Sunday, February 18, 2024

What Happens If I Breathe In Mold

What Are The Best Ways To Prevent Red Mold

What Happens If You Breathe In Mold Spores?

Eliminating excess moisture is key to preventing the growth of red mold. To do this, reduce the humidity level in your home. As a general rule of thumb, indoor humidity should remain below 50 percent.

Run your air condition to minimize humidity levels or get a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air.

Also, fix plumbing or roof leaks as soon as possible to prevent mold growth. Signs of a water leak include:

  • condensation on the inside of your windows
  • cracked tiles
  • water spots on ceiling and drywall

Installing a bathroom fan can increase ventilation and reduce mold growth, too. You can even buy mold-resistant items for your bathroom like mold-resistant shower curtains, floor carpets, and tiles.

In addition, refrigerating and keeping food covered can reduce its exposure to mold spores and help stop the growth of mold.

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.

Dariusz Majgier

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.

Mold Prevention And Removal

The best way to prevent mold is to remove water and moisture sources. Fix leaks, dry damp areas and remove humidity from the air to help stop mold growth and keep it from coming back.

To remove mold:

  • Seal off moldy areas using a plastic sheet and duct tape until cleaned. Keep children and pets away.
  • Use water and soap to clean small areas of mold on walls or other hard surfaces when you see it. Wear waterproof gloves while cleaning.
  • Dry the cleaned area completely.
  • Clean any visible dust from work areas. Use wet mops or HEPA vacuums.
  • Throw away all cleaning-related waste in heavy-duty plastic bags and seal securely.
  • If the mold returns quickly or spreads, there may be an underlying problem, such as a water leak. Report repeated mold problems to your landlord.

    If large areas of mold are present, you may need outside help such as a professional mold abatement company. Be sure your contractor is licensed and follows NYS Labor Law requirements.

    To report a large amount of mold in an apartment if you are a tenant, or if the mold is in a non-residential location, submit a complaint online or call 311.

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    Black Mold And Toxicity

    When you read about molds, you may definitely want to know about black mold, as it is frequently singled out as the biggest culprit. Stachybotrys chartarum, also known as black mold is a greenish-black mold. It was thought to be the reason behind a lung disease called idiopathic pulmonary hemosiderosis among infants living in a water-damaged environment in Cleveland, Ohio. However, there is not much research to prove the association between acute pulmonary hemorrhage/hemosiderosis in infants and exposure to molds, specifically stachybotrys chartarum.15 The guidelines from federal organizations suggest that mold growth, regardless of the type, should be controlled in an appropriate manner.16

    Who Is At Risk Of Mold

    Side Effects Of Breathing Mold And Mildew

    According to the WHO, 15 percent of houses in cold climates show signs of dampness, and about 5 percent have signs of mold problems. In warm climates, however, it is estimated that 20 percent of houses have dampness, and 25 percent have mold. Dampness is most likely to occur in overcrowded houses or those that lack appropriate ventilation, heating and insulation. Because symptoms of mold infection are similar to other respiratory ailments, they are often misdiagnosed.

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    Is Mold Dangerous To Breathe

    Normally when we come across mold whether in our home or somewhere else we recoil, perhaps gag and then set about getting rid of it or simply walking away. And whilst mold is, unarguably, a less-than-favorable sight to behold, the real concern can actually be a lot more serious, depending on the person and the type of mold found. So, what can breathing in mold actually do?

    Mold produces allergens, irritants and sometimes, even, toxic substances, depending on the type. Some people are more sensitive to mold, for example, babies and the elderly, those with existing skin and respiratory conditions and those with a weakened immune system. For these people, breathing it in may cause a blocked nose, sore throat, wheezing, shortness of breath, skin itchiness, headaches, fatigue or eye irritation, according to a 2004 study by the Institute of Medicine and others.

    Top Tips For Controlling Mold

    It’s impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores in your home, but because mold spores can’t grow without moisture, reducing moisture in your home is the best way to prevent or eliminate mold growth. If there is already mold growing in your home, it’s important to clean up the mold and fix the problem causing dampness. If you clean up the mold but don’t fix the problem, the mold will most likely return.

    Following is some advice for reducing moisture throughout the home with specific tips for the areas most prone to dampness and mold growth:

    Around the house:

    In the kitchen:

    • Use exhaust fans to move moisture outside whenever you are cooking, washing dishes, or cleaning.
    • Turn off certain appliances if you notice moisture on windows and other surfaces.
    • Check for leaks around the kitchen sink, refrigerator ice makers, and other sources of water. Repair if necessary.
    • Empty and clean refrigerator drip pans if necessary.

    In basements and crawl spaces:

    In the laundry room:

    • Vent your clothes dryer to the outside.
    • Make sure the vent is clear of obstructions, such as lint, and that there are no holes that leak air. If the vent duct is damaged, replace it with a metal duct. Have the duct cleaned at least once a year.
    • Avoid leaving damp clothes in the laundry basket or dryer. Wash and dry them promptly.

    In bathrooms:

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    How Can I Breathe In Mold

    Although mold appears to us as a solid, fuzzy, growth, it is much more complex. Mold spreads by sending tiny, invisible spores into the air. They then land on other surfaces and allow new colonies to grow. If you have mold growing in your home, these spores can travel through the air, even in the ventilation, and you breathe them in.

    What Is Red Mold

    Breathing Mold Can Cause Health Issues

    Mold is a type of fungus that grows indoors and outdoors. It thrives in moist, warm conditions so its typically found around water leaks. It may also be found on food, drywall, and fabric.

    Because red mold is different in color, one misconception is that its its own mold species. But red mold isnt a specific type of mold. The name simply refers to its appearance.

    Interestingly, any type of mold can become red at some point, as its not unusual for mold to change colors. Therefore, black mold, green mold, and even white mold can become red over time, and vice versa.

    Although red mold isnt its own species of mold, certain types of mold are more likely to turn red. This includes Aspergillus which is mostly found in bathrooms and grows on water-damaged materials. Also, Neurospora which grows on food, and Fusarium which grows on plants and in soil.

    Some people use the terms pink mold and red mold interchangeably. But while the two are similar in appearance, pink mold isnt the same as red mold.

    Red mold is a fungus, whereas pink mold is actually a water-borne bacterium commonly found in bathrooms.

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    Mold Inhalation Not As Toxic As Patients May Think

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    IDCNY 2011

    NEW YORK Despite what many parents think, inhaling mold sporesgenerally does not cause severe disease. Severe disease occurs only after moldspores are ingested, according to a presenter at the recent 24th AnnualInfectious Diseases in Children Symposium.

    Cyrus Rangan, MD, director of the Bureau of Toxicology at the LosAngeles County Department of Public Health, spoke about the myths thattypically surround molds and fungus. He said reasonable evidence exists thatlinks exacerbation of allergies and asthma to mold inhalation, but truesystemic disease tends to occur after a patient ingests mold species such asFusarium and Aspergillus.

    According to Rangan, historical reports of cases of systemic poisoningin humans were found to be linked to ingestion and absorption of mold or thereports have since been proven false, including the original 10 cases ofidiopathic pulmonary hemosiderosis among infants in Cleveland that weresupposedly caused by Stachybotrys atra. Contact with inhaled oraerosolized mold causes only minor respiratory or dermal complaints in most.

    Mold may be a red herring

    Rangan, who also serves as an assistant medical director at theCalifornia Poison Control System and is a medical toxicology consultant forChildrens Hospital Los Angeles, said mold grows almost everywhere if thetemperature is ideal and a nutritionand water source is present.

    What Are Symptoms And Signs Of Mold Exposure

    Molds produce irritating substances that may act as allergy-causing substances in sensitive individuals. Furthermore, some molds produce toxic substances known as mycotoxins, but mold itself is not poisonous or toxic. The term “toxic mold,” therefore, refers to the fact that certain kinds of mold can produce mycotoxins. The conditions under which some molds produce toxins are not understood, and the presence of mold, even a mold that is capable of producing toxins, does not always imply that toxins are being produced or that a health risk or problem is present. Mold may not cause any health problems, or it may lead to allergy or other symptoms in people, including adults and children, who are sensitive to molds.

    Allergic reactions to mold are the most common health effects of mold and are therefore the greatest health risk related to mold. Allergic reactions may happen immediately or develop after a period following exposure. Both growing mold and mold spores may lead to allergic reactions. Symptoms and signs of mold allergy may include

  • itchy eyes,
  • skin irritation, or rash.
  • Mold or mold spores may cause asthma attacks in people who have asthma and are allergic to mold. Even in some non-allergic individuals, mold can cause symptoms of irritation in the eyes, skin, and airways. For example, the “black mold”Stachybotrys, along with some other types of mold, produces toxins known as mycotoxins that can cause irritation of the skin and airways in susceptible individuals.

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    What Are The Symptoms Of Aspergillosis

    Symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending on the type of aspergillosis.

    Pulmonary aspergillosis might not cause any symptoms, especially in the early stages. If the disease progresses, symptoms may include:

    • Coughing, sometimes accompanied by mucus or blood.
    • Bloody cough or massive bleeding from the lungs.

    Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis may cause:

    • Coughing accompanied by mucus or blood.
    • Wheezing or worsening of asthma.
    • Fever.
    • Increased mucus or sputum secretions.
    • Inability to tolerate exercise or asthma brought on by exercise.

    Many patients with asthma or cystic fibrosis already experience respiratory symptoms similar to those caused by an allergic reaction, so it may be difficult to detect ABPA in these situations. Sometimes, a worsening of symptoms such as coughing and wheezing is the only sign that the person is experiencing an allergic reaction.

    If the allergic reaction recurs over time, and the lungs become inflamed repeatedly, damage to the lungs and central airways can occur. Recurrent allergic reactions may cause scarring of lung tissue and widening of the central airways, a condition known as bronchiectasis.

    What About Tiny Mold Toxins Aka Mycotoxins

    What Happens If You Breathe In Mold Spores?

    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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    Toxic Mold & Compensation What Every Worker Should Know

    Mold is a feared word among building owners, employers, and landlords. As buildings age and former factories are converted to fashionable condos and new-age offices, lawsuits arising out of health claims of mold infestation and Sick Building Syndrome have become common. Mold is becoming the next asbestos. Its presence has shuttered schools, closed hospital wings, and driven employers to find alternate work sites.

    Workers in aging or recently renovated building need to be sensitive to breathing and respiratory issues that worsen when you are at work and disappear or lessen at home, on weekends, or during vacations.

    Toxic mold infestation can sicken hundreds of unsuspecting employees even when building appear to be well-ventilated. Toxic mold gives off powerful mycotoxins that are dangerous to human health. It can cause allergic reactions, fungal infections, asthma, pneumonitis, toxic illnesses, and other respiratory conditions.

    Removing Red Mold From Shower Curtains

    If red mold develops on your shower curtain, place the shower curtain in the bathtub. Add 2 quarts of water and 4 tablespoons of non-chlorine bleach. Let the shower curtain sit for an hour, and then scrub and rinse with warm water.

    You can also combine two parts hydrogen peroxide with one-part water in a spray bottle. Lay the shower curtain flat on the floor. Spray the curtain with the peroxide mixture and allow the solution to sit for 30 minutes. Scrub and rinse with warm water.

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    How Is Aspergillosis Diagnosed

    Your doctor will probably ask you about your medical history, including the type and duration of your symptoms and whether you have a cough or a fever. It may be difficult to diagnose the condition, because symptoms may resemble those of other diseases.

    Some of the diagnostic tests that may be required include:

    • Skin and blood tests: These tests are useful to diagnose ABPA, especially in cases where the patient has asthma, bronchiectasis or cystic fibrosis. The doctor or technician injects a small quantity of aspergillus antigen into the skin, usually the lower arm. A small red bump at or near the site will show that you have an allergic reaction. In addition, a sample of your blood might be analyzed to see if certain antibodies are present that indicate an allergic reaction.
    • Imaging tests: A chest X-ray or computerized tomography scan may be performed to examine the lungs.
    • Sputum culture: A sample of sputum might be stained and tested to see if aspergillus fungus is present.
    • Biopsy: A small sample of tissue is removed from the lungs or sinuses to diagnose invasive aspergillosis.

    Health Effects Of Black Mold

    Breathing Mold Can Cause Health Concerns

    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!

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