There are many effects that mold can have on your health, so it is important to recognize the signs of mold and what to do if it is in your home. This can be difficult since you can find mold everywhere, and the symptoms of mold exposure are not always distinct from other common illnesses.
Mold is a natural part of the environment and can be found almost anywhere. Because it is a type of fungal growth, mold thrives in damp areas. It is not usually a problem unless it begins to grow indoors, which is most often a result of when excess moisture is present inside of a building.
If mold growth is not identified and addressed quickly, it can lead to many structural problems that can be expensive and time-consuming to fix. This is especially true if mold grows in more absorbent areas that must be entirely replaced, such as drywall, carpets, or ceiling tiles.
But even more concerning than the structural issues caused by mold are the risks of health complications resulting from prolonged exposure to mold. The severity of the reactions to mold exposure depends on the type and amount of mold present, your proximity to the mold, and the length of time spent in the area affected by mold.
In recent years, many news reports about the health issues accompanying “black mold.” However, the reality of mold exposure is far less dramatic, albeit still a serious concern. What is referred to as “black mold” is a fairly common mold called Stachybotrys chartarum and has not been proven to be any more dangerous than other common molds.
In reality, all mold can cause a reaction in people who are sensitive or allergic to mold. All mold replicates by creating and releasing microscopic spores into the air. Once a spore lands on a surface that can accommodate growth with excess moisture, mold will quickly create a home and begin to multiply and expand over the surface.
During the different growth stages of mold, various gases and something called microbial volatile organic compounds (mVOCs) are released into the air. These are often the culprits for the unpleasant musky smell that emanates from mold and the adverse side effects experienced when exposed to mold.
Many health problems can be caused by contact with mold, but the most common and significant effects are allergic reactions, respiratory complications, and neurological issues.
The rest of this article will address each of these three possible effects that mold can have on your health and possible suggestions to fix the problems accompanying mold in your home or business.
Allergens are substances that can cause an allergic reaction, and mold produces many of them. As mentioned before, spores, mVOCs, and other gases are all released into the air by mold, no matter the type of mold.
All these can elicit allergic reactions in humans and animals, which are the most common reactions to mold exposure. In most cases, these allergy symptoms are similar to hayfever:
- Runny nose
- Red eyes
- Itchy throat
While most of the allergens will affect the sinuses, other reactions are topical. If your skin comes in contact with mold, you can also develop skin irritation or a rash.
Diagnosing a mold allergy is usually done with a skin prick or blood test. The best way to prevent symptoms is to avoid exposure to triggers, but since mold is ever present it can be difficult to avoid contact with any mold.
Treating mold allergies can consist of medications that attempt to address the responses of your immune system that cause inflammation and excess mucus to help get rid of the allergens. These medications include corticosteroids, antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal lavage (sinus rinse).
We are constantly breathing in various contaminants present in the air we breathe, including mold spores. When enough spores and other pollutants are inhaled, your respiratory system can be negatively affected.
Individuals with asthma and other respiratory conditions are more likely to experience complications when exposed to mold. The asthma symptoms are often exacerbated by the presence of mold and the allergic reactions mentioned above. Using an inhaler or other asthma treatments can help alleviate the symptoms, but the best solution for your health is to eliminate and prevent mold from growing in your home.
It is also important to note that immunocompromised people can be more prone to develop respiratory infections from mold exposure. One such infection is hypersensitivity pneumonitis and causes flu-like symptoms that often recur if the mold is not properly taken care of.
There is still a lot unknown about the effects that mold can have on your health, but there have been cases of individuals experiencing neurological issues from mold exposure. The most common of these issues are headaches and dizziness.
It can be difficult to understand precisely what causes these neurological symptoms entirely. Still, one thought is that the body’s response to mold allergens or contaminants is inflammation, as seen with both the previous allergic reactions and respiratory complications.
When tissues in the brain and spinal cord become inflamed, it can cause headaches, dizziness, and cognitive impairment in some rare cases. There is still research being done on these severe effects of mold on the body.
If you think you or someone living or working in the same area as you are experiencing these symptoms and health effects, be sure to see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment plan. The next step is to get a professional restoration team to help remove the mold safely and make the necessary renovations and improvements to prevent the mold from returning or expanding to other areas.
Whether health problems are a concern, it is always best to address mold properly if found inside your home. Keep your family safe from health effects and structural issues in your house by inspecting your home often for signs of mold and getting help to take care of the problem as quickly as possible properly.
Urgent Mold Restoration From Total Flood and Fire Restoration
Total Flood and Fire Restoration is serious about the effects that mold can have on your health. That is why our team of experts is ready and available to identify the source of the mold, eliminate the mold safely, effectively prevent future mold growth, and get your home and belongings back to their best condition.
If you suspect mold is present in your home, contact us today!