How Mold Exposure Affects Your Health

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Even though many people aren’t really aware of this problem, the mold is creating big difficulties in many homes. Of course, everyone is always looking at places such as the basement, under the sink, or at the shower curtains when thinking about the mold issues, but the truth is that the mold can, actually, grow anywhere.

Types of Mold

There are literally hundreds and hundreds of different mold types that are able to grow in the modern homes, but they’re usually grouped into several categories, based on the effect that they have on the living beings. These are the three biggest categories:

  • Allergenic molds

As the name suggests, these kinds of molds can cause problems for the people who have asthma or have a predisposed allergy to a particular type of mold. They are on the low end of the whole danger scale – the organism of a grown person isn’t likely to develop problems caused by the allergenic molds.

  • Pathogenic molds

These kinds of molds can cause all sorts of infections, which could be quite a big issue for the people who have suppressed immune systems. Those that are exposed to this kind of mold could become ill with diseases such as bacterial pneumonia.

  • Toxigenic molds

These molds are able to produce mycotoxins, and these can cause some serious health issues. They are quickly absorbed into one’s body through inhalation or the food consumption and are often tied to diseases such as cancer or immunosuppression.

black mold

Dr. Joseph Mercola, famous alternative medicine proponent, and an osteopathic physician claims that these are the five most common indoor molds:

  • Aspergillus

The Aspergillus can be found in countries that have warm and damp climates, and are among the common occupants of the house dust. They produce mycotoxins and can cause severe lung issues.

  • Penicillium

This is a very common species of mold and can be found on objects such as the decaying fabrics, fiberglass duct insulations, wallpapers, and carpets. They can cause all sorts of allergies, as well as asthma, and some species are able to produce mycotoxins – one of them being the antibiotic penicillin.

  • Cladosporium

This is one of the most common outdoor fungi, growing on textiles, wood, and other materials that are porous and dump. They can trigger asthma symptoms and the hay fever.

  • Alternaria

These molds can be found in people’s noses, mouths, and their upper respiratory tracts, and are able to cause allergic responses.

  • Stachybotrys

This is the worst kind of mold, as it is extremely toxic and can cause serious breathing problems, like bleeding of the lungs. It’s much rarer than the previously mentioned types of molds and can appear on paper or wooden materials. It’s also known as the “black mold.”

Mold Can Make You Sick

Besides the fact that it can damage your house, the mold could bring you some serious health issues. It is estimated that 10% of the population is severely allergic to some kind of mold, and the reason behind that is the presence of the reproductive spores that most of the people react to. These spores also have an incredibly long “hang time,” which means that they can float in midair for hours and hours, making it very easy to inhale them.

If you’re a sensitive person, just a slight exposure to mold could cause you have problems such as a headache, runny nose, nausea, skin rash, cough, and sinus problems, or, in short – you’ll feel like you have a never-ending case of the flu. Mold can be particularly hazardous for the people with compromised immune systems, to newborns, elderly, and the sick people – for them, the consequences could be even fatal. As you know, toddlers and babies really like to crawl around the carpets and stick all sorts of things in their mouths, which makes them extremely vulnerable to illnesses induced by the toxic molds.

People that are super sensitive are often acting extremely about this – they will rid their homes of materials that are able to harbor the dust and dirt that the mold feeds on, replacing the texture materials with surfaces that are smooth and hard, and thus easier to keep clean. They will throw out things such as draperies and carpets, and replace them with metal window blinds and hardwood floors.

The houses that are newly-built and tightly sealed might be better at harboring the heat, but they’re also better at holding the moisture and the spores. The most critical thing here is to have mechanical ventilation (air-to-air heat exchanger), in order to have a healthy air quality.

Remember this – the time in which you’re most likely to inhale these harmful spores is the very same time you’re trying to eliminate them from your house, and that is when you should be extremely careful.

Signs Of the Mold-induces Illness

The combination of these symptoms can tell you that the mold caused you to have some serious illness:

  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Tingling and numbness
  • Sinus problems or asthma; having a shortness of breath and coughing
  • Digestive issues – nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or the change in appetite
  • Night sweats or temperature regulation
  • Problems with the memory, brain fog, having trouble with focusing, having headaches
  • Muscle cramping and aches which are hard to explain, as well as the persistent nerve pain
  • Problems with eyes – light sensitivity and red eyes
  • Vertigo and tremors
  • Metallic taste in the mouth
  • Increased urination and excessive thirst

How to Get Rid Of It, and Not Make the Matters Worse?

The first step in removing the mold is fixing the moisture problems which are setting the stage for the mold’s growth. No matter how much you scrub and replace the moldy materials, the mold will keep returning until you truly fix the problem. And fixing this problem can be incredibly simple, like sealing up the leaky duct on you air-conditioning, but also very daunting, such as the replacement of the whole roof or some similar operation.

Once you finally fix the moisture problem, you will be able to get rid of the moldy materials. And this needs to be done as carefully as possible – rough handling will stir up the spores and launch them into the air, where it will be very easy for you to inhale them. Remember this – one square foot of the moldy drywall can easily harbor over 300 million spores – now, you’re probably getting the picture of what happens when you slam dunk that area onto the floor – a true opening of the Pandora’s box!

Conclusion

The key in avoiding the illnesses caused by the mold spores is by being really careful when removing the materials that are filled with it. Don’t forget to wear a good respirator (the best are the triple-seal ones, coming with a P100 filter cartridge), and to move slowly in order to avoid stirring up the spores. Also, don’t forget to double-wrap or double-bag all of those materials that you will be discarding.

The best way to prevent the appearance of mold in the house is to keep it dry – properly ventilate your home and always carefully inspect the areas that are most likely to harbor mold. And if you want to keep your air clean you should consider buying an air purifier. We hope that we’ve been helpful with this article!

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