HEALTH EFFECTS OF MOLD EXPOSURE: SYMPTOMS & RISKS
Mold is a kind of fungus that grows and thrives in dark, wet places. As we spend almost every hour of the day inside between work and home, it's important to make sure you are not breathing harmful mold spores into your system on account of poor ventilation or moisture buildup. Exposure can cause a variety nuisance symptoms such as allergy flareups right up to life-threatening lung disease due to toxins released by fungi present indoors!
Mold exposure poses a risk to your health, even if you don't realize it right away. The longer that people are exposed, the higher their chance of being negatively affected by mold in the future.
Mold poses a particular danger to those with pre-existing health conditions. This includes people who are immune compromised, or have existing allergies, asthma and lung conditions. Children and the elderly also face increased risk of adverse reactions from mold exposure.
Sitting and growing in your home, mold can destroy clothes, furniture, as well as other personal belongings if not quickly eliminated. This fungus is known to eat away at organic materials which may require you to spend a lot of time and money trying to make the damage disappear.
If you find mold in your home, leave the removal and remediation to the professionals.
What Types Of Mold Cause Health Problems
Mold causes reactions in your body in 3 main ways.
- Allergic Responses
- Pathogenic Responses
- Toxigenic Responses
Everyone is sensitive to mold in different ways, and the types of molds found inside a home also affects how people react. It can be influenced by your level of sensitivity as well.
Symptoms of Mold Exposure
Allergenic molds are the most common type of mold found in homes. In healthy people, low to moderate levels of allergenic molds don't usually pose a problem but those with preexisting allergies or compromised immune system might experience an allergic reaction from them.
When exposed to a large number of spores, even the healthiest person can begin showing symptoms from mold exposure.
Mild symptoms include itchy eyes, a stuffy nose, sneezing and skin rash. More severe allergenic reactions involve difficulty breathing and potentially vomiting or diarrhea as well in addition to dizziness
Some commonly found allergenic molds include:
Pathogenic molds are generally more dangerous than allergenic, with reactions separated in three categories.
- Superficial reactions - on-top of the skin, including skin rash, skin infection, & nail infections.
- Subcutaneous reactions - below the surface of the skin including infections.
- Systemic reactions - system or organ reactions that are extremely dangerous and can be life-threatening. Reactions include kidney, lung, liver, and other organ infection and failure.
Some commonly found pathogenic molds include:
Toxigenic molds are some of the most dangerous types of mold as they release mycotoxins that can have serious health consequences if inhaled or ingested.
Some symptoms of toxigenic mold exposure symptoms include:
- Skin rash
- Liver damage
- Nervous system damage
- Lung infection & disease
- Hormone disorders
- Hypersensitive pneumonitis
- Toxic mold syndrome
- Respiratory problems
Some commonly found toxigenic molds include:
- Stachybotrys (black mold)
- About 20 other varieties found inside
Long Term Effects Of Mold Exposure
If you find mold in your home, it may not be worth worrying about. It's short-term health effects are normally easy to spot and don't last long; however, the long-term consequences of having a high level of exposure can stay with someone for years after leaving an area where there was significant mold growth.
People often do not know what is wrong with them, especially since a long-term illness may cause an increase in allergy symptoms or slow down the development of acute respiratory problems. Not only that, but they can also have asthma reactions which get worse over time.
Long-term exposure to mold can lead to serious respiratory problems, lung scarring and even some types of cancer. While those who remove the mold may recover from their symptoms, others suffer permanent damage that cannot be repaired once they have been exposed.
Who Are The Most At Risk Of Mold Exposure
Mold sensitivity is unique to each person. For example, exposure to mold can be influenced by genetics and the environment you live in. Additionally, there are different types of molds that may cause symptoms more severe than others depending on your current health condition/sensitivity level .
You can contact mold in 3 main ways: Inhalation, ingestion, and physical contact.
The following people may be more susceptible to negative health effects of mold:
- Those who are Immune-compromised
- Those who have severe allergies
- Those who have asthma
- Those who are already sensitive to mold
The longer someone spends in a house with mold spores the higher their risk of developing some sort of symptom including coughing, wheezing rhinitis (runny nose), nasal congestion and/or red eyes.
However these are just general examples as every person's immune system reacts uniquely due to no two being exactly alike which is why each should visit the doctor once they start experiencing any signs like mentioned above.
Can Mold Cause Asthma In Children?
Recently, a link between mold exposure and childhood asthma has been established.
According to a study published in science daily, “Infants who live in "moldy" homes are three times more likely to develop asthma by age 7 -- an age that children can be accurately diagnosed with the condition”
Having your home inspected for mold is one of the most important things you can do if you have infants or small children.
Signs of Black Mold Exposure
The health effects of black mold (Stachybotrys) are worth a special mention because it is common in areas damaged by water, and how toxic it can be to human health.
Black mold releases mycotoxins, toxic substances that can cause severe and sometimes deadly reactions.
Some black mold symptoms include:
- Itchy, red, or watering eyes
- Skin rash
- Runny nose
- Difficulty Breathing
- Asthma symptoms
- Chronic fatigue
With long-term black mold exposure, several symptoms can appear. These include headaches that come back again and again without any reason; vomiting for no apparent cause; memory loss which makes it difficult to remember things clearly or in full detail; dizziness even when there is nothing making you feel this way like motion sickness or lack of sleep/food intake etc.; sudden mood swings with unpredictable behavior all the time.
If you find black mold in your home, leave the area immediately and contact a professional to have it removed. Mold can bpe extremely dangerous if inhaled or ingested so hiring an expert is recommended for anyone concerned about their health.
How Long Does It Take To Get Sick From Mold Exposure?
If you're exposed to mold, there's a good chance that the symptoms will show up within one or two days. However, some people may not notice anything for weeks or months after exposure.
One issue is that mold often mimic those of other sicknesses. It very often gets misdiagnosed with other disorders such as:
- Chronic fatigue
- Lyme disease
- Bipolar disorder
How Do You Know If Mold Is Making You Sick?
Mold exposure can be difficult to diagnose, but there are a few tell-tale signs that you should look out for. In addition to blood and urine tests in combination with genetic and environmental factors, your doctor may suggest the use of special equipment like an electron microscope which is used by industry professionals who deal with hazardous materials such as mold spores on a regular basis.
If you’re experiencing any mystery or uncommon symptoms, you may be suffering from mold sickness.
If mold is present in your home, it could serve as an indication of poor indoor air quality and other problems. A certified mold removal technician can determine if this is the case for you along with what kind there may be and how much exists. This information will help doctors understand more about what's going on inside your body so they know how to best treat you
Mold Exposure Treatment
Not fixing the source of water leaks in your home can cause mold to grow and make you sick. The key is finding where there are moisture problems, like under the sink or around windows that get a lot of condensation during winter months.
Mold remediation can only be performed by trained professionals who have the necessary resources to remove mold safely and effectively.
When a mold infestation is removed from your home, it's highly recommended that you give yourself some time to flush out the toxins from your body. It’s probably not worth taking any chances with an online solution since there are many fake products and verified solutions may vary between people.
You must talk to your doctor about which mold treatment method works best for you.
How To Keep Mold Out Of The Home
The most important thing you can do to prevent mold in your home is moisture control. Molds thrive on wet surfaces, so making sure there's no water seeping into the cracks and crevices of a space is key!
You can control mold by:
- Keeping moisture levels under 50%
- Fixing a leaky roof, pipes, windows, or faucets immediately.
- Thoroughly drying any carpet, flooring, furniture, or drywall if gets wet
- Not leaving wet clothes in the washer or piles on the floor
- Ensuring all home appliances are well vented outside the home including heater, air conditioner, washer, dryer, shower, stove range hood, etc.
- Fresh air is one of the best weapons against mold growth. Keep windows open as much possible to promote air flowing throughout the home.
What To Do If You Find Mold In Your Home
If you suspect or find mold in your home, do not attempt to remove it yourself. Call a professional company immediately if the area is larger than 1 square meter so they can safely and effectively handle remediation for you.
If you don't remove the mold properly or wear appropriate safety gear, it can result in inhaling and ingesting large amounts of spores. Disturbing them could lead to spreading spores throughout your home.
Contact Mold Removal Winnipeg and book your appointment for a no-obligation inspection.