When we talk about mold, we usually refer to the unwanted blue-green fuzz growing in moist areas or on food. But these organisms play a positive role in the environment by decomposing dead material.
In the home, it’s a different story. Mold growing on food or in the vents and walls of the house cause allergic symptoms, and if the exposure is long-term, serious illnesses.
Most of us don’t worry about breathing in mold regularly. However, if you’re often in an old building where moisture and poor ventilation are a factor, you’re at risk for mold inhalation.
This is a danger for everyone, especially infants and young children, immune-compromised individuals, those with respiratory conditions, and the elderly.
Concerned you may have mold exposure symptoms? Check out these adverse health effects of mold and what to do if you think you or a loved one may have been exposed.
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Studies show that one in five people have mold and other environmental allergies.
For most of us, the symptoms are mild and look like the typical allergy effects: watery eyes, sneezing, runny nose, and itching. Long-term exposure to mold or breathing in high amounts of spores due to poor air quality can cause severe allergic reactions.
If you’re wheezing, coughing, regularly tired, have trouble breathing, or experience regular headaches, you may have invisible mold somewhere you regularly hang out.
Mold allergies are irritating for millions of people. Yet, for the asthmatic, they are extremely dangerous.
They act as a trigger for your asthma, causing attacks that mimic the flu. You may have a fever, body aches, and general malaise.
If your asthma is severe, mold exposure can make breathing difficult. Without fast help, this type of asthma attack causes anaphylaxis, a potentially deadly lung condition.
Most of the mold we’re exposed to is generally harmless unless we’re allergic to it. Some types of mold, such as black mold, produce mycotoxins, dangerous and often fatal spores.
Mycotoxins are absorbed through the air, skin, and intestines. They can be found on various crops that grow in warm, humid environments, like coffee beans, apples, spices, nuts, grains, and dried fruit.
Exposure to mycotoxins may cause:
- Fibrosis or bleeding of the lungs
- Diseases of the digestive, immune, and nervous systems
- Damage to the kidneys, liver, and blood
- Complications with pregnancy
If you think you may have mold in your home or workplace, don’t ignore it. It could be a minor irritant, or it may be the start of serious health conditions.
How can you prevent mold from growing in your home or keep it from returning once you’ve treated it?
Start by only buying perishable food as you need it. This includes fruits, veggies, and cannabis if you use medical marijuana. Weighing your flower, as Veriheal explains, saves wasted products and limits the potential for mold growth.
Next, take preventive measures in damp areas like basements by using dehumidifiers and ensuring there is plenty of ventilation. Fix any leaky spots as soon as you notice them with mold-resistant paint and other supplies.
Be extra vigilant around areas that have been wet or flooded. If it can’t be thoroughly dried, throw it out, and consider replacing carpets that get water damage. They may dry but will likely attract mold under the surface.
This is especially true if a sewage backup causes water and carpet damage. Call a professional skilled in handling contaminated water leaks, and let them advise you on treating the damaged areas.
Pay attention to your HVAC system and clean it regularly. If you think it may have mold contamination, you should have your air ducts cleaned. Don’t run the system because it could spread mold throughout your home.
Fighting mold before it becomes detrimental to your health is crucial. Sure, the effects could be as minor as irritating allergic symptoms, but since they might become serious, do you want to change it?
These negative health effects help you understand the potential seriousness of mold exposure. Use the tips here to prevent this growth in your home and avoid areas where you and your loved ones may be breathing it in.