Mold is a fungus that can be found in any moist, warm environment. It is usually harmless, but it can also cause illness. Rather than take a risk, you should remove mold from your home or office whenever you find it.
Mold can grow anywhere there is moisture and the temperature remains above 68°F. That means that even your bathroom might contain mold if you have a leaky faucet or showerhead.
While you might not always notice mold growing, you may experience allergies or respiratory problems if it’s in your home for a long time.
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about mold to help you identify mold, learn how to clean it, and what kind of medical assistance you might need if you breathe in mold spores.
What is Mold?
Mold is fungi that can grow in moist environments. It usually starts in a microscopic form and grows when there are certain conditions present such as enough moisture, the right temperature, and a food source to consume.
Mold has been around for millions of years, dating back to prehistoric times. However, Alexander Fleming, a Scottish bacteriologist, is credited with discovering it in 1928 on his bacterial plates.
Mold releases many toxic substances into the air. It may produce allergens and irritants that can trigger asthma or allergy symptoms or other illnesses.
Mold can be found indoors and outdoors. Indoor mold can include black mold, which is toxic. Outdoor mold is often green and it can be found on decaying organic matter such as plants, leaves, or wood.
What are Signs of Mold?
It is important to look out for the signs that mold might be growing in your home so you can stop it before it gets worse.
The signs of mold are different depending on if it is indoors or outdoors. According to WebMD, mold is visible as black spots on the shower curtain, fuzzy white patches on basement floors, or orange film on a kitchen drain.
Some other signs of mold include:
-Discoloration of walls, floors, and ceilings
-Damp and musty odors,
-Condensation on windows
-Build-up of green spots on household surfaces.
What Causes Mold Growth in Your Home?
Mold grows best in wet environments with a lot of moisture or humidity. Homes with a leaky basement or kitchen are prime locations for mold to grow.
The presence of building materials such as carpeting, concrete, cardboard boxes, and even certain types of wallpaper that are not water-resistant also provide an ideal environment for the growth of mold because these materials cannot absorb moisture from the air and so they provide easy access to water droplets for the fungus to grow on.
How to Protect Yourself from Toxic Molds?
Removing mold from your home is important to prevent health issues and to keep mold at bay for good.
If you have an extensive amount of mold in your home or office building, it is best to call an expert to clean it up before these toxins get worse.
Otherwise, if you only have a small amount of it, you can clean it up on your own. However, removing mold from the home is not an easy task.
The first step in preventing the health effects of mold is to identify areas where there may be mold growth. The next step is to remove the mold as soon as possible.
Here are some tips to remove mold from your home:
- You will need a few simple items for a cleanup: a vacuum cleaner, bucket, bleach and dish soap, gloves, paper towels, and an eyedropper or Q-Tips for molds in cracks. You may also need to dry out the affected area with fans or dehumidifiers before you try any chemical products on the surface of the moldy area.
- Identify where the mold is growing by looking for signs like dampness or musty odors around the house. Mold can be found anywhere in your home. It is usually found in damp areas, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. Besides finding it in humid or wet environments, it can also grow in dry areas such as attics and crawl spaces.
- Once you have located the source of the problem you can start cleaning it up by wiping down all surfaces with it. You should wear a mask when working with chemicals to remove mold.
- Remove all porous materials that are visibly moldy with soap and water or an antimicrobial spray.
- For most people, it is unnecessary to remove any materials from the room unless you have visible mold growth on non-porous surfaces such as tile, metal, or plastic. Mold growth on these surfaces should be removed with a stiff brush or household cleaning solution and then rinsed thoroughly with water.
What Are Some Common Symptoms Caused By Mold Spores?
Some allergic symptoms you might experience after exposure to mold include runny nose and congestion, wheezing, eye irritation, sneezing, and coughing. You might also experience a sore throat, a skin rash, and a headache.
Can Mold Cause Illnesses?
Besides symptoms created by allergens and irritants, mold can cause other health problems, too. The severity and types of illness depend on the environment that the person lives in and their sensitivity to mold spores.
Exposure to mold can lead to respiratory illnesses like asthma, chronic coughs, and sinusitis.
Mold illnesses are classified as a subset of hypersensitivity pneumonitis. This is a chronic lung disease that results from an immune reaction to the inhalation of organic materials such as mold.
Mold spores are among the most common triggers for hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Other potential triggers include animal dander, dust, and cockroach droppings.
Hypersensitivity pneumonitis has symptoms that vary from person to person but generally include cough, chest tightness, shortness of breath, fever, and fatigue.
What Kind of Medical Specialist Should You See?
If you or your family have symptoms caused by mold, it’s best to see a medical sinus specialist like Dr. Rubinstein at the Hudson Valley Sinus Center for a full diagnosis and an effective treatment plan.