Mold in the Home – Is It Making You Sick?

Mold is a surprisingly common problem that most households might experience at some point. It can come in a few different forms and appear in any room at your home.

You’ve probably seen the orange film that forms on the drains, the white patches in the basement, and the black spots on the shower curtain. All of that is mold.

But how dangerous is it? To be perfectly honest, prolonged exposure to mold can be hazardous to your health. This is why you should have a better understanding of mold and how to deal with it.

What Is Household Mold?

Mold is a specific type of fungi that can grow almost anywhere as long as the favorable conditions are present. The places where mold thrives are moist and wet, usually without sufficient ventilation. Household mold often appears on bathroom tiles, walls and wallpapers, carpets, and ceilings.

The truth is that it’s almost impossible to avoid mold. It spreads via tiny airborne spores that are present all around us, both indoor and outdoor. The spores can attach to your clothes and shoes and spread around your house when you return home.

In addition, there are about thirty different types of mold that infest a home. Some of them pose a greater risk to your health than others. Based on the hazard level, the types of mold can be classified as follows:

  • Class A

This class includes fungi that form highly hazardous mold. Among them, black mold, or Stachybotrys, is generally considered the most troublesome. If black mold appears in a home, all the affected areas will need to be treated immediately. The same goes for all other class A molds.

  • Class B

Class B fungi can cause allergies after prolonged exposure. These fungi may not be as dangerous as class A, but it doesn’t mean they should be left untreated.

  • Class C

Class C molds don’t pose any danger to your health. There are no known allergic reactions to this type of fungi.

Mold in the Home – Is It Making You Sick?

Household mold can make you quite sick. But the symptoms and severity of mold allergies can vary.

The usual symptoms include eye and skin irritation, runny nose, and wheezing. People who are allergic to mold will experience more intensive symptoms. Luckily, extreme mold infections rarely occur in living spaces. Nevertheless, some individuals might be more susceptible to mold irritation than others.

Besides those who are allergic, people with chronic respiratory conditions and impaired immune system are also at a greater danger. In addition, those with eczema or similar skin problems may be more sensitive to mold.

The young ones and the elderly should be kept away from mold for their weaker immune system.

How to Treat Mold Allergies?

The best way to treat mold allergies is to rid your home of all mold and minimize exposure. However, this is sometimes easier said than done.

If you do get an allergic reaction to mold, over-the-counter medications that treat allergic and respiratory symptoms should help. There are more than a few nasal steroids and antihistamines that you can get without a prescription.

While the above would be sufficient for healthy adults, those who suffer from allergy-induced asthma and similar conditions should seek the doctor’s advice. In some cases, prescription medications and allergy shots may be needed to alleviate the symptoms.

What to do with Household Mold?

Most people don’t actually feel any symptoms from exposure to mold. But household mold needs to be treated as soon as it pops up. And you should know that getting rid of mold does take some time and effort.

These are some of the most common methods to remove mold from your home:

  • Professional Cleaning

Carpets and other highly absorbent furnishings would require professional cleaning. No matter how hard you scrub, it is very hard to remove carpet mold on your own. Sometimes it is even better to replace the mold-infested carpet.

  • Routine Cleanups

You should make mold removal part of your cleaning routine. Make sure to address all the moldy surfaces at least once a week. A solution of vinegar in water is the best household cleaning agent for mold removal. Mix one part water and three parts vinegar and thoroughly scrub all the affected areas.

  • Using Bleach

A bleach solution is quite effective at getting rid of mold. But you should use it only if you can’t throw away the moldy item or clean it otherwise. As you know, you wouldn’t want to touch bleach, so make sure to wear PVC gloves and safety glasses, and shoes as applicable. Also, the room has to be properly aired to avoid potential bleach irritation.

How to Prevent Mold?

The best way to deal with mold is to prevent it in the first place. Optimal humidity levels are the first line of defense so you should try to keep the humidity levels at home under 50%. It is advisable to invest in a dehumidifier or an AC to maintain the low humidity.

Proper ventilation also helps to keep mold away. If you install exhaust fans in the bathroom and the kitchen, they should keep the moisture to a minimum. General household maintenance is also beneficial.

Make sure there are no leaks in your plumbing, walls, and roof and establish a frequent cleaning routine. There are also mold inhibitors that can be added to paint when you decide to give your house a fresh coat.

These are only some of the things you can do to ensure mold doesn’t appear in your home. To get more information on mold prevention, check out the EPA guide on this topic.

Endnote

There is bound to be some mold in the home – is it making you sick enough to take action? The info contained in this article can help, but if it’s serious, you should seek immediate medical help and professional mold removal.

Nevertheless, mold needs to be taken seriously even if you don’t experience any allergy or infection symptoms. Remember, the spores will increase and spread further if left untreated.

References:

https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/factsheets/pages/mould.aspx
https://www.moldbacteria.com/mold-types.html
http://thompsonwedeking.com/types-of-toxic-mold/
https://www.cdc.gov/mold/dampness_facts.htm
https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-10/documents/moldguide12.pdf
https://www.webmd.com/women/mold-mildew#1

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