Symptoms Of Mold Exposure
Symptoms of mold exposure can include:
- Nasal and sinus congestion, runny nose
- Respiratory problems, such as wheezing and difficulty breathing, chest tightness
- Sneezing / Sneezing fits
Health effects linking to asthma
Adverse respiratory health effects are associated with occupancy in buildings with moisture and mold damage. Infants may develop respiratory symptoms due to exposure to a specific type of fungal mold, called Penicillium. Signs that an infant may have mold-related respiratory problems include a persistent cough and wheeze. Increased exposure increases the probability of developing respiratory symptoms during their first year of life. Studies have shown that a correlation exists between the probability of developing asthma and increased exposure to Penicillium. The levels are deemed âno moldâ to âlow levelâ, from âlowâ to âintermediateâ, and âintermediateâ to âhighâ.
Mold exposures have a variety of health effects depending on the person. Some people are more sensitive to mold than others. Exposure to mold can cause several health issues such as throat irritation, nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, cough, and wheezing, as well as skin irritation in some cases. Exposure to mold may also cause heightened sensitivity depending on the time and nature of exposure. People at higher risk for mold allergies are people with chronic lung illnesses and weak immune systems, which can often result in more severe reactions when exposed to mold.
How Are Mold Exposure And Tuberculosis Related
As we mentioned earlier, there are three types of mold:
Each of these types can have a different impact on your health, from a simple skin rash to breathing issues and even cancer. Which symptoms you will experience depends mainly on your immune system. But, even the strongest immune systems can weaken with time if it is continuously expose to mold. Especially to Pathogenic and Toxigenic types of mold.
Tuberculosis is one of the possible mold effect you can experience and we can blame the toxic type of mold for that. Toxic mold spores often produce mycotoxins that threaten your health and make you vulnerable to diseases, like the above mentioned tuberculosis.
At Mold Busters, we often get asked whether mold can cause tuberculosis, given that it has such a profound effect on the respiratory system.
No at least not directly.
Although mold itself cannot cause tuberculosis, it does weaken peoples immune systems, making them more vulnerable to infections. Once your immune systems stops working full-time, you shouldnt worry about tuberculosis only, but many other infections, mold related or not.
People who spend a substantial amount of time in areas with poor air quality are at greater risk of mold exposure and are, therefore, more susceptible to allergic, bacterial and viral infections due to weakened immune systems.
What Causes Nasal Congestion
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How Does Mould Affect Health
Mould associated with damp buildings can trigger nasal congestion, sneezing, cough, wheeze, respiratory infections and worsen asthma and allergic conditions.
People who are more susceptible to these symptoms and other serious health effects include those with:
- weakened immune systems
- chronic, obstructive, or allergic lung diseases.
You should seek medical advice if you are concerned about the effects of mould.
Black Mold Something Of A Misnomer
Before we go any further, lets clear up the confusion about black mold. When you read about toxic black mold it is kind of misleading. The thing is dangerous and toxic mold is not just black, it can be many different colors. Toxic molds can appear to be green, yellow, brown, and black.
All molds have the potential to cause irritation and allergy symptoms. However, some molds can also cause much more dangerous health problems. Some molds, but not all, produce mycotoxins. Not all molds are toxic, but many are.Mycotoxins can cause health problems ranging from poisoning to cancer.
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What If I Dont See Any Mold
Unfortunately, just because you dont see mold doesnt mean that it isnt there. Mold is an expert at hiding in the places you cant see. It can live behind drywall, in the ceiling, in your ventilation, and even in your homes insulation. Regardless of where it lives, if you have mold growing in your home, its spores will be airborne. Being constantly exposed to those in the air that you breathe can have many negative effects on your health.
How Can Dampness And Mold Problems Be Fixed
- Identify and eliminate the water problem. The most critical step is to identify and eliminate the source of the water that is creating a damp environment. You may need technical assistance from a plumber or contractor to determine what needs to be fixed or changed.
- Determine the extent of the problem. EPA recommends calling for professional help to clean any mold growth that covers more than 10 square feet.3 If you are unable to determine the extent of the problem, contact a professional, who can help you protect your family.
- Remove, clean or discard affected materials. To get rid of mold, wash it off materials that can be effectively cleaned, such as hard surfaces. Use detergent and warm water. Dry the surface completely. If the materials cannot be cleaned or are too damaged to reuse, discard them. Porous materials, like ceiling tiles, likely cannot be cleaned thoroughly and must be discarded.3
- Protect occupants and workers during the cleanup process. At minimum, wear an N-95 mask , disposable gloves and goggles. Workplace cleanup requires that the N-95 mask be professionally fitted.3
If water build up was caused by sewage, floods or other contaminated water, call a professional.
For more information on guidelines for safely cleaning up mold, visit the EPA’s mold clean up site.
Institute of Medicine .Damp Indoor Spaces and Health. National Academies Press. Washington, DC. 2004.
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Mold In Air Vents: Harmful Or Nothing To Worry About
Your eyes are itchy and watery. Youre sneezing and coughing. You might expect these symptoms when you walk outside or play with your dogs, especially during the times of year that seasonal allergies are a problem.
What if this starts happening inside your own home?
If youre noticing nose stuffiness, wheezing or throat irritation whenever youre indoors at your house, the problem could be hiding in your air vents. You might be dealing with black mold.
You can usually spot mold on the walls, floors, ceilings and fabrics around your home. But sometimes, harmful mold lurks in a place you cant see: inside your air vents.
If you suspect you may have black mold hiding in your air vents, youll need to take action to determine what your problem is and take steps to make sure your family is not at risk. This comprehensive guide will help you understand symptoms, solutions and other important information about this health-threatening problem. It will also explain howpreventative maintenance from an AC professional can prevent black mold from ever coming into your duct system to begin with.
Signs Of Mold Illness
Mold is a big problem in most homes, but many people are unaware of the problem. Of course, everyone looks at the shower curtain, under the sink, or in the basement when he or she think about mold issues, but mold can grow just about anywhere.
Mold can be found in drywall, in the roof , and even in ones Christmas tree. One study found that Christmas trees can breed mold, quietly releasing millions of spores into the room causing winter allergies and asthma attacks. Studies have found that indoor air quality dropped six-fold over the 14 days a Christmas tree typically decorates a room.
There are 1,000 types of mold that can be found growing in the modern American home. Scientists classify these molds based on the effect they have on humans and other living things.
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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:
How Best To Remove Mold From Your Home
Here are some tips for how to remove mold from your home and prevent exposure:
- Check your home for places where mold might lurk, such as under sinks and in basement walls. Things to look for include visible mold growth, water leaks, and water seepage.
- Promptly fix any leaks you find, including leaky roofs and pipes.
- Dry damp surfaces, such as shower stalls, immediately after use.
- Control your homes humidity level with a dehumidifier.
- Keep kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms well ventilated.
- If flooding occurs, clean and dry the flooded area as quickly as possible.
Since mold can grow under carpets and behind walls, moldy homes dont always have obvious mold patches.
Mold smell is unmistakable but doesnt always accompany mold. If you suspect that your home is harboring mold but cant find the source, a home inspection will help.
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How To Minimize Your Risk
To know how to protect yourself, start by knowing where mold spores thrive. Besides growing best in warm, damp, humid spots. Outside, youll find mold in shady, damp areas or where leaves or other vegetation break down. Inside, mold grows in high-humidity locations, such as basements and showers, she says.
If you are prone to breathing problems, such as asthma, you should consider limiting exposure to damp, humid areas such as basements and saunas, she says.
Here are other things you can do to minimize your mold exposure risk:
- Use an air conditioner or dehumidifier to keep humidity levels below 50% at all times.
- Check the humidity level in your home at least once a day because humidity changes with temperature shifts.
- Be sure your home is adequately ventilated. If you have exhaust fans, use them especially when you shower.
- Use paints fortified with mold inhibitors.
- Use mold-killing bathroom cleaning products, such as bleach.
- Dont carpet bedrooms or bathrooms. If you own your home and can afford to, remove carpeting from your home and replace with another surface, such as laminate tile, thats easy to clean.
- Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have gotten wet or soaked through in the past as these are breeding grounds for mold spores.
What Are Pathogenic Reactions To Mold
Pathogenic reactions to mold exposure are divided into three categories:
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Who Is Most At Risk Of Mold Exposure
We come into contact with mold in three primary ways: inhalation, physical contact or ingestion. But every reaction to mold is different, as no two immune systems are the same.
Some people are more sensitive to mold than others. Both your genetic makeup and your current state of health are factors that will influence your reaction.
The following groups of people are especially susceptible to the adverse health effects of mold exposure, because their bodies may be weak to begin with:
- Infants and small children
If youve been experiencing some of these symptoms and are concerned, .
Mold Under The Toilet Rim
The shade and humidity in the underside of the toilet bowl are an ideal place for mold fungus to thrive. Even when using a disinfectant, you may still find it difficult to clean the brown or black discolorations under the rim. It could be that the tank is feeding mineral deposits or organisms into the bowl.
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Black Mold Is Toxigenic
Certain molds prove toxigenic, which means that they produce mycotoxins that cause ill health effects. A little mold is everywhere, but not all mold is poisonous. That doesnt mean you should ignore mold.
Most are familiar with black mold, which is toxigenic and produces mold spores. These form colonies and grow with other spores. High concentrations of these mycotoxins can cause mold poisoning in healthy people, too.
Mold poisoning is also known as mycotoxicosis. This condition affects the upper respiratory system with harmful cold or flu-like symptoms. Additional symptoms due to mycotoxins can prove fatal. Thats especially true for those with severe allergies, asthma or other conditions.
Green-black mold is also harmful. Its found on paper, dust, lint, fiberboard and other low-nitrogen content materials. It can develop and spread after water leaks, floods and condensation.
Until you know more, treat all molds the same due to the potential long-term side effects and health risks. Take mold growth seriously. You will usually see the mold colony and smell the signature musty smell.
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.
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Black Mold In The Toilet
With a couple of different types of black mold, some varieties will only exist on porous surfaces. Hence, you wont see them on the smooth surfaces of porcelain toilets.
Applying bleach will temporarily remove black mold from your toilet. You will discover that it will resurface after some time. The reason is that the spores reproducing this mold genus floats in the air and can replicate effortlessly in a damp, dark, closed toilet system.
You can easily spot black mold inside and under a toilet tank. Black discoloration shows the likeliness that black mold is growing in your toilet tank.
Tips And Techniques For Mold Cleanup
While much has been written about mold cleanup, the simplest advice is still the best Control the Moisture, Control the Mold. Without moisture, mold will not grow. With sufficient moisture, mold will keep coming back no matter how many times it is cleaned up.
Take the following steps when mold is spotted or suspected:
- Stop the mold growth by finding and repairing the source of the excess moisture. Fix the plumbing leaks, roof leak, flooding, a large spill or high relative humidity.
- Dry all items within 24-48 hours.
- Porous items such as drywall, ceiling tiles, carpeting, padding, books, clothing and other paper or cloth materials soak up moisture. Items that are not dried quickly should be discarded if they show signs of mold or water damage.
- Scrub mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water, then dry.
- If the water was from a sewage backup or flood, the items should probably be discarded. If you clean the items, use a diluted household bleach solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water. Avoid breathing the fumes, getting on skin, or in eyes. Note: Do not mix bleach with other cleaners!
- For more information, see
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How Can Mold Affect My Health
Many molds can cause health effects. Molds produce allergens, irritants and,sometimes, toxins that may cause adverse reactions in humans. A reaction tomold depends on how much a person is exposed to, the age of the person and thepersons sensitivities or allergies. The same amount of mold may causehealth effects in one person, but not in another.
Exposure to mold can cause a variety of symptoms. Sensitive people who havetouched or inhaled mold or mold spores may have allergic reactions such as arunny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, watery eyes, skin rash and itching. Molds can trigger asthma attacks in people who are allergic tomolds, causing wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. A diseaselike pneumonia may also develop after exposure to mold, but this is uncommon.
Infectious diseases from molds can occur in people with weakened immunesystems, such as those who are immune-compromised or immune-suppressed fromdrug treatment. Some types of mold are known to cause infections inimmune-compromised people. Such infections can affect the skin, eyes, lungs orother organs. These are considered opportunistic infections that usually do notaffect healthy people.