Before getting down to the health effects of indoor molds, it would be best to know what molds are. Molds are defined by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) as fungi that can be found both indoors and outdoors. It appears velvety, granular, cottony or leathery and come in any shape or color and with a musky or earthy odor.
Common indoor molds are Cladosporium, Penicillium, Alternaria and Aspergillus. Molds thrive in moist and dark areas such as bathrooms, tiles, ceilings, air conditioning systems and water pipes and they reproduce through spores that can survive extreme environmental conditions. Areas with high mold exposures are greenhouses, saunas, farms, flower shops mills and antique shops.
Introduction to common effects of indoor molds on health
Many factors dictate one’s susceptibility to mold and its health effects. The type and severity of the harmful effects of indoor molds vary from person to person and it greatly depends on the resistance and severity of exposure of the individual. Chronological age also plays a big role on its effects. However, it has to be noted that there are common conditions that show up as an effect of mold exposure.
Allergic reaction to
Allergy reaction is the most common symptom of mold exposure. Symptoms associated with this are nasal and sinus congestion, cough, sore throat, difficulty of breathing, asthma, nose bleeding, upper respiratory tract infections and skin and eye irritations. Some indoor molds release mycotoxins that are easily absorbed by airways and skin linings that produce harmful effects like irritation and immuno-suppression. The Institute of Medicine concluded that there is sufficient evidence to link indoor mold exposure to respiratory tract symptoms.
Gastrointestinal system infection
Molds infect the gastrointestinal system by adhering to the mucosal lining of the stomach. One common manifestation is nausea followed by vomiting and diarrhea. If untreated, it can lead to loss of appetite and subsequent rapid weight loss.
More severe effects of mold exposure
Continuous exposure to mycotoxigenic mold may result to cancer, liver, endocrine and kidney toxins, lung injuries or even bleeding at certain instances, neurotoxicity, immunologic disorders and pregnancy disorders. As proof of these acquired diseases, outbreak of pulmonary hemorrhage in infants occurred in Cleveland, Ohio between 1993 and 1994. It was found out that the infants were exposed to water contamination due to molds.
On the other hand, black mold (Stachybotrys atra) which is present in homes, release volatile organic compounds that are dangerous to humans as they affect not only the respiratory but also the nervous system. Symptoms may vary from labored breathing, rashes, asthma to bleeding in the lungs. Other effects on the nervous system include memory loss, lethargy, dizziness and lack of concentration.
Exposure to molds for a prolonged period can also cause infertility. Certain mycotoxins can be lethal to humans and animals when exposure is high enough. According to a study done in Poland, early postnatal exposure to indoor molds is harmful to the cognitive development in children as evidenced by lower IQ scores.
Specific recommendations to cut down on mold exposure
Now that you have been informed of the drastic effects of mold exposure, what do you think is the next big thing to do? Well, your guess is right. You have to lessen your exposure to molds by simply adhering to the following recommendations.
For one, you have to be sure that your home has adequate ventilation. Humidity level should not be higher than 50%. This is to decrease the amount of moisture which is very favorable for mold growth. In another, you have to make sure that you use mold-killing products when cleaning bathrooms and its surfaces that are susceptible to mold growth.
It would also be of help if your remove your carpets. If it cannot be avoided have it cleaned on a regular basis. Remove or replace previously soaked carpets and upholstery just so they will not invite molds to come and grow on their surfaces.
Getting your home regularly inspected for mold growth
It is always wise to get your home regularly inspected by a professional mold inspection company. In that way, you can be sure that there is really no mold growing in any of your rooms or exposed surfaces. Remember that indoor molds can just spread over surfaces when left unnoticed but with a mold remediation team, this should no longer be a concern.
You need not go far when thinking of hiring an expert to do the inspection and removal of molds for you. You came into the right place. We can always accomplish the job and prevent the spread of molds thus protecting your health at all times. Give us a call and you can count on us whenever you need help for mold remediation. If you like our services, you can always re-hire us in the future!