The negative impacts of moisture are found more commonly in homes than you may realize, so it is important to know the symptoms of mold exposure. Mold is most often a concern if a home has experienced flooding or major water damage, but even the smallest amount of water damage can lead to mold problems if not properly remediated.
That means it’s important to do what you can to avoid long-term problems to the structural integrity of your home by calling in reliable water damage restoration professionals as soon as possible to address issues that arise.
Water damage that is not addressed properly can be detrimental to your home’s structural integrity, and it can also affect the health of you and your family. Familiarizing yourself with mold exposure symptoms can help protect your health and home from the development of this potentially dangerous substance. This guide will help you determine if you’ve been exposed to mold and what to do about it.
How Mold Grows in Your House
Mold is a fungus that grows both indoors and outdoors in places that have a lot of moisture. Its numerous spores play an essential role in the outdoor ecosystem in breaking down natural items, but it’s often uncontrolled growth should definitely not be welcome indoors.
Those same mold spores that are so great in nature can wreak havoc on human health when released in confined spaces, causing damage to you, your family, and your real estate investment.
Don’t rule out any room when it comes to indoor mold growth, either. Some of the most common problem areas include:
The fungus can grow in as quickly as one day if the right conditions are present, and is tricky because it does not always result in visible mold. Environments that are dark, moist, above-freezing in terms of temperatures, and have access to oxygen are ideal candidates for encouraging mold growth, and that could mean behind appliances, in basements, under flooring, in crawl spaces, and more.
Types of Mold and How to Identify Them
From being able to notice the difference in varying colors and scents, learning how to identify the types growing in your home can save you and your family from the uncomfortable effects of mold exposure.
There are many types of mold out there, but only certain types pose health risks.
4 Strains that Commonly Result in Mold Allergy
The health effects of mold in your home vary depending on the strain, the amount of mold growth, the duration of the exposure, and the steps taken to mitigate mold spores in a house’s indoor air.
A few of the strains that most commonly result in allergy symptoms like runny nose, asthma symptoms, shortness of breath, and more include:
The coloring of this type of mold ranges from olive green to brown, gray, and black. It will often have a velvet-like appearance.
This mold variety is most frequently black with a white or yellow layer underneath its surface. However, the species aspergillus flavus is yellow-green with gold or reddish-brown beneath.
This type of mold may appear as brown, green, or black spots, but it can merge to form larger patches as it spreads. With over 500 species of this mold type, it can be hard to identify without professional help.
Its vivid blue-green or yellow color makes it easily identifiable when growing, but the airborne type of Penicillium can only be properly identified by having a professional sample taken and tested.
If you or anyone else in your household is experiencing more-frequent-than-normal allergies and asthma reactions, you might have an indoor air quality problem caused by mold spores. It may be time to contact your mold remediation team to check out your home and help you come up with ways to prevent such problems in the future.
Strains of Toxic Mold
Some mold types cause basic allergy responses, but others can have detrimental health effects.
Toxic molds produce mycotoxins that can result in much more serious conditions like lung disease, abdominal pain, and severe allergies, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) both warn of their possible impacts.
1. Stachybotrys chartarum aka ‘black mold’
Commonly referred to as “black mold”, this dangerous fungus has a greenish-black color. The Stachybotrys chartarum black mold grows in areas that have constant moisture, which is usually caused by water leaks, condensation, or flooding.
This mold type starts as a moist mold and evolves into a fine powder-like substance. It is identified with its pink, gray, orange, or white color. Acremonium is most often found in household places where condensation forms.
If you’ve noticed any of these mold allergy-inducing or toxic strains in your home, call in a mold remediation team as soon as possible. The sooner you take the steps to fix the issue, the quicker you can lower your chances of health problems. If you’re not sure if your home has mold spores growing in it, there are a few common symptoms that your immune system might be fighting off mold illness.
Common Symptoms of Mold Exposure
Prolonged mold exposure can lead to health risks such as upper respiratory tract symptoms, pneumonia, insomnia, and confusion. Therefore, it is important to have mold remediated as soon as possible.
Most molds found in homes cause the same signs and symptoms of other types of upper respiratory allergies. People sensitive to mold spores can experience allergic reactions, but exposure may cause those who have asthma to experience severe asthma attacks.
1. Sneezing or Stuffy Nose
People who are exposed to mold in their homes, may notice the development of a stuffy nose or increased sneezing. Another allergic reaction can trigger these same symptoms, but it is a good idea to examine areas for potential indoor mold growth to make sure your home stays clean and dry.
2. Wheezing or Coughing
The severity of these mold exposure symptoms can vary from person to person, but if you notice a sudden change of coughing or wheezing when in your home, it may be because of mold exposure. This is especially true if these health effects seem to worsen when the weather is damp.
3. Irritated Eyes, Nose, and Throat
Itchy eyes, nose, or throat can be a sign that you’ve been exposed to mold in your home. If you and multiple people in your family are experiencing similar symptoms, it is best to take precautions and have a mold expert check your house for toxic mold or run-of-the-mill indoor mold growth.
4. Watery Eyes
Similar to the symptom above, noticing an increase in your eyes watering can be a warning sign that there is mold growing in your home and that you are experiencing health effects related to mold illness.
5. Dry Skin or Rash
While numerous other factors can contribute to dry, scaly skin or the development of a rash, it can also be a symptom of exposure to mold(or at least certain varieties). It is important to take a closer look if you’ve not changed your routine and develop changes in your skin.
To prevent mold exposure in your home, you should follow mold prevention guidelines such as:
- Regularly changing indoor air filters and having your HVAC system cleaned annually to improve air quality.
- Running your air conditioning to help flush out mold spores before they can take hold.
- Examining any moisture seen in ceiling tiles to ensure a leak has not resulted in mold.
- Mitigating water and any spaces that water damaged before you could fix the problem.
- Keeping your basement and crawl space free from standing water and other water leaks.
- Having your air quality tested if you feel your seasonal allergies are more prevalent or that the health effects are worse than normal.
- Keeping hard surfaces clean to avoid mold growth during warmer months.
- Seeking medical advice if you feel mold is present in your home or if your family members are exhibiting mold illness or mold allergies symptoms.
Educating yourself on the different types of molds and key symptoms of mold exposure will help you identify mold issues more effectively and more quickly find solutions. Be sure to also seek medical advice to have your family’s immune systems examined after prolonged exposure to mold to get treatment for exposure to mycotoxins after toxic mold is found.
Trust the Experts to Keep Your Home Mold-Free
The risks of mold exposure are no laughing matter, as mold can cause a host of issues that may take precious time and money to alleviate — not to mention be a burden on human health. If you (or someone in your family) show symptoms of mold exposures, it is important to call in a team of remediation professionals to check out your home for potential issues and help you find a way to prevent such problems from recurring in the future.
Contact Dry House Restoration today to speak with an expert about the symptoms of mold exposure, any concerns you might have about the process to prevent mold, and learn how our team can give you peace of mind that your home is mold-free and safe for you and your family.