In nature, mold aids in the decomposition of organic materials. For this reason, it acts as an allergen that can aggravate even healthy individuals. Those with allergies or other health issues may experience more severe symptoms of mold exposure. While the health risks caused by mold are often exaggerated, exposure to mold does cause another of problems.
Mold exists all around us and is likely to thrive wherever there is a consistent source of moisture. It lives on organic matter and prefers a warm, humid environment. Common in basements, bathrooms, kitchens, and crawl spaces, mold grows in areas that have a persistent source of moisture. There are more than 100,000 types of mold and it’s impossible to tell them apart by color, shape, or size.
Symptoms of Mold Exposure
- Nasal or sinus congestion
- Sinus Headaches
- Runny nose
- Difficulty breathing
- Tightness in the chest
- Throat irritation
Common Health Risks of Mold Exposure
Moderate to severe allergies are one of the most common symptoms of mold exposure. Even those who usually do not have allergies may experience symptoms caused by mold. In most people, they are similar to hay fever and include red, itchy eyes, a runny nose, and sneezing. Some individuals may also develop a rash.
These allergies are not seasonal and will continue as long as the sensitive individual is exposed to the mold. Some people are also allergic to mold. If you have symptoms that indicate a mold allergy, you should seek an allergist and get tested to determine your sensitivity to mold.
Asthma attacks are another common health risk caused by mold. Even if you’ve never experienced asthma issues before, you may develop tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing. Individuals prone to asthma attacks may have more frequent attacks or more severe symptoms.
Fatigue and Depression
While not well documented or fully understood by medical or scientific professionals, there may be a connection between mold exposure and unexplained fatigue or depression. Symptoms of fatigue may be associated with frequent allergies or asthma attacks.
Although rare, fungal infections of the sinuses, digestive tract, lungs, or skin are possible health risks of mold exposure. Fungal infections are most common in individuals with immune deficiencies, severe mold allergies, and chronic lung or respiratory issues, pneumonia.
Individuals With Higher Risks for Symptoms Caused by Mold
When looking out for your loved ones it is important to know that certain people are more susceptible to health hazards due to mold exposure. If you or other people in your home are included in one or more of these categories it is especially important for you to keep an eye out for mold growth within the home.
- Immune Deficiencies – People with compromised immune systems are more likely to experience serve symptoms after mold exposure. Infections of the digestive tract, the sinuses, the lungs or the skin are also possible with persistent exposure
- Respiratory Infections or Diseases – Mold exposure can result in more severe symptoms in those with respiratory infectors and diseases like pneumonia, chronic respiratory disease (CRD), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and respiratory tract infections. Fungal infections of the lung are also more common.
- Allergies or Asthma – Individuals with seasonal allergies or asthma are also at higher risk for symptoms caused by mold. Typically this includes more frequent symptoms, but more severe attacks are also possible.
- Young Childen – Infants and young children have lower immune systems that are more prone to developing symptoms caused by mold. However, there is no conclusive scientific evidence that mold exposure can result in the death of infants.
- The Elderly – Like young children, elderly individuals also have a lower immune system. They are also more likely to have other health conditions that can impact the severity of mold symptoms.
Preventing Symptoms of Mold Exposure
The most effective way to prevent symptoms of mold exposure is by preventing mold in your property. Mold is the symptom of some water issue, so you should check regularly for water leaks. Even a small amount of water can lead to mold. Basements, kitchens, and bathrooms are the most likely to have mold problems, but mold can grow in any area where moisture is present.
The majority of your plumbing runs through your basement, which can lead to plenty of plumbing issues. Inspect your plumbing systems regularly. in finished basements, look for water stains or other signs of water damage. Repair or replace plumbing and HVAC equipment as necessary.
Mold is common in the kitchen due to both the number of plumbing fixtures as well as condensation and humidity from cooking. Use an exhaust fan whenever possible or open a window when cooking. Check your plumbing regularly, including behind your refrigerator and underneath your dishwasher. Prevent mold by cleaning regularly with a solution of bleach and water.
Like kitchens, bathrooms are prone to mold due to the plumbing systems and humidity from your shower. Vent your bathroom with an exhaust fan or open a window when bathing. Inspect your shower curtain, caulking, tile grout, and your pipes regularly for signs of mold or water leaks. Wash your bathroom with a bleach and water solution weekly to prevent mold from developing.
A Note About Using Bleach
Mold is a symptom of some persistent source of water. While bleach does kill mold, it will return as long as the moisture remains. For that reason, cleaning with bleach is an effective measure to safeguard against a mold issue. However, bleach is not effective at removing mold permanently.
The Mold Remediation Process
If you have symptoms of mold exposure or see mold, you should have your property inspected by a mold removal and remediation company.
- Identify and repair the source of moisture that resulted in mold.
- Contain the contaminated area. Close doors or windows between the mold-contaminated space and the rest of the building. Taping thick plastic sheeting over doorways.
- Misting the treatment area will help stop dust from spreading mold spores.
- Dispose of all porous materials that are wet, even if they are not obviously mold-infected. Seal them in heavy duty plastic bags to prevent contaminating other areas during disposal.
- Thoroughly clean non-porous surfaces with a strong detergent solution then rinsed with clean water.
- Dry affected areas using standing fans or commercial air movers.
- Inspect the area for visible contamination, dirt, dust, and debris.
- Disinfected with a hospital-grade disinfectant. Optionally, you may want to use a commercial deodorizing agent too.
- The areas where mold carrying materials have been removed and disposed of are then replaced or, where possible, repaired.
Get Profession Mold Removal Services Now
If you have visible mold or are concerned about mold in your property, call Restoration Local now at 1-888-443-3110. As the largest network of restoration companies, we’ll connect you with a local, on-call mold removal company. Our on-call mold restoration companies offer a free estimate on mold remediation services. You can also locate a local mold removal company near you now.