. Be sure to consult with your doctor to put together a treatment plan that works best for you.
- Probiotics and antioxidants
- Limiting exposure to other toxins like pesticides and heavy metals
- Use of binding agents like charcoal and clay to prevent the toxins from re-circulating throughout the body
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 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
What About Tiny Mold Toxins Aka Mycotoxins
As mentioned above, though the Stachybotrys spores may be sticky and not easily airborne, there are other airborne contaminants to worry about: tiny fragments of mold and special toxins called mycotoxins. These contaminants may cause illness in those who are exposed, with mycotoxins being the most concerning.
You can think about mycotoxins as the molds defense: they are used for protection from environmental threats. Mycotoxins are minute organic compounds as small as 0.03 microns. These tiny molecules can stick to particles already floating through the air. Studies have found Stachybotrys mycotoxins on mold fragments that have broken off from a mold colony after it has been disturbed . This can be harmfulairborne particles less than 1.0 microns are easily breathed into the respiratory system, where they can cause irritation and potential allergic reactions. If this occurs, mycotoxins could accumulate onto local tissue and ultimately enter the bloodstream. The study by Brasel cited above showed that trichothecenes could be measured in the blood of people exposed to an indoor environment that had Stachybotrys.
Stachybotrys creates a class of mycotoxins referred to as trichothecenes. Trichothecenes have been widely studied and have been proven to be detrimental to the health of humans, animals and plants. In fact, trichothecenes have been investigated for the purpose of biological warfare needless to say, they are not something to which you want to be exposed.
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Do You Have Mold In Your Home We Can Help
We know mold is a serious health concern for many homeowners, so if you have any questions, or think you may have it in your home, please give us a call. Well come out and inspect the area in question free of charge!
As an industry leader with more than 35 years of award-winning experience, EnviroVantage specializes in indoor air quality improvements, mold remediation, asbestos abatement, duct cleaning, and more. We have helped thousands of homeowners eliminate problems in their home, including all types of mold.
Contact us today with any questions or for more information!
What Are Pathogenic Reactions To Mold
Pathogenic reactions to mold exposure are divided into three categories:
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What Are Allergenic Reactions To Mold
Most molds are allergenic. But while many people can handle a little bit of mold exposure, others are born sensitive and will experience allergic reactions. Allergic reactions, ranging from mild to severe, are the most common symptoms associated with mold exposure.
Your Health Isnt The Only Thing At Risk
Nothing is more important than your health, but you should also know that mold can damage your home. Whether youre a tenant or a homeowner, the financial consequences can be huge.
Depending on property size and affected areas, the average cost of mold remediation services is around $2,000. While this may feel like a big expense, itll save you a lot of money in the long run. Left untreated, mold can damage your home in several ways, including:
- Collapsed Ceilings
- Broken Walls
- And more
This is because mold literally eats away at the wood, drywall, tiles, and other household materials. In severe cases, replacements can easily surpass the $10,000 mark. Frankly, rectifying the issue immediately is vital for your finances as well as your health and peace of mind.
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Side Effects Of Eating Mold
Its a concern that we have actually all contemplated over on occasion, particularly when you come alarmingly near to putting a spoon or handful of food into your mouth, only noticing the mold just in time.
But, for the numerous times when we do notice mold on food in time, there are a lot more events when we accidentally consume musty food only to realize our mistake after chewing on it, swallowing it, or worse still, the next day.
But is mold something that you actually have to worry about consuming? Cannot you simply remove completions of that musty piece of bread or cake and eat the rest?
Side Effects Of Mold Inhalation
Molds are organisms that reproduce by releasing spores that create mold colonies when the spores settle on damp surfaces. The increased number of mold colonies can destroy the surfaces they feed off of and digest. During their life cycle, mold colonies can cause significant medical problems. These can be reactions to the spores or to mycotoxins, which are dangerous chemical byproducts of mold that, according to the National Institutes of Health, can cause death in humans and animals 2. Mold inhalation can be dangerous and can cause chronic side effects.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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Testing For Mould In Your Home
Where mould is visible, it is generally not considered necessary to test for it in the home. However, not all mould is visible, as contamination may be in cavities or the ceiling. Generally, if you can see or smell mould, you need to clean up and remove the mould immediately, as mould can damage surfaces it grows on.
If you suspect mould contamination but cannot find the source of the problem, or if you have already taken measures to prevent mould from growing and you are still having problems, you could employ an occupational hygienist or environmental health and safety professional. For a fee, these professionals can provide specialist mould testing and consultancy services.