What is Mold?
Mold is a type of fungus. It is a member of the fungi kingdom which is much more expansive than mushrooms as many believe. Fungi have a different cell structure than plants and animals and generally reproduce through spores. Mold thrives in moisture-rich places, which is why household mold is so common – our homes trap moisture. Common household products, such as air conditioners, contribute to mold growth throughout the house, increasing you and your family’s likelihood of encountering mold and the exposure of having adverse health effects on you, your family and your pets.
How can I be Contaminated by Mold?
While inside your home mold spores do not have ample room to travel, and improper air flow inside our home contribute to molds having a limited range of reproduction. This means that, often, we will inhale these microscopic mold spores while simply walking around our homes, lying in bed at night, or performing basic household chores. Unfortunately, these mold spores are so small that the chances of us inhaling them deep into our lungs is quite high. The deeper we inhale, the worse it can be for us, our families, and pets. In low quantities, however, mold is not strictly bad for our and our family’s health. However, the longer the exposure or the more toxic the mold, the worse it can be.
Symptoms of Mold Exposure
While exposure to mold can affect each of us differently. The elderly, young and those with compromised immune systems are more at risk for mold toxicity, mold can affect everyone. Some symptoms of mold exposure are fatigue problems, cough, shortness of breath, diarrhea, joint pain, memory issues, focus issues, confusion, disorientation, skin sensitivity, vertigo, and metallic taste. Symptoms may be mild or have a sudden onset. If you have visible mold in your home and are experiencing any of these symptoms it would be advised to consult a health professional.
Household Pets and Mold
It is important to note that mold can also affect the health of our household pets. The symptoms are like those of humans; however, your pets are at greater risk of experiencing adverse health effects from mold-related issues because pets’ immune systems are not as advanced as humans. This means that mold can be especially dangerous when considering our fur babies.
Long Term Effects of Mold Exposure
While curing mold in your home is your first line of defense, long term effects are possible once exposed. Mold can cause asthma and life-threatening primary and secondary infections in immune-compromised patients that have been exposed. Toxic mold exposure has also been linked to more serious, long-term effects like memory loss, insomnia, anxiety, depression, trouble concentrating, and confusion.
What to do if I think I have Mold?
If you think you have mold in your home, calling an expert like TCB EnviroCorp is your first step in solving the problem. While remediation is important, finding out the causal factor of contamination is even more important. Once you have identified the source of the problem, getting that rectified will help in preventing recontamination of your home. Mold testing and remediation by a professional company is essential. If proper controls are not in place further contamination is highly likely of your home.
While exposure to mold can have severe long-term effects on a person, proper testing and remediation can help alleviate the symptoms and long-term effects of mold exposure.
Action Item Summary:
- Inspect – by a licensed Mold Assessor
- Test – Air or swab. Define specific black mold type.
- Plan – Identify site specific mycotoxin. Identify areas to remediate.
- Remediate – Safe removal of mold utilizing proper controls, machines and equipment.
- Rebuild – Reinstall building components damaged by mold.