Mold comes in a variety of forms. In fact, the word “mold” is a non-scientific term that basically covers any type of unwanted fungi. Mold can be blue, green, black, brown, yellow, and even pink. Mold can also have a variety of odors.
For mold to actively grow, it requires moisture. This is why mold is usually found in damp basements and attics, areas of water leaks, and wet carpets and drywall.
Almost no one wants mold in their house as it is both ugly and smells horrible. However, the problems of mold range far beyond the realm of the aesthetic; serious health issues can arise from an outbreak of mold in your home, office, or school.
Health Problems & Symptoms
People exposed to areas with mold often experience:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Brain inflammation
- Sore Throat
- Eye irritation
- Skin irritation
- Stuffy nose
- Memory loss
Generally, people will experience symptoms associated with a bacterial or viral infection. These symptoms are exaggerated in those with immune-compromising diseases, lung illnesses, and particular sensitivity to mold. Exposure to mold can cause serious respiratory tract symptoms.
In infants there is a link between mold exposure and acute idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage.
Exposure to mold can increase one’s risk for bronchitis and respiratory infections, although this can also be caused by chemical emissions and bacteria often found in damp places that happen to be moldy as well. Many of the above problems are likely exacerbated by these factors.
When the topic of mold exposure comes up, black mold is usually the go-to as the most serious of all mold varieties. Many believe that exposure to black mold can cause cancer, although there is no real evidence for this.
That said, black mold is still a health concern. It can cause all of the symptoms listed above. As with any mold outbreak in your home, black mold should be taken very seriously.
Mold requires moisture to survive and thrive, so it’s no surprise that damp places are a breeding ground for mold. Here are ways to control mold and prevent mold outbreaks in your home.
- Find the problem areas and make necessary corrections. While making your home 100% mold-proof is impossible, there are plenty of ways to make it more mold-resistant. For instance, if your basement gets a lot of moisture exposure, you can tear up the carpet and apply mold-resistant products, later replacing the carpet.
- Dry up water immediately. Whether it’s the carpet, bedding, or furniture, water needs to be cleaned up no less than 48 hours after it has accumulated.
- Improve your home’s ventilation. Make sure all appliances that produce moisture are properly ventilated to the outside of your home (not the basement or attic). AC units and dehumidifiers are also a great option.
- Monitor indoor humidity. Indoor humidity should be maintained somewhere between 30 and 60 percent. Humidity can be measured using a simple moisture meter (these can usually be purchased at your local hardware store).