What are the Effects of Mold Exposure on Your Health?
Mold is a type of fungus that breaks down organic matter. There are thousands of species of molds; the classifications are so diverse that some are utilized for food production, food preservation, and in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals. For instance, the expensive and tasty blue cheese is produced by culturing clusters of blue mold or Penicillium, that is the same type of mold used to develop the antibiotic Penicillin. Suffice to say that not all molds are created equal as some kinds are beneficial and even edible, but when can mold actually pose a threat to our health?
Frequently, we see black, green, and white mold on food that indicates that it is already spoiled, but mold doesn’t only grow on food items. It thrives on any surface or environment that has excessive amounts of moisture and organic matter that can support its growth. This means that molds can grow outdoors and even indoors as long as the conditions are conducive for its development. And while some species can be of benefit to human use and consumption, others can present potential health concerns if not eradicated instantly.
How do molds affect your health?
Most of us probably think that we’re safe as long as we don’t swallow any mold on our food by accident. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Especially for others with a compromised immune system, serious allergies, or those who are already suffering from existing chronic respiratory conditions, they are the most susceptible to infections, mycotoxicosis or mold poisoning. According to the CDC or the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, early exposure to mold is even strongly linked to the development of asthma among children.
The health effects of mold exposure can range from mild symptoms to severe allergy reactions but they mostly manifest and affect the upper respiratory tract. Some signs of mold poisoning are coughing, wheezing, nasal congestion, and shortness of breath whereas others can experience soreness and itching in their eyes, headaches, rashes and other skin allergies.
Molds can affect your indoor air quality too since they expel mold spores into the air and multiply through that same way. While naturally healthy individuals have higher resistance to infection, that does not imply that they’re impervious to any mold-related ailment. Black mold as it is more commonly known or Stachybotrys chartarum is a greenish-black mold that has been said to discharge toxic particles into the air called “mycotoxins”. Black mold is often found in water-damaged buildings, papers, gypsum boards, and fiberboards.
In the1990s, there have been claims that inordinate exposure to black mold spores were associated with the death of several children in Cleveland, Ohio who died from pulmonary hemorrhage. However, the CDC insists that further studies are needed to prove the connection between black mold and severe respiratory illnesses. Nonetheless, everybody is advised to be cautious in treating mold issues inside their home or workplace no matter what type of mold is present in their area.
How do molds grow indoors?
Mold spores are everywhere. They can’t be contained in one area because they’re microorganisms that travel through the air and are invisible to the naked eye, but don’t freak out because most of the time they’re dormant. They wouldn’t develop unless the conditions are ideal for growth. So, unless your place is teeming with dust, dirt, and high levels of moisture, then that is the only time they tend to spread and grow.
Mold spores can attach themselves to any type of object or sometimes even to people but they proliferate typically in places that have been flooded or dark and enclosed spaces with water and condensation build up. That said, they’re usually found in leaking roofs and pipes, in the air ducts, drywalls, ceilings, upholstery, carpets, damp fabrics, wood items, window seals, tile grouts, basements, attics, and crawl spaces.
How can you prevent the growth of molds inside your home?
Although mold spores can’t be avoided completely, surely there are ways you can prevent the growth of mold in your property or workplace. It begins with observing proper maintenance, regular cleaning, and adequate ventilation. So, we’ve rounded up some tips for you on how you can keep a healthy and mold-free environment for your family and peers.
- Open your windows while cleaning so that the humidity doesn’t get trapped and the air can circulate.
- Install exhaust fans in the bathroom and kitchen.
- Dry out your shower area or bathtub every after use.
- Promptly fix leaks in the roof or plumbing.
- Use a dehumidifier to control humidity levels inside your home.
- Make sure that you dry out clothes outside of your home.
- Get rid of damp carpets and fabrics that are already harboring mold.
- Conduct regular inspections, cleaning, and maintenance.
- Removing mold as soon as you see them.
- Opt for a basement and/or crawl space encapsulation.
But in case you’re already deep into a moldy situation, don’t dilly-dally and get yourself a professional mold removal company as soon as you can, but make sure to vet these contractors first before signing the deal. For homeowners in Virginia and North Carolina, you can consult Hero Crawlspace Encapsulation for an affordable and excellent mold removal service.