Many people don’t know the full impact of having mold inside their homes. It can make you very ill and in rare cases, can even result in death. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all molds can potentially cause ill effects to your health. The severity of the effects depends, in part, on the types of mold present, the extent of exposure, age and overall health and existing allergies or sensitivities.
What is Mold?
Mold is a fungus that grows in the form of multicellular thread-like structures called hyphae. Fungi that exist as single cells are called yeasts. Some molds and yeasts cause disease or food spoilage, others play an important role in biodegradation or in the production of various foods, beverages, antibiotics and enzymes. Outdoors, molds are important to nature, breaking down dead leaves, plants and trees.
Mold can get into a building through open doorways, windows, vents, and heating and air conditioning systems. Mold in the air outside can attach itself to clothing, shoes, bags, and pets and can be brought indoors. Molds need moisture to grow and multiply. Leaky roofs, windows, pipes or flooded areas are breeding grounds for mold. Mold grows well on paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, and wood products. Mold can also grow in dust, paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, and fabrics.
Molds reproduce via tiny spores that travel through the air. In small amounts, mold spores are relatively harmless; however, if they are in a damp area indoors, they will grow at an accelerated rate, releasing harmful spores into the air. Continued exposure to and inhaling of these spores can affect the health of people, especially those more sensitive or allergic to it.
Health Issues Caused by Mold
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some effects of continued exposure to mold can cause a number of health maladies, including:
- Nasal stuffiness
- Throat irritation
- Coughing and wheezing
- Eye irritation
- Skin irritation
- Joint pain
More serious health issues can occur if the person has respiratory conditions like chronic lung disease, asthma, and those with auto-immune diseases. Some studies have indicated that early exposure to mold by younger children can lead to them developing asthma and other respiratory conditions.
At a 2003 environmental medicine symposium in Dallas, studies of more than 1,600 patients suffering health issues related to fungal exposure were presented. These patients experienced major medical problems, including the following:
- Muscle and joint pain
- Headache, anxiety, depression, memory loss, and visual disturbances
- Immune system disturbances and fatigue
- GI problems
- Shortness of breath
Controlling Mold Growth in Your Home
As a homeowner, you can take some steps to prevent and control the mold that is in your home:
- Keep the inside of the home aired out and dry.
- Use an exhaust fan in the bathrooms and kitchen.
- Make sure your clothes dryer vents are clear and moving moisture to the outside.
- Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner in humid weather.
- Don’t use carpeting in areas that have more moisture, like the bathrooms and basement.
- Seal and repair water leaks in the roof, basement, under sinks and around pipes.
- Store firewood outdoors.
If You Already See Mold, It’s Time to Call the Professionals
Once mold becomes visible to the naked eye, it has likely already caused more damage than the typical homeowner can fix. Contact with mold can be very dangerous unless you have the proper equipment, experience and knowledge, and the appropriate gear to remediate it.
St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration employs technicians that are trained to remediate the mold in your home. We begin by consulting with you, your insurance company and indoor environmental professionals. An assessment is made of ambient conditions including moisture content and humidity levels. We then proceed to contain the mold, clean the contents and stabilize the environment. You can trust us to provide a comprehensive solution to any mold issues.
Contact us today if you suspect or are aware of mold infestation in your home. Leave it to us to professionally and quickly clean up the hazardous environment and return your home to the safe and healthy place you and your family deserve!