The Health Dangers of Black Mold
About 45 million buildings throughout the US have unhealthy levels of mold. If you have mold in your home, it can cause serious health problems. Mold can even contribute to an existing respiratory illness like asthma.
Mold is a fungus that can grow in practically any environment. If you have a healthy immune system, you can probably fight its effects. Children or family members with weaker immune systems, however, could easily get sick.
Do you know the health dangers of black mold? Do you know how to spot black mold in your home? What about how to get rid of mold?
If not, that’s okay! With this guide, you can spot the symptoms, get rid of mold, and prevent mold from growing in the future. Ready for a mold-free life?
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the dangers of mold!
What is Mold?
First, let’s talk a little more about black mold. Like mildew, mold is a type of fungus that can grow in any moist environment.
The most common indoor molds you might come across include:
Those are only the indoor molds you need to worry about, though. Mold can grow inside and outside, meaning you’ll need to remain vigilant to keep it at bay.
Black mold is one of the many types of mold you’ll need to look out for. Despite the name, black mold can also appear dark green in addition to black. The most common species of black mold is called Stachybotrys chartarum.
Some species of black mold are toxigenic (they release toxins called mycotoxins that can cause harm or irritation). When mold spores eat, grow, and form new spore colonies, they also create mycotoxins. Over time, mycotoxins can grow in large concentrations, which can lead to mold poisoning.
If you have mold in your home, it will grow in patches. These patches can penetrate the surface of the material it grows on. The mold could look slimy with odd spots or fuzzy.
Where It Grows
Remember, black mold loves to grow in moist environments. You might also find it in dark, warm spaces as well. Usually, black mold appears in:
While these are common areas where mold might grow, it’s important to keep an eye out for other areas, too. House mold can grow on different surfaces, including wood, paper, and dirt. Look at other materials that can absorb water as well.
For example, do you have a pile of firewood in or outside of your home? Make sure any materials aren’t absorbing water. Don’t leave any pools of water in your home, either.
You might find black mold in a humid space. Do you have a humidifier in your home? Make sure it’s not growing mold.
It can also grow on food or spread within your home’s crawl spaces.
Now that you know a little more about house mold, let’s discuss the potential health dangers of black mold.
If you develop mold poisoning, it will likely affect your upper respiratory tract first. People with mold poisoning often experience flu- or cold-like symptoms.
Unfortunately, mycotoxins can cause a number of other symptoms. The chances a patient will develop severe symptoms increases if they already have a condition like asthma or allergies.
There are other health conditions that can make the dangers of black mold more severe. A few include an immunodeficiency disorder, cystic fibrosis, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder.
If you don’t have an underlying condition, the health risks of mold might include:
- Itchy skin
- A stuffy nose
- Red or itchy eyes
If you have asthma or allergies, however, the health risks of mold can include:
- Frequent coughing
- Chest colds
- Allergic reactions
- Difficulty breathing
Your symptoms can get worse over time.
For example, you might experience memory loss or confusion. Some people experience sensitivity to light, while others gain weight. Stomach pains, anxiety, muscle cramps, and numbness are common, too.
Diagnosis and Treatment
How can you tell if you’ve developed mold poisoning?
First, pay attention to the symptoms mentioned above. If these symptoms sound familiar, check in with a doctor right away. They’ll perform an allergy and blood test.
They might suggest you have the mold levels in your home tested as well.
A blood test allows the doctor to determine how antibodies in your immune system react. They’ll also check for bio-toxins in your blood. Skin prick tests are common, too.
If the doctor determines you have mold poisoning, they might recommend a nasal rinse or spray. Nasal corticosteroids are available over the counter. A rinse or spray can help reduce inflammation in your airways.
They might suggest an over-the-counter medication or an oral medication. Otherwise, consider getting an allergy shot.
Signs of Mold
Before you start looking for house mold, consider hiring a professional. They can help you avoid additional exposure. If you have a weakened immune system, you could become more susceptible to the dangers of black mold.
Do you sneeze the moment you walk into a room? Does a room in your home feel moist or warm?
These signs could indicate there’s mold nearby.
Also look for:
- Black, clustered mold growths
- Lack of ventilation
If anything is affected by mold, throw it away immediately. Seal the room and use a HEPA air purifier to capture any mold spores in the air.
You can prevent mold growth by:
- Controlling the humidity levels throughout your home
- Repairing leaks and replacing old pipes right away
- Draining your HVAC unit regularly
- Monitoring the basement’s ventilation
- Drying wet materials as soon as possible
- Cleaning and disinfecting areas that are prone to mold growth
- Improve your home’s airflow
You can also equip your home with mold-resistant products, such as drywall or mold inhibitor paints. If your home has water damage, make sure to call a professional team right away.
The Dangers of Black Mold: Preparing Yourself for an Infestation
Don’t let the dangers of black mold affect your family. Instead, keep everyone happy and healthy by keeping an eye out for mold throughout your home. With this guide, you can prevent mold from growing behind it affects your health.
Did your home recently suffer water damage? It could become more susceptible to mold growth. We can help.
Contact us today for a free estimate.
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