Sneezing And Nasal Congestion
While many things can trigger sneezing, its also a symptom of mold toxicity that should get your attention. If youve never had allergies or hay fever symptoms and youre positive you dont have a cold, those sneezes could be indicative of mold exposure.
Sneezing is the immune systems standard response to allergens. It could also be a warning sign that your home has a mold problem.
How To Prevent Mold
Controlling moisture is the key to preventing mold from growing in your home. The following tips will help stop mold from becoming a problem:
- Keep the humidity in your house below 50%. Using an air conditioner or dehumidifier can help with this.
- Make sure your house is clean, dry, and well-ventilated.
- Fix any water leaks immediately.
- Use ventilation fans in your kitchen and bathrooms.
- Don’t put carpet in rooms that are likely to become wet such as the basement, kitchen, or bathrooms.
- Make sure wet floor mats are dried quickly.
The Best Test For Mold Toxicity You
If you are having a reaction, regardless of the color or quantity of mold present, stop the moisture, clean up the mold and get rid of damaged materials. Even if you arent reacting to the mold, your house is! Wood is rotting, materials are discoloring. So, truly getting rid of mold is important to protecting the value of your house, and more importantly, your health.
Finally, another myth is that any discomfort or illness you experience is proof of just mold. The truth is there are dozens of non-mold ways your home can be impacting your health. Find out which of the seven major issues are in your home.
For more information and tips on mold cleanup, you can also visit the EPA here.
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Visible Dark Rings And Spots
One of the early signs that mold could be lurking in your home is the appearance of dark rings or spots on the ceilings or walls. Even if these spots arent mold per se, they may be indicative of water damage or pooling water, which is a recipe for mold growth.Dark rings on your ceiling? It might be an early sign of black mold.
If you see anything like this in your home, its best to mop it up as quickly as possible and clean the area using disinfectants. If you cant access the area, get an inspector to do it for you. Be sure to check other areas as well, since there could be more widespread water damage.
Conventional Treatment Of Black Mold
Typically, you can see or smell large black mold infestations. Smaller infestations can be harder to find. Wondering how black mold is conventionally treated?
According to the CDC, In most cases mold can be removed from hard surfaces by a thorough cleaning with commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water. Absorbent or porous materials like ceiling tiles, drywall, and carpet may have to be thrown away if they become moldy. If you have an extensive amount of mold and you do not think you can manage the cleanup on your own, you may want to contact a professional who has experience in cleaning mold in buildings and homes. It is important to properly clean and dry the area as you can still have an allergic reaction to parts of the dead mold and mold contamination may recur if there is still a source of moisture.
Are you wondering how to test for mold? One option is to hire a professional mold tester to collect and analyze mold samples. A cheaper option is to order a black mold test kit, which you can use to collect mold samples yourself. You then send the samples to a professional mold testing laboratory.
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How To Deal With Black Mold In A Rental Property
Step 1 Notify the Landlord
When you discover mold in your apartment, filing for an apartment mold lawsuit should not be your first step. Instead, you should contact the landlord or send him/her a notice immediately letting them know what you found. Due to the warranty of habitability, your landlord is responsible for removing the mold and should compensate you if you suffer any health problems from being exposed.
Chances are your landlord will react quickly and get the black mold removed. If the landlord shows reluctance in fixing the issue and you are convinced that it is not due to your negligence, you may consider pursuing a legal claim against the landlord.
Step 2 Pursue Legal Action
Filing a lawsuit should be your next move if the landlord refuses to address your mold issue. Depending on your loss you should be fairly compensated. It may be necessary to file in small claims court if the amount of damages falls under a certain threshold. Youll need to research the damage threshold in your state to determine what qualifies as a small claims case.
How Do I Deal With A Mold Issue In My Home
If its a large-scale mold growth problem , its advised to hire professionals to effectively remove the mold. They can thoroughly eliminate the mold with the use of specialized equipment and techniques. For a small mold infestation, you can consider removing it yourself by following these tips.
To learn more about how to deal with small-scale mold problems in your home, check out our tips to remove mold from your bathroom, basement, and kitchen, as well as from unexpected areas in your home.
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Understanding The Health Problems Associated With Black Mold
While certain molds are toxigenic, meaning they can produce mycotoxins, the molds themselves are not toxic or poisonous. However, that doesnt mean that certain types of toxic molds cant cause serious health problems. In fact, there are reports that Stachybotrys chartarum causes memory loss in adults in acute pulmonary hemorrhaging among infants. The sooner you have your home or business tested for black mold , the sooner the mold will be removed, and the less likely you will be to suffer from the following health problems.
Respiratory Difficulties People living in homes or working in businesses with toxic mold are exposed mainly through breathing in mold spores and mycotoxins in the air. Exposure to black mold can cause minor respiratory difficulties such as shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing. Long-term exposure can lead to more serious difficulties, including pulmonary edema and pulmonary hemorrhage .
Circulatory Difficulties The mycotoxins produced by black mold can be breathed in, ingested, or absorbed through a persons skin. After prolonged exposure, these mycotoxins find their way into the persons bloodstream. The circulatory difficulties stemming from black mold exposure include irregular heartbeat, heart inflammation, internal bleeding, and blood clots. If your doctor has diagnosed any such circulatory problems, schedule a mold inspection today.
Can You Just Cut Around The Mold
Unfortunately, no. Mold produces spores, which are tiny airborne particles that can spread quickly, and cause new mold growth.
So even if you cut off the visible mold, there could still be mold spores present on the food. These spores can cause all of the same health problems as eating moldy food. Overall, the potential health risks are just not worth the risk, so it is best to throw away any food that has mold on it.
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Other Ways Of Detecting And Identifying The Mold
If you are experiencing allergies whenever you walk into your house, chances are you have a mold problem. Some of the side effects of a mold infestation include:
- Coughing and lung problems
- Throat disturbance
- Nose bleeds
Furthermore, the reason for this is because mold is not good for you. It can harm your overall health. Mold is not deadly, meaning it will not kill you, but it is important to know that if you already have pre-existing medical conditions, such as asthma or sensitive skin, they can worsen with mold present.
You also need to remember: molds effects on your health are not caused by just touching it. The particles in the air from it alone can cause various health disturbances and worsen any pre-existing medical conditions.
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Black Mold Exposure Can Damage Your Circulatory System
Black mold spores can be inhaled, consumed, or absorbed through a persons skin or eyes. When mycotoxins find their way into the bloodstream, mycotoxins have the potential to cause serious damage.
Symptoms of circulatory system damage from black mold include:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Bleeding in the brain
How Do I Know If My House Has A Moisture Problem
One of the best ways to tell is by checking the humidity. A home with high humidity likely has a moisture problem. Musty smells suggest mold, mildew or rot. Household odors that linger may indicate too much moisture in the air. Frost and ice on cold surfaces from condensation can be a sign of excess moisture in the air as well.
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How Black Mold Spores Spread
Stachybotrys chartarum spores dont easily disseminate in the air because their clusters are generally covered with a layer of slime. However, when the clusters dry and are disturbed, spores can become aerosolized, as well as latch on to dust particles. Although black mold grows and spreads more slowly than other molds, research indicates that its aerosolized spores are present in as many as 13% of dwellings.
Where Is Mold Found In A Home
A research study found that Stachybotrys preferred a very high relative humidity within wallsapproximately 97%which indicates that relative humidity could be an important risk factor . For black mold, you may consider smaller microclimates that may harbor such humidity levels: sweating pipes, under sink cabinets, front loading washing machines, standing water, roof leaks, damp cars, windows with condensation, etc. Generally, common places to check for mold growth include the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room.
However, humidity alone is not the only requirement for mold growthmold requires nutrients to grow. Any environment that has nutrients like cellulose or other organic matter can harbor mold if the humidity level is right. To further enable mold growth, an environment that has poor air flow and minimal disruption is ideal. For example, you can find mold on wallpaper, furniture, drywall, overly-packed bookshelves or overstuffed closets.
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How Long After Eating Mold Will You Get Sick
If youre wondering how long it takes to feel the effects of eating mold, the answer is unfortunately not straightforward.
While some people may experience symptoms within a few hours of consuming moldy food, it can take days or even weeks for others to start feeling ill. And in some cases, people may never experience any ill effects from eating moldy food at all. This, however, does not necessarily mean that no damage was caused to your health. Ultimately, prevention is better than the cure. However, if you do suspect that youve consumed mold, be sure to seek medical assistance immediately, as its always better to be safe than sorry.
Where Black Mold Most Often Grows
Black mold grows in areas that stay consistently wet over long periods of timeso you won’t find it immediately after your toilet overflows, but you might notice it under the bathroom or kitchen sink where a slow drip has gone undetected. Look for it in “utility closets where your water heater is, basements, bathroomsanywhere you have the probability for moisture, or even groundwater seepagebasements are famous for that,” says Andersen. “It doesn’t need dark at all.” It’s also important to note that black mold isn’t the same gunk you might find on grout around an old bathtubthat’s more likely to be mildew, which thrives on residual dampness and dirt in your shower.
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Where Does Black Mold Grow
Black mold grows in high-moisture areas, typically attributed to water leaks or unmitigated standing water. Improperly remediated water damage can also promote black mold growth.
The most common places to find toxic black mold include:
- Inside walls, behind or on drywall
- Under subflooring
- Under sinks and inside cabinets
- In basements and crawl spaces
- In the attic or on roof trusses
- Within the building foundation
Pay particular attention to bedroom windows, where black mold thrivesespecially on older, single-pane glass. If you have children, inspect their bedroom windows regularly.
Black mold may be mistaken for other types of mold that grow in similar places, including aspergillus mold.
I Heard About Toxic Molds And Black Molds That Grow In Homes And Other Buildings Should I Be Concerned About A Serious Health Risk To Me And My Family
There is always a little mold everywhere in the air and on many surfaces.
Certain molds are toxigenic, meaning they can produce toxins . Hazards presented by molds that may produce mycotoxins should be considered the same as other common molds which can grow in your house. Not all fungi produce mycotoxins and even those that do will not do so under all surface or environmental conditions.
Mold growth, which often looks like spots, can be many different colors, and can smell musty. Color is not an indication of how dangerous a mold may be. Any mold should be removed and the moisture source that helped it grow should be removed.
There are very few reports that toxigenic molds found inside homes can cause unique or rare health conditions such as pulmonary hemorrhage or memory loss. These case reports are rare, and a causal link between the presence of the toxigenic mold and these conditions has not been proven.
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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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