Your home should keep you comfortable and safe. But, sometimes it can harbor hidden dangers.
Mold growth can put you and your family in harm's way if it goes unnoticed, making mold testing very important. Read on to learn more about the dangers of mold growth in your home.
Identifying Mold Growth in Homes
Mold refers to a type of fungus that often grows in dark, damp places. It may appear as slimy or fuzzy spots of black, brown, green, yellow, or red and smell musty or foul.
Sometimes you will clearly see the mold on your ceiling or walls. But, other times it will hide inside walls, cupboards, carpets, or other hard to spot spaces throughout the home.
When mold grows throughout the home, it can cause a series of health problems. This makes it important to hire a professional for mold inspections after floods, leaks, broken pipes, or any other incident that dampens the home.
7 Health Problems Caused By Mold
Mold in the home can lead to health issues due to spores, toxins, or simply the antigens they carry. Keep reading to learn about 7 mold health problems.
1. Skin Irritation
Those sensitive to mold may develop unsightly skin irritations when exposed in the home. They may come and go periodically
Skin rashes caused by mold often feel dry and itch badly. They may appear as pink or brown patches on any part of the skin.
2. Mold Allergies
When your body hyper reacts to a foreign antigen, you suffer from allergies. Molds are one of the common culprits.
Mold allergies can cause a range of symptoms including:
- Itchy and/or watery eyes
- Runny nose
While this seems similar to seasonal allergies, these symptoms will remain year-round as long as mold remains in your home.
3. Asthma Attack
Mold spores can get into the lungs and trigger attacks in people who suffer from asthma.
Signs of an asthma attack include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Tightening of the throat and chest
As the airway narrows during this sudden flare-up, blood oxygen levels may drop and the person may become hypoxic. If the person already suffers from asthma and keeps a rescue inhaler, then you can potentially treat this at home. But, asthma can quickly turn into a medical emergency and require a trip to the hospital.
4. Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis
Why eliminate mold? When you smell the foul scent of mold in your home, you actually breathe in tiny fungal particles. In some people, this can trigger a rare but serious immune response, called hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
This immune system disorder affects the lungs by creating acute or chronic inflammation in the interstitium. The inflammation affects lung function and can make it feel difficult to fully catch your breath.
You may also notice symptoms such as:
- Muscle aches
- Joint Pain
If you catch it promptly and eliminate the source of mold, then your symptoms will disappear within a couple of days and you may completely recover after one to two weeks. But, in chronic cases, you will notice significant weight loss as the disorder destroys your appetite and creates permanent scarring that damages your lungs.
One common fungus that can grow in the home is Aspergillus. Though many people can breathe in this mold, respiratory problems can occur in people with weakened immune systems or lung disease, leading to this infection.
With Aspergillosis, tiny pockets in the lungs will accumulate spores, white blood cells, and possibly even deadly blood clots. In less severe cases, people may not show any symptoms of the disease, but this buildup still impairs the lungs.
Depending on how and where the fungus forms, you may experience symptoms similar to a sinus infection, or those more closely related to allergies. It may also cause coughing, wheezing, and symptoms of a serious respiratory infection.
6. Toxic Mold Syndrome
Some molds, like black mold that can grow indoors, produce mycotoxins as the spores eat, grow, and colonize with others. This can cause illness in humans.
Symptoms of toxic mold syndrome may vary, so often it goes undiagnosed for long periods of time. It also only affects about 25% of the population, so in a family of 4, only one might develop the syndrome.
Some people may present with psychiatric symptoms, such as:
- Sleep Difficulties
- Memory loss
- Problems concentrating
- Mood swings
- Difficulty with word recollection
- Metallic taste
- Numbness and tingling
This illness may also cause the same physical health problems caused by mold as seen above. It can also cause neurological symptoms like headaches, light sensitivity, ice pick pain, and blurred vision.
Doctors can treat this condition and cure it over a long period of time. But, it requires removing all mold from the home.
7. Pulmonary Hemorrhage
Acute bleeding in the lungs can occur when mold fibers accumulate in the lungs causing inflammation and tissue damage. This bleeding will cause a productive cough with bloody sputum.
A bloody cough is a serious cause for concern. The blood covers the surface area where oxygen transfer occurs, leading to lower blood oxygen levels and eventually cyanosis.
How to Prevent Mold
As you can see, preventing mold growth in your home will protect you and your family from a number of serious health issues. To prevent mold growth, keep humidity under 60%, keep your home dry, ensure proper ventilation throughout the home and basement, properly repair and clean up leaks, and get professional mold inspections.
Call for Home Mold Testing Today
Whether your home endured water damage, you smell something off, your family keeps getting sick, or it's simply been a while, mold testing will put your mind at ease. Professionals know all of the signs and can search in spots you cannot see into.
Mold testing will not only save you money in the long run by preventing further damage to your home. It will protect your family's health.
Your safety is important to us. Contact us today to set up your inspection.