What Are Black Mold Health Symptoms
We all know mold isnt welcomed in the home, but did you know too that breathing in the presence of mold can harm your health? There are over 2,000 different species of mold and the most dangerous of all is called Stachybotrys Chartarum, also known as black mold or the invisible killer.
Why is black mold so dangerous? Black mold releases toxic spores that linger in the air and attack your respiratory health. The potency of these toxic spores has proved to be the most detrimental to human health.
Black mold often appears as slimy and greenish-black. If its water source runs out, black mold can also appear as dry and powdery. Black mold is also dangerous because its sometimes difficult to distinguish from other species of mold.
Indoor Air Quality Solutions For Mold
The best way to avoid mold in the home or workplace is to prevent its growth altogether. Because mold thrives in damp, warm environments, you can try:
- Keeping the relative humidity in your home between 30% and 50%.
- Checking high-moisture areas, such as window sills, under-sink cabinets and indoor plants, regularly for visible mold growth.
- Increasing ventilation in your homeespecially in high-moisture areas such as the bathroom, kitchen and laundry room. You can do this by installing an exhaust fan, running your HVAC system or opening windows .
- Adding an air purifier to help remove mold spores from the air in your home. Make sure to follow the manufacturers instructions on cleaning and replacing the filters. The Molekule air purifier with proprietary PECO technology destroys mold spores that pass through the device, instead of trapping them within the unit.
Air Purifier For Mold
The EnviroKlenz UV Air Purifier is your solution to remove VOCs and microorganisms such as mold spores, bacteria, and viruses from the air. This air purifier combines Advanced EnviroKlenz technology for toxic and noxious chemical and odor removal with the use of HEPA filtration and ultraviolet germicidal radiation to remove airborne particulates and allergens and inhibit the growth of captured microorganisms.
The patented earth mineral technology utilized in the EnviroKlenz Air Cartridge is able to effectively contain and neutralize noxious and toxic chemicals and odors from the air. Whereas the HEPA filter within the air purifier works to capture particulate matter larger than 0.3 microns in size at a 99.99 percent efficiency, this includes the capturing of mold spores and other airborne microorganisms. Above the HEPA filter, EnviroKlenz placed two UVC lights that allow for the light to shine on the collected microorganisms to effectively kill them from within the purifier. Therefore, eliminating those microorganisms from recirculating back into the indoor air of your environment.
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Abc Can Keep Your Family Comfortable And Safe
Black mold is a serious problem that should be treated immediately and professionally. However, you shouldnt let worry about black mold growth keep you up at night. The truth is, this type of toxic mold is uncommon in air ducts that are regularly cleaned and maintained by professionals. With years of experience and licensed professionals, ABC Home & Commercial Services can provide proactive care for your air ducts and prevent black mold from ever rearing its ugly head in your home. Leave the air duct checkup, repair and cleaning to us.
We Have A Healthy Respect For Mold
The sacrifices we endured have in some ways made me feel like this was meant to happen to us. It made me see things I had not before, in more ways than I can ever explain here.
Your value system shifts from materialism to whats actually important, relationships/family. Youre grateful for what you have, and stop worrying about the things you want.
Materialism, for what we have learned increases as you get older. From our own experience, not placing so much value on stuff has given us an unexplainable, new sense of freedom.
I have had to accept things as they are, understanding exactly what I have the power to change and what I dont, all without letting this tragedy and sickness completely define who I am.
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Mold Could Thrive In Your Home
It is estimated that half of the buildings in the United States may be WDB, meaning water-damaged buildings. Construction techniques in the U.S. turn out to be a feast and buffet for mold and fungal organisms. Our homes here are often built of wood and drywall rather than stone or brick as in Europe. Mold and fungi thrive on drywall, wood, and other soft materials.
Mold thrives in dark and moist environments and doesnt take much water to get the process going. A small drip from a leaky toilet, shower, or sink is all it takes. Small roof leaks are also common causes. If you see a stain on the ceiling or the wall there is very likely an associated hidden mold growth. This is not the type of mold that you see on the shower wall, but rather it is lurking behind the walls and in air ducts, crawl spaces, attics, and other areas.
Find Optimal Health And Wellness
If youre dealing with mysterious symptoms that you think could be related to mold exposure, dont lose hope. Contact us for an appointment and an individualized treatment plan to help you regain optimal health and wellness.
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8. Structural brain abnormalities in patients with inflammatory NCBI. 17 Jun. 2014, . Accessed 6 Aug. 2019.
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Retrace Your Past Experiences
A case in point is a young male patient who came to Amen Clinics with complaints of sleep disturbance, anxiety, and brain fog. He was initially seen by one of our psychiatrists and referred to me for further workup. A careful history-taking found that these symptoms all started when he moved back home from college into his parents basement apartment. The whole family seems to have forgotten that the basement flooded on several occasions. Mold diagnostic testing revealed the patient had high levels of mold toxins in his body.
The first step is always to remove oneself from the moldy environment, and then treatment can begin. Treatment for a Toxic Brain typically consists of binding agents and other medications, such as antifungals, and metabolic support supplements. This patient improved with proper treatment and remediation of the mold problem. Here was a patient who didnt need any psychiatric medications he simply needed the correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment. What would have been the outcome for this patient without the proper diagnosis? He almost certainly would have been misdiagnosed as having a mental illness and treated with psychiatric medications.
The good news is that there are ways to determine if a patient has been exposed to toxic mold and that there are successful treatments available.
What Is Black Mold
Lets start by identifying the enemy: black mold. Black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum, is a species of mold or fungi. You can typically identify black mold by its color. Many other molds are green or grey, but black mold tends to be a dark greenish black or gray color. It will appear around the home as a slimy, dark greenish-black or gray substance. Black mold grows off of moisture, releasing spores as it consumes organic substances.
The types of substances this type of mold feeds off of include things such as wood and cotton. In the home, you can expect to find it growing on materials such as damp drywall, insulation and carpets. Mold typically does not grow on metal, glass and plastic. Because of this, the most common places you find black mold include walls, carpeting, insulation, furniture and ceilings.
Unfortunately for homeowners, black mold also loves air vents, where spores are naturally circulated. If air vents havent been professionally cleaned in a while, there will be plenty of dust for black mold to feed on. Similarly, if your air ducts arent inspected and repaired routinely, leaks and other problems can allow black mold to thrive.
The spores of black mold can cause a variety of undesirable symptoms and health problems when inhaled or ingested by humans. These can be symptoms as simple as itchy eyes to more serious consequences, including long-term lung damage.
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All This Mold Triggers Asthma Attacks
If you suffer from asthma, watch out for mold. According to the EPA, inhaling or touching mold can cause an asthma attack. That’s because touching a source of mold can send the spores into the air. People with asthma who inhale mold tend to have lower lung function to begin with, and the body perceives mold as an invader so their lungs constrict and produce more mucus. This reaction can cause chest tightness, coughing, wheezing and the inability to breathean asthma attack.
The Rx:The American Lung Association advises staying away from mold if you have asthma. Keep your bathroom clean, use a humidity monitor in your home, and don’t go outside if mold counts are high.
Indoor Air Sampling Is The Best Method To Test For Mold
The bottom line here is that air sampling gives a very limited picture of indoor air quality and the actual presence of mold. Most often, indoor air samples are taken using a petri dish culture or a machine that collects air for a short period of time in a small space. The problem with these methods is that they do not take into account the varying nature of molds.
While some mold spores are light and remain airborne for long periods of time, others, such as Stachybotrys chartarum are heavy, dense, or sticky and fall more quickly to floors and surfaces. This makes collection from air samples unreliable. While air samples may reveal the presence of one or mold molds, the identified volume of a particular mold may be inaccurate, suggesting safety when levels are actually outside an acceptable range.
The best test, as discussed above, is one of the variations of the Environmental Relative Moldiness Index . An ERMI test uses samples of dust collected from surfaces as well as vacuumed samples. Whats most important with the ERMI test is to send your samples to a certified and well-reviewed lab. I recommend either Mycometrics or Envirobiomics for testing. They cost a bit more than some other well-known labs, but they use high-quality diagnostic tools that increase accuracy, eliminating the need for repeat testing.
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Outdoor Molds Are More Problematic Than Indoor Molds
It might surprise you, but this is another wrong assumption. Indoor molds cause more health issues than outdoor molds. In general, indoor air is two to five times more toxic than outdoor air. While mold and mold spores exist everywhere outdoors, very few people get sick from mold outside. So, why is indoor mold such a problem? The answer is water-damaged buildings .
WDBs are more of a problem than ever before. A change to building standards and an explosion of air-conditioning systems in the 1970s and 1980s is partially to blame. As demand for air conditioning increased, there was an energy shortage. To increase HVAC efficiency, builders began to seal systems, causing air to be recirculated within buildings.
Pair recirculation with poor filtration, trapped moisture, and building materials such as paper, gypsum, fiberglass, and insulation that literally feed mold, and youve got a recipe for water leaks and mold growth. Unfortunately, it only takes 24-48 hours for mold and mildew to form after water exposure, and growth wont stop until the source of moisture is remedied.
The Environmental Protection Agency did a study of one hundred commercial buildings in the 1990s and reported that 43% had current water damage and 85% had past water damage. Studies in the U.S. estimate that 50% of all buildings have water damage. Its no wonder that mold illness has become such a controversial issue in recent years.
When To See Your Doctor
Contact your doctor or seek immediate medical attention if you see significant amounts of blood in your vomit. Remember: The color of blood may range from red to brown to black.
You should skip the drive and call your local emergency number if your bloody vomit is accompanied by dizziness, rapid or shallow breathing, or other signs of shock.
Green or yellow vomit may also be a sign of a more serious condition, like bile reflux. If you have risk factors or experience other concerning symptoms, its a good idea to see your doctor.
You should also see your doctor if:
- Your vomiting has lasted 48 hours and isnt getting better.
- Youre unable to keep down any fluids.
- You have signs of dehydration, including dizziness or headache.
- Youve lost weight from vomiting.
- You have diabetes. Repeated vomiting may impact your blood sugar levels.
- You have severe chest pain. This may indicate a heart attack.
You should also let your doctor know if you experience frequent episodes of vomiting. This may be an indication of cyclic vomiting disorder, which is caused by certain neurological conditions. With cyclic vomiting, you may throw up at the same time each day for a certain period of time.
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Can Black Mold Spores Travel In The Air
Yes. Mold spores are airborne and can attach themselves to peoples skin, clothing, shoes, shopping bags, furniture, carpets, and even pets. Once spores enter your home, they can settle onto any surface and start to multiply. They can also enter your house through open doorways, open windows, and HVAC systems.
Mold spores are microscopic and are virtually found everywhere. They are naturally found in the air we breathe, both indoors and outdoors. Since spores are tiny and lightweight, they become airborne easily, every time we vacuum or walk on the carpets or even sit on our couch.
How To Check For Mold In A House
If you suspect a mold source in your home the first thing you will want to do is test/check for mold in your environment. Even if you do not suspect mold inside your home, you should still do a simple test to ensure mold growth is not occurring in your home, particularly if you are experiencing unexplainable symptoms.
Mold toxicity can be a devious stealer of health. When checking for mold growth you should look for these three characteristics mold growth, moisture/water leaks, and health symptoms.
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How Does Mold Make Us Sick
A quick note: While mold and microbes found in water-damaged buildings are the focus of this article, its important to know that other microbes like Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus and tick-borne Borrelia are other common causes of biotoxin illness. But today Im going to focus on mold and water-damaged buildings because I dont think enough people are aware of this issue.
Microbes like bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi can infect us and release toxins. When a person is sick from these toxins, it is called biotoxicity since the toxins come from living organisms. Biotoxicity is different from environmental toxicities such as heavy metals or chemicals.
We can be exposed to biotoxins just by breathing inside of a water-damaged building. These buildings can harbor mold, bacterial toxins, volatile organic compounds, and particulate matter that permeate throughout the air and get inhaled.
These biotoxins are very small, so they can move in and out of our cells and throughout various body systems.
Biotoxins can build up in our bodies because theyre not easy to excrete or destroy. However, the body will do its best and concentrate these toxins in the liver. Once theyre in the liver, they bind to bile so we can poop them out .
Now, normally this recirculation would not be a problem. In most people, the immune system can recognize these toxins and mount an immune response to destroy them.
How Long Do Mold Symptoms Last
The tricky thing about mold exposure is that its different for each person. The amount of time mold exposure symptoms persist depends on:
- What type of mold they are exposed to,
- How long the exposure has been,
- How well their bodies eliminate toxins
Those who process toxins well can see their symptoms disappear as quickly as a few days.
Others who eliminate toxins slowly can experience symptoms for much longer. They could be ill for months or even years after the source of mold is eliminated.
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Health Effects Of Black Mold
According to the EPA, various types of mold can cause health problems for some people. Those health problems are primarily in the form of allergies such as stuffy head, headache, itchy eyes, trouble breathing, etc. These ailments can be more severe in the young, the old, and those with other health issues. The CDC basically says the same thing that mold can cause health issues in some people, or no issues in other people.
According to the CDC, Stachybotrys black mold is unproven to cause serious medical issues beyond those mentioned above. In other words, symptoms of black mold are only proven to be similar to other molds. The CDC simply states that various types of mold may cause health symptoms, to consult with a doctor if symptoms persist, and that no color or type of mold belongs in a building.
You may be thinking: If all we know for sure is that mold causes allergies in some people, and maybe some serious health problems in a small percentage of other people, then whats the big deal?
Well, our answer to that is to imagine yourself as one of those people who are sensitive to mold. Constant allergies, constantly feeling sick, and miserable in your own home. Theres even a scientific name for it: Sick Building Syndrome . Mold, along with other problems such as radon, Chinese drywall, etc., can cause Sick Building Syndrome. Suffering through Sick Building Syndrome is a terrible way to live, and we wouldnt wish it upon our worst enemy!