HEALTH EFFECTS OF MOLD EXPOSURE: SYMPTOMS & RISKS
We all want to breathe fresh clean air inside our homes and businesses. After all, we spend almost every hour of the day inside betwee work and home. But exposure to harmful mold inside the home can cause a variety of serious health effects, from annoying allergy symptoms to life-threatening lung disease.
The health effects of mold exposure may not present themselves right away, but the longer you’re exposed, the higher the chance of being negatively affected.
Mold is especially dangerous, however, for people with pre-existing and underlying health conditions. This includes those who are immune-system compromised, or have existing allergies, asthma, or chronic lung conditions. Children and the elderly are also at increased risk of adverse health reactions to mold.
In addition to the health risks, letting mold grow in your home can cost you a lot of time, money, and effort if not quickly and properly removed. Mold eats away at organic materials, and can destory clothes, furniture, and other belongings.
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.
The way our bodies react to mold varies from person to person and is influenced the types of mold found inside the home, the amount of mold you’re exposed to, and your level of mold sensitivity.
Symptoms of Mold Exposure
The most common types of mold found in the home are allergenic. Healthy people can generally tolerate low to moderate levels of allergenic molds, but those with preexisting allergies, asthma, or compromised immune system are more likely to experience allergenic reactions.
Increase the number of spores inhaled or ingested enough, and even the healthiest person will display mold exposure symptoms.
Mild symptoms include itchy eyes, a stuffy nose, sneezing, coughing, and skin rash. More severe allergenic reactions include difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and 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 these molds 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
While the short-term health effects of mold are still serious concern, they are normally easy to spot. Long-term health effects of mold, however, may not be as obvious.
With long-term symptoms, people often don’t know what the problem is. There may be an increase in allergy symptoms, slow development of acute respiratory problems, or increased asthma reactions. These symptoms don’t just go on for a few months, they persist sometimes for years, affecting everyday life.
Long-term mold exposure can lead to serious respiratory problems, lung scarring, and have been linked to some types of cancer. While some may recover after the removal of mold, others suffer permanent damage which can’t be repaired.
Who Are The Most At Risk Of Mold Exposure
As mentioned above, some people have more sensitivity to mold than others. Both genetics and environmental factors can influence how you react, as well as what type of mold you’ve been exposed to and the density of mold spores.
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 you spend in a moldy house and breathe in mold spores, the higher the risk of displaying or developing mold exposure symptoms.
Remember, no two immune systems and people are the same, thus each may display different symptoms.
Can Mold Cause Asthma In Children?
In recent years, 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 due to how common it is to find in areas recently damaged by water, and how toxic it is to human health.
Black mold releases mycotoxins, toxic substances that can cause severe and sometimes life-threatening 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, black mold poisoning symptoms can also present themselves. These include recurring headaches, vomiting, memory loss, dizziness, and sudden changes in moods.
If you find black mold in your home, leave the area immediately and contact a mold remediation specialist.
How Long Does It Take To Get Sick From Mold Exposure?
Mold symptoms can present themselves in as little 24-48 hours after exposure. But other may not see symptoms for weeks or even months.
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?
The only true way to know if you have mold poisoning is to see a health professional who recognizes the signs of mold exposure. Diagnosis of mold exposure is a combination of blood and urine tests along with analyzing genetic and environmental factors.
If you’re experiencing any mystery or uncommon symptoms, you may be suffering from mold sickness.
A mold inspection by a certified mold removal technician will give you and your doctor key information on whether mold is or isn’t present in your home, along with the type and severity. This can be valuable information doctors can use in determining the approriate treatment.
Mold Exposure Treatment
Most mold in house growth is due to water leaks or moisture getting trapped inside the home. The key to treating mold exposure is locating and fixing the source of moisture. Without addressing the source, sickness will continue will little chance of going away completely.
Complete mold remediation can only be done by trained mold professionals who have the industry knowledge, training, and tools to remove mold safely and effectively.
Once the mold is removed from your home, the body needs time to eliminate the build-up of toxins in the body. Don’t trust any home mold treatment you find online as many of these solutions are not verified, and not all solutions work for everyone.
You must talk to your doctor about which mold treatment method works best for you.
How To Keep Mold Out Of The Home
The key to avoiding mold sickness from occurring in the first place is good mold prevention practices. The number one thing you can do to prevent mold in your home is moisture control.
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, contact a mold remediation company right away. Do not attempt to remove it yourself, especially if the area is larger than 1 square meter.
Improper mold removal or not wearing appropriate safety equipment can result in inhaling or ingesting large amounts of mold spores. Disturbing it can lead to spreading spores further throughout the home.
Contact Mold Removal Calgary and book your appointment for a no-obligation inspection.