How Much Mold Exposure Is Harmful
While there is no magic number for how much black mold you need to be exposed to before it poses health risks, no level of contact is truly healthy, and you should take steps to avoid or limit your exposure. Every persons body reacts differently, and some individuals may have a higher tolerance before exhibiting symptoms of harmful exposure.
If you suspect you were exposed to black mold, look at the symptoms below and contact your physician if youre experiencing any of them.
How Is Aspergillosis Treated
Treatment options include oral corticosteroids, antifungal medications, and surgery.
- Oral corticosteroid drugs: Solid or liquid oral medications may be prescribed to treat allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis. These drugs reduce inflammation and prevent respiratory symptoms, such as wheezing and coughing, from getting worse. Some of the most commonly used drugs are prednisone, prednisolone, and methylprednisolone.
- Antifungal drugs: These medications are generally used to treat invasive pulmonary aspergillosis. Voriconazole is currently the drug of choice because it causes fewer side effects and appears to be more effective than other medications. Amphotericin B or itraconazole are also effective in treating infection. Caspofungin is sometimes used in cases where the infection is resistant to the other antifungals. Antifungal drugs are sometimes used along with oral corticosteroids when treating ABPA. Antifungals can cause serious side effects, such as kidney and liver damage.
- Surgery: Surgery may be necessary in cases when aspergillomas are present and cause serious problems, such as excessive bleeding. Antifungal medications are usually not effective against aspergillomas, so surgery is recommended. Embolization may be an option to block blood flow to the artery supplying blood to the lung cavity where the fungus ball is located. This will stop the bleeding, but it may recur later.
Prevent Mold Growth With Routine Maintenance
To prevent mold growth, we suggest using a dehumidifier during the warm months and providing your home or business with the proper ventilation. Use exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens. Clean surfaces with mold-killing products.
Keep your humidity levels below 50 percent. Humidity levels shift throughout the day. Inspecting your structure for mold growth is an important part of routine building maintenance.
Seek treatment from a doctor soon as you notice any eye irritation, skin irritation or other common symptoms after exposure to mold, especially when symptoms persist. Its better to be safe than sorry. ECOS Environmental is happy to step in and test your home or business for mold and assist with the cleanup and renovation.
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What Can You Do
In addition to visible mould, other signs of damp problems may include: mould odour, water stains, frequent condensation, peeling or cracked paint or wall paper, damp basement, and standing water under or around the house.
No safe levels of indoor dampness and or mould have been defined. So health-based standards or guidelines do not exist.
Nonetheless, there are several practicable measures you can take to prevent or minimise indoor mould. These include adequately heating and, in colder climates, insulating your home to reduce air humidity levels and condensation.
Install and use appropriate ventilation, particularly in wet areas or areas where water vapour may be emitted, such as bathrooms, laundries and kitchen areas.
Its also critical to avoid water leaks by controlling and maintaining rain and surface water drainage. Where holes are created in the roof or walls to allow skylights, windows, doors, pipes or other structures to be fitted, make sure these are watertight.
If you find visible mould in your home, remove the mould and identify and address the cause of the excess moisture. Clean hard surfaces using soap and water or, if mould growth is persistent, a bleach solution could be used. You may need to throw away absorbent materials such as carpets, depending on the level of contamination.
In case of extensive mould damage, you may need to call on commercial mould remediation services.
How To Get Rid Of Mold In Your Home
Mold should be removed as quickly as possible.
To clean mold off hard surfaces, such as tile, scrub with soap and water, commercial products, or use bleach. To make a bleach solution, mix 1 cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water. When cleaning with bleach, be sure to protect your skin and eyes, and allow for plenty of ventilation.
You may not be able to save porous or absorbent materials such as drywall, ceiling tiles, and carpeting. Once theyve become soaked or are growing mold, they generally need to be removed and replaced.
For big mold problems, consider hiring a professional cleaning company experienced in removing mold. If its not completely cleaned, it can start growing again. For that reason, its important to fix the source of the problem as well.
If your home has a lot of mold and you have health concerns, ask your doctor if you should stay away until the situation is remedied.
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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.
Types Of Mold By Color
Different types of molds come in varying colors and often spark distinct allergic reactions.
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Actions You Can Take To Reduce Mould
The most important actions you can take to prevent mould in your home are those that minimise moisture.
- Fix leaky plumbing and roofs and other building faults
- Ensure gutters are cleared and maintained
- Reduce condensation by using exhaust fans, or open windows in the bathroom and kitchen when showering, cooking or using the dishwasher
- Wipe up excess water caused by condensation such as on single glazed windows and on shower glazing
- Air the home regularly by opening windows and doors on warmer days
- Vent clothes dryers to the outside and clean lint filters according to the manufacturers instructions.
Refer to information about cleaning up mould: refer to the information on the Better Health Channel website.
What Should You Do If You Think Black Mold Is Making You Sick
You need to do two things, and do them both as soon as possible. You need to get medical treatment and you need to remove the mold from your home. Medical treatment is not likely to be effective as long as you continue to be exposed to black mold.
If you think you might be suffering from black mold health issues, you need to see your doctor as soon as possible. Let your doctor know if youve been exposed to mold in your home. If youve had the mold in your home tested and know it is stachybotrys chartarum, let your doctor know that, as well.
Your doctor may need to order some tests, such as blood tests or a chest x-ray, to help make a diagnosis. The tests will depend on the symptoms you are experiencing, as will the treatment prescribed.
Exposure to black mold can cause a wide range of illnesses, as described above, so treatment will vary depending on how the mold exposure is affecting you. You may need antibiotics or other medications.
In order to recover from black mold health issues, youll need to have the mold removed from your home. Continued exposure will impede your recovery and your condition may continue to worsen even with treatment as long as you are still exposed to black mold.
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Some Of The Symptoms Associated With Mold And Mycotoxins Can Include:
- Chronic burning in the throat and nasal passages
- Coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath
- Eye irritation red eyes, blurred vision
- Increased urinary frequency, increased sweating , or increased thirst
- Abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating
- Metallic taste in mouth
As you can see, the list is quite long! It is also not a list of symptoms that would immediately point a doctor to a specific illness. Some symptoms manifest immediately, but others such as poor color distinction, dizziness, fatigue, poor memory, and difficulty word finding may take months or years to develop.
Rental Properties With Mould Issues
When a rental property has mould, the owner should fix any mould caused by faults in gutters or other fixtures, but the tenant should ensure that extractor fans are used when available and the home is aired regularly where possible.
Sometimes, the cause of the mould growth may be due to a building fault that may not be easily rectified.
If as a tenant, you have taken measures to make sure the building is properly ventilated and mould is still growing, you should raise the issue with the owner.
Information on mould in rental properties is available on Consumer Affairs Victorias website.
Tenants seeking further advice on their rights can also contact the Tenants Union of Victoria on .
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Types Of Mold Categorized By Health Effects
Mold Exposure And Serious Conditions
Moldspores can aggravate symptoms in people with more serious conditions. Three ofthe most serious conditions are:
- Bronchopulmonary aspergillosis
This condition happens to people with severe asthma and cystic fibrosis.When spores trigger strong reactions, they can cause coughing , fever, and severe asthmatic symptoms.
Aspergilloma is a condition where spores invade body cavities, includingthe lungs. This condition often happens to people with tuberculosis or emphysema.Symptoms include wheezing breath, coughing blood, difficulties in breathing,and fatigue.
Aspergillosis is the more severe level of aspergillosis. It is acondition where the infection spreads from lungs to other organs, such askidneys, heart, skin, and even brain. However, it only happens when the personsuffers from low immunity.
Peoplewho already suffer from a certain type of cancer could experience worsecondition when exposed to mold. Chemotherapy and certain types of drugs canalso suppress the immune system.
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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.
What Are Symptoms Of Black Mold Poisoning
The symptoms of black mold poisoning vary from person to person and are also affected by how much you were exposed to.
Exposure typically causes effects characteristic of an allergic reaction or respiratory issues like asthma. Long-term contact is also linked to health risks like chronic respiratory and neurological issues. A recent study found that 93% of patients suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome tested positive for the presence of mycotoxins in their bloodstreams. People who have an immunodeficiency or who suffer from certain illnesses like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder or where affected by the coronavirus are especially at risk to toxicity.
You may experience any of the symptoms below, either on their own or in combination with one another. Since many of these effects can be indicative of conditions or illnesses unrelated to toxic exposure, you should consult with your doctor for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
- Red, itchy eyes
- Coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, or sinus congestion
- Headaches, difficulty concentrating, confusion, forgetfulness, or brain fog
- Weakness, extreme tiredness
- Joint pain, aches, muscle cramping, or nerve pain
- Insomnia, depression, or anxiety
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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, .
What Causes Nasal Congestion
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