How Is Mold Allergy Treated
One of the most important ways to manage a mold allergy is to avoid mold. Reduce your exposure to mold as much as possible by avoiding damp places and things like piles of wet leaves. Make sure your bathroom has an exhaust fan or window you can open to limit dampness and beware of leaks in your roof, walls or pipes in your home.
Your provider might suggest immunotherapy to reduce your sensitivity to mold, commonly known as allergy shots.
Medications, like antihistamines or nasal steroids can give you relief from symptoms. If you have asthma, your provider may suggest a different medication, like inhaled steroids or mast cell stabilizers.
Toxic Mold Symptoms: How To Know If Mold Is Making You Sick
Because there are many symptoms, mold toxicity varies from person to person. Practitioners have observed that people living or working in the same water-damaged building may have different symptoms. And some people may not be noticeably affected by the mold.
Some factors that may affect your susceptibility to mold include your health status, length of exposure, and toxin load. Genetics can also make a difference.
Twenty-four percent of people from normal populations have a certain HLA gene called HLA DR. This means that about one in four people are more genetically susceptible to mold toxicity. If you have these genetics, your immune system doesnt readily tag mold toxins to get rid of them. They may build up and make you sick.
Still, this doesnt mean the rest of the population can tolerate excessive mold exposure. A severe mold problem can also affect healthy people. But only sensitive people with certain genetics may be affected by smaller amounts of mycotoxins. So, in a sense, no one is safe.
Create A Bleach Mixture
If the black mold growth in your home is small enough for you to treat alone, a simple mixture of bleach and water can help. Add one cup of bleach to one gallon of water and apply it to the moldy spots. You can also find commercial black mold removal products.
Soak a paper towel in the cleaner and press it over the mold growth to dampen the area. Then start scrubbing. Avoid spraying moldy areas, since the droplets will collide with the mold spores and launch them throughout the room, making them easier to breathe in and harder to eradicate.
Be sure to dry the area thoroughly when youre done.
Do NOT mix bleach with ammonia. This combination can create toxic fumes that are far more dangerous than any mold youre trying to clean.
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How To Treat Mold Symptoms
When you are experiencing the health effects of black mold, two steps need to be taken in order to correct the problem: First, it is necessary to visit the doctor and treat the health effects with medical techniques and second, it is very important to clean up the home in order to minimize the dangers of black mold.
This cleanup process is a critical part of stopping the symptoms because if you simply treat the health problems while you continue to be exposed, then the health problems will only continue to get worse. Medical treatments will not effectively heal your body until you have removed the source of mold exposure.
Cleaning up the mold involves identifying all of the areas of the home that are growing mold. These areas are usually exposed to high levels of humidity or wetness, and the building materials usually need to be replaced. For example, if there is mold growth in the bathroom, then it is likely that the walls need to be opened in order to clean up mold growth within as well. The area should be repaired with brand new materials.
If you are doing the cleanup yourself, then the dangers of black mold increase during the cleanup process because you will be increasing your exposure to the mold. In order to avoid the health effects of black mold, it is necessary to take precautionary steps in order to prevent cross contamination and also minimize the exposure. Wearing goggles, a mask, and other protective clothing can help you to avoid exposure to the spores.
What Is Mycotoxin Poisoning
The most serious problems caused by mold are caused by small molecules call mycotoxins, which are produced by mold when they feel threatened. Think of this like the ink an octopus produces or when a skunk sprays someone. For some mycotoxins, low levels are not problematic for most individuals.
These mycotoxins are found in low amounts in food. However, other mycotoxins such as the Trichothecenes are toxic in much smaller quantities, but only in water-damaged buildings, and they are much more toxic. Trichothecenes are produced by Stachybotrys, otherwise known as black mold.
There are multiple different health effects that are caused by mycotoxins, and these symptoms are influenced by genetics, sex, age of the patient. The number of mycotoxins patients absorbed and the type of mycotoxin also play a role in symptoms . However, common signs are chronic fatigue, ADHD, rashes, COPD, and depression. Less common symptoms include dementia, Parkinsons, and cancer. Mycotoxins also weaken the immune system, which leads to other secondary infections to occur .
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Common Indoor Mold Varieties And Health Dangers
The toxins produced and health dangers posed by indoor mold varieties may differ according to the specific type of mold involved. According to the Environmental Protection-Agency, all molds have the potential to cause ill health in human.
The exposure and its effect varies from person to person and depends on a range of issues such as the type of mold in question, the degree of exposure, the general health of the victim, and existing allergies and health issues.
The most common varieties of mold include:
Stachybotrys: This is the most common variety of mold that is also referred to as lack mold. It mostly thrives on paper and food and causes the most serious respiratory issues and bleeding in the lungs.
Aspergillus: This variety is most commonly found in house dust and prevails in warm and damp climate. It produces mycotoxins that can lead to a lung infection.
Cladosporium: Though regularly found outdoors, this variety can also grow inside your home, on textiles and wood. The symptoms are similar to those exhibited by asthma and hay fever.
Alternaria: This mold appears in the upper respiratory tract and causes irritating responses such as itchy eyes, coughing, and running nose.
Penicillium: Last but not least, this variety of mold is found on carpets, fabrics, insulation, and wallpaper. The effects are similar to those of Alternaria.
How To Get Rid Of Mold
There are plenty of DIY mold removal options for you on the web some more effective than others. These may suffice if the problem is minor. After DIY treatment, it may be good to have an air quality test taken to measure the effectiveness of your work.
If the problem is more than minor, DIY methods will likely only remove the appearance of mold for a short time. For more serious problems, the best approach is to hire a certified and reputable local mold remediation company.
Most mold remediation companies will recommend demolition of the infected part of your home to literally remove the mold, so keep in mind that you might have additional expenses to restore a portion of your house. On top of that, the process might take several days.
If you are looking into demolition-free mold removal, then consider companies that use a dry fog technique. When properly done, this method not only kills mold without demolition, but it also takes less than a day to complete.
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How Did I Get Mold
Like any other living thing, mold needs food and water to thrive. Mold problems start when a mold spore thats floating in the air lands on a wet piece of organic material , takes root and starts to multiply. Mold spores are everywhere in the air, including in the cleanest of homes.
In fact, every breath you take likely has some mold spores in it at low levels! In the home, mold usually grows wherever there is dampness and moisture, like basements, attics, kitchens and bathrooms, or areas that have experienced flooding.
With over 100,000 species, mold comes in about any size, shape, and color you can think of, making it impossible to tell what type of mold you have without testing by a certified mold inspection professional.
Mold Illness Symptoms And Treatment
Mold exposure has been proven to make people sick. Youve probably heard of black mold or toxic mold and that toxic black mold is deadly.
To create awareness about mold health hazards, the government and the media raised the alarm on Stachybotrys, commonly known as black mold. The general information you know about mold could have been shaped by the hysteria around Stachybotrys. But what you know may not be completely accurate.
Mold encompasses several species of fungi. These species grow in an array of color patches black, brown, yellow, pink, green and are often smelly, fuzzy growths that are unwanted. Most molds are non-toxic and not poisonous. However, these spore-producing organisms comprise approximately 25% of the earths biomass and act as decomposers of organic material. Therefore, it should not be surprising to learn that most people interact with fungi daily.
Of all the fungi species, eight molds can be toxic to humans and cause health issues or agitate current health issues. Approximately 10% of the population is allergic to mold, and 25% is genetically susceptible to mold-related illnesses. The most common indoor fungi are Alternaria, Aspergillus, Cladosporium, and Stachybotrys.
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How Do Doctors Test For Mold Exposure
If you are aware of mold growth in your home and you feel sick, inform your doctor about the mold and your symptoms right away. But sometimes you cant see mold, and it is not clear whether its mold exposure thats made you sick or not.
Because mold allergy or mold exposure symptoms can resemble that of other allergies, the doctor will typically start by asking about your medical and family medical history. Additionally, doctors usually run tests for mold exposure which may include one or more of the following:
- Skin test for reactions to allergens, including mold
- IgG mold antibodies test to see the immune systems reaction to molds. A positive test means that an individual was or is currently exposed to mold
- Urine mycotoxins test
- A fungal culture of the nasal sinuses
The type of testing youll receive depends on the doctor you visit, so be sure to ask questions ahead of time so you can feel confident in your diagnosis.
Long Term Effects / Difficulty Of Concretely Establishing Causes
In some cases, experts believe that long term black mold exposure manifests as cancer. Again, because there is no one biomarker that helps identify the presence of black mold within the human body, this linkage is causal at best. Scientists know that mycotoxins are responsible for creating health problems in humans, among other creatures but creating a solid cause/effect chart is difficult. Mycotoxins can immediately manifest harm, or lay dormant for years. Their ferocity is based on the relative state of the immune system of the person they encounter, along with a host of other as yet undefined factors.
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Health Problems Related To Dampness And Mold
Allergies or allergic responses to pollen or animal dander are the most common types of health problems related to mold. Typical symptoms include:
- Nose, mouth, or throat irritation
- Irritation of the nose, mouth, or throat
- Nasal stuffiness and runny nose
- Red, itchy, or watery eyes
Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores can cause a person to become allergic to mold. Molds can trigger asthma symptoms including shortness of breath, wheezing, or cough in people with known allergies. People who do not have allergies can also become irritated. Studies indicate that exposure to molds in the workplace can make pre-existing asthma worse. NIOSH investigates associations between damp buildings and developing new asthma.
Hypersensitivity pneumonitis is a kind of lung inflammation that occurs when people develop immune system sensitization to inhaled organic dust. Immune system sensitization is similar to an allergy. It can seem like pneumonia, but it does not get better with antibiotics for infection. Symptoms of HP can vary. Some persons have:
- Shortness of breath
- Night sweats
- Profound fatigue
These symptoms usually first appear 2 to 9 hours after exposure and last for 1 to 3 days. Other affected persons have progressive shortness of breath and cough, as well as weight loss.
This lung disease has also occurred in workers who worked in water-damaged buildings with:
- Roof leaks
How Are Mold Allergies And Exposure Diagnosed
There are no proven tests that show when or where you may have been exposed to mold.
But 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 a small amount 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.
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What Are The Signs Of Mold In Your House
Musty smells are a tell-tale sign of mold. Another common indicator is visible signs of water damage.
As mentioned earlier, mold grows fast. Within 24 hours of a water leak, or a flood, mold will begin to take hold. This mold can grow on anything thats humid walls, floors, ceilings, furniture, and even wet laundry.
When there is a chance of mold, its important to have a professional in to test. Professionals qualified to do environmental investigations can:
- Check the surfaces of your house for mold
- Test the air for spores
- Help you to identify sources of moisture
- Identify where the mold is growing and help you decontaminate your house
- Use natural enzymes to kill mold spores
If you dont get rid of all sources of mold, you risk getting sick from it.
Potential Health Problems Related To Exposure To Black Mold
You may be surprised to learn of all the health problems that can be caused by black mold. Black mold is a type of fungus that can grow indoors and outdoors. When it grows indoors, people can inhale the spores in the air and become ill. In some cases, the illness can be surprisingly severe.
Not everyone that is exposed to black mold gets sick, and some people are more likely to get sick than others. Exposure to black mold is more likely to cause illness in elderly people, infants and young children, people with respiratory problems and people with disorders of the immune system .
Black mold illness includes respiratory problems like coughing, sneezing, wheezing, asthma attacks, the development of asthma-like symptoms in people not previously diagnosed with the condition, bronchitis, chronic sinus infections and fungal infections inside the lungs. It can also cause fever, sore throats, decreased immune system functioning, headaches or migraines, depression, forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, skin rash, hives, fatigue and general malaise.
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What To Do If You Find Black Mold In Your House
Finding black mold in your home is a stressful event. The discovery often occurs after a water or fire loss.
As black mold thrives on moist materials, it can be found on everything from tile to carpet to insulation and beyond.
When you suspect black mold is growing in your home, it is recommended that you reach out to professional mold remediation and mitigation services, like HRS Restoration Services in Denver.
Professional mold remediation specialists are able to assess the source of the mold growth, dry and clean the affected space, and return your home to its pre-damaged condition.
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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Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome
An ongoing inflammatory response to mold or other biotoxins can lead to chronic inflammatory response syndrome , also referred to as biotoxin illness. In this condition, inflammation affects multiple body systems.
Chronic exposure to a water-damaged building is the most common trigger of CIRS. Chronic Lyme disease is another cause. Some people have both. Thats a double whammy to your system.
The following can be linked to CIRS from mold-induced toxicity:
Signs And Symptoms Of Black Mold Poisoning
Black mold exposure may often present with your typical allergic complaints that are listed above. However, one must be mindful that other non-allergic, mold-related illnesses exist and may present similarly to a mold allergy, but often with more seemingly unrelated symptoms.
Research has found that people who have been exposed to mixed mold, mold spores and mycotoxins have experienced neurological and behavioral symptoms. These symptoms have been corroborated by other studies like Gordon et al. and Rea et al. .
Such non-allergic symptoms to mold may include, but are not limited to:
- Cognitive impairment
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