How Dangerous Is Household Mold?
Mold causes a number of reactions, ranging from minor throat and nose irritations to serious respiratory problems.
Mold needs three conditions in order to thrive: an ideal temperature, moisture, and food.
Unfortunately, most houses provide all of these conditions, which means that most homes are susceptible to mold growth.
The Mayo Clinic published an article stating that 93 percent of all cases of chronic sinusitis are caused by mold, not as an allergic reaction, but as an immune system response. Sinusitis is just one of the dangers of black mold –a toxic variety of mold that can cause serious and in some cases, life-threatening health problems.
However, not all molds and mold spores are considered toxic. Toxic black mold is often caused by a long-term moisture problem, and one that is more commonly found in foreclosed homes that have been empty and abandoned for months.
But that doesn’t mean you should take mold lightly. One of the dangers of mold is that it can easily go undetected. Mold often hides behind wallpaper, under carpeting, and in other out-of-sight areas, making it difficult to spot. If you do find mold in your home, it can be difficult to determine which type of mold it is, since mold takes on different colors depending on the spores it produces, and can be white, orange, or even blue. Some types of white colored mold can be just as dangerous as black mold.
Signs of Mold: What to Look For
Knowing what to look for is important for preventing mold from taking over. When left unchecked, mold often requires serious remediation and renovation in order to combat it.
Mold is commonly found in areas where moisture is prevalent. Leaky pipes, roofs, damp basements, flooded areas, and even clogged gutters can make for mold-friendly environments. Your shower and bathroom areas are also ideal environments for mold.
Here are a few things to look out for, signs can often indicate that there’s a mold problem.
- Cracked and peeling paint
- A musty smell
- Discoloration of walls, ceilings and floors
Health Related Issues: Symptoms and Reactions to Mold
Mold affects everyone differently, and while some people seem to be immune to certain types of mold, others can have serious health-related issues due to mold. Mold also triggers a number of serious symptoms for those who suffer from asthma or allergies.
While not everyone will react the same to mold, you should be aware of some symptoms that could be a reaction to mold. Keep in mind that everyone reacts differently, and some people have a much stronger reaction than others.
Some health related issues include:
- Runny nose
- Skin rash
- Respiratory problems
- Nasal congestion
- Dry cough
- Skin rashes and irritation
- Memory impairment
- Difficulty concentrating
- Food intolerances and allergies
Asthma attacks can also be triggered in those who are allergic to mold. More severe reactions to mold may include difficulty breathing and fever.
What to Do?
If you suspect that you may have a mold problem in your home, having a certified mold inspector come over for an inspection is a good step in the right direction. You can also take precautions to help reduce the chances of mold growing in your home by cleaning mold-prone areas frequently with a cleaner that’s designed to combat mold stains, eliminating mold-producing problems such as leaky pipes or roofs, equipping your home with dehumidifiers, and drying wet areas immediately.
The best way to combat mold, is by being aware and being proactive. If you suspect you have mold, don’t wait for it to get out of hand. It’s important to determine which species of mold is in your home, since black mold and other toxic varieties should be dealt with as quickly as possible.
Take action to prevent mold from spreading today!
What about you? Have you had to tackle a mold problem in your home? Leave us a comment on what caused the issue and how you handled it.
Image: William Brawley