Answers to Questions: How Mold in Your Home Can Effect Your Health…
Should I Be Concerned About Mold In My Home?
Mold should not be permitted to grow and multiply indoors. When this happens, health problems can occur and building materials, goods and furnishings may be damaged.
Mold can affect the health of people who are exposed to it. People are mainly exposed to mold by breathing spores or other tiny fragments. People can also be exposed through skin contact with mold contaminants (for example, by touching moldy surfaces) and by swallowing it.
The type and severity of health effects that mold may produce are usually difficult to predict. The risks can vary greatly from one location to another, over time and from person to person.
What Are The Symptoms Of Mold Exposure?
The most common health problems caused by indoor mold are allergy symptoms. Although other and more serious problems can occur, people exposed to mold commonly report problems such as: nasal and sinus congestion, coughing, wheezing/breathing difficulties, sore throat, skin and eye irritation and upper respiratory infections (including sinus inflammation).
Are The Risks Higher For Some People?
There is wide variability in how different people are affected by indoor mold, however, the long term presence of indoor mold growth may eventually become unhealthy for anyone. The following types of people may be affected more severely and sooner than others: infants and children, elderly people, individuals with respiratory conditions or sensitivities such as allergies and asthma, persons having weakened immune systems (for example, people with HIV infection, chemotherapy patients, organ transplant recipients).
Those with special health concerns should consult a medical professional if they feel their health is affected by indoor mold.
Are Some Molds More Hazardous Than Others?
Some types of mold can produce chemical compounds (called mycotoxins) although they do not always do so. Molds that are able to produce toxins are common. In some circumstances, the toxins produced by indoor mold may cause health problems. All indoor mold growth is potentially harmful and should be removed promptly, no matter what types of mold are present or whether it can produce some level of toxins.
How Can I Tell If Have A Mold Problem?
First and foremost, investigate, don’t test. The most practical way to find a mold problem is by using your eyes to look for mold growth and by using your nose to locate the source of a suspicious odor. If you see mold or if there is an earthy or musty smell, you should assume a mold problem exists. Other clues are signs of excess moisture or the worsening of allergy-like symptoms.
Look for visible mold growth (may appear cottony, velvety, granular or leathery and have varied colors of white, gray, brown, black, yellow, green). Mold often appears as discoloration, staining or fuzzy growth on the surface of building materials or furnishings.
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