Mold Problems: Hidden Health Dangers

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Mold is a consequence of moisture. Mold has been on earth for millions of years, and it’s all around us: on some surfaces and in the air. But exposure can pose a serious health risk to you, your family, employees or consumers. Everyone is at risk when mold is involved.

Long-term exposure can have life-changing consequences, but there are also people that are extra sensitive to mold that may suffer from:

  • Coughing
  • Eye irritation
  • Wheezing
  • Skin irritation

Allergies will also impact some people differently.

Underlying Health Problems Caused by Mold

Mold is scary because it can often go undetected. Mold can be present in a residential home, commercial pipe lining or even in the ceiling. Small leaks or moisture can lead to mold growth, and some homes are completely abandoned because of mold growth.
The main health problems caused by mold, include:

  1. Allergic reactions. Allergies to mold do exist. If a person has allergies to mold, they may suffer from wheezing, eye irritation, stuffy nose and skin irritation. Shortness of breath and fever are also seen in severe cases.
  2. Respiratory issues. A person that is exposed to mold over the long-term may experience respiratory issues as the mold spores enter the lungs. Coughing and wheezing are possible along with pneumonia in severe cases.
  3. Asthma. Asthma is normally seen at birth, but studies are now finding that asthma can be developed by exposure to mold.

Some people will also have minor irritations and symptoms from mold exposure, including:

  • Stuffy nose
  • Headaches
  • Coughs

Persons with respiratory issues and other health conditions may be more impacted than others when exposed to mold. It’s a serious issue, but it’s also an issue that you can control.

Mold Control From the CDC

Mold is serious, and in most cases, you’ll want to call on a professional to test and properly remove the mold in your home. There’s no other option than to remove the mold if it’s present.

The first step is to:

  • Clean up any remaining water.
  • Fix the cause of the moisture (i.e. pipes, windows or roof leaks).
  • Control your humidity levels.

If you’ve corrected the source of the water or moisture, it’s time to start removing the mold in your home. Mold removal by a professional is recommended, but small cases of mold can often be cleaned using:

  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1 cup of laundry bleach

Mix the two together and clean the hard surface. Other surface types will need remediation to be fixed properly. This may mean removing the section completely and replacing it in the most severe cases.

Mold exposure can be serious if residing in a home or remaining in a room that has mold often. The good thing is that exposure treatment often only includes avoidance. Avoiding the mold will reverse the symptoms of mold exposure.

Antihistamines can be used, too, to help prevent allergies to mold exposure.
In very rare situations, long-term exposure to mold has caused memory loss and pulmonary hemorrhage. Toxigenic mold may be the cause of these problems, but studies have not been conclusive.

Mold can go undetected for long periods of time, but there are always a few telltale signs that mold may be growing in your space. The few signs that mold growth may be present include:

  • Odors. Mold is known to smell musty, and if you have a musty smell in your home, it may be time for a mold inspection. Musty odors are often in basements, and the key reason being is that basements are wet and damp.
  • Discoloration. Look at your ceiling or air vents. If you notice any discoloration or damage, this may be an indicator that mold is threatening your space.
  • Leaks. If leaks are allowed to persist, they will turn into mold-producing problems. You need to be able to control the leaks if you want to put an end to your mold problem. Leaks anywhere can lead to mold, including pipes, ceilings and anywhere else.

Symptoms that you experience, such as the flu-like symptoms mentioned earlier, will worsen in the rain when mold growth is present. Keep this in mind when trying to determine if mold is in your home or building.

Inspectors can be called out to the area to inspect and verify if mold growth is present and the extent of the damage.

This article is for educative purposes only and not to be substituted for professional medical advice.

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