Mold is a type of fungus that grows in damp environments, both indoor and outdoor. Mold comes in a variety of visible forms, including damp-looking stains, yellow slime, or colorful, fuzzy patches. It may also hide behind drywall, ceiling tiles, or carpeting. If not visible, you may also recognize mold by its characteristically musty smell.
Mold is relatively harmless outdoors, but can have a significant impact on your health once it enters your home. Not only can it cause structural damage to the surfaces on which it inhabits, but it can also damage your personal health. Mold releases spores into the air. Once inhaled, these spores can cause serious health effects that should not be ignored.
Health Effects of Mold
There is no unanimous consensus in the scientific community about the direct link between mold and symptoms of negative health as it’s difficult to dissociate the effects of mold from other factors that are often present as well. This could include dust mites, chemicals released from deteriorating surfaces, indoor air pollution, and mold by-products. In any case, it’s certain that there is a clear relationship between living in damp indoor environments and experiencing any number of respiratory conditions.
Some effects of living in the presence of mold include:
- Nasal congestion and phlegm buildup
- Respiratory problems, including coughing, wheezing, and throat irritation
- Asthma-like symptoms
- Skin and eye irritation
- Lung infections
Some people are more sensitive to the negative effects of mold than others. Children, seniors, and people with immune deficiencies are more likely to see adverse health effects when coming in contact with mold. Many people also have specific mold allergies. If you or your family members exhibit any of these symptoms after living in the presence of dampness or flooding, contact a doctor immediately.
What Causes Mold?
Mold enters the home through a variety of means, either where moisture enters the home, or physically carried in on clothes, shoes, pets, or other surfaces.
Mold grows only where this is moisture. Common causes of mold include crevices in windows, air conditioning units, seepage through the home’s foundation, or leaks in roofs and pipes. Mold is often seen on surfaces of the home after flooding, growing under the carpet, on fabrics and upholstery, behind drywall, and even on paint and wallpaper.
How to Control the Growth of Mold
There is no way to effectively eliminate the presence of mold without removing the source of moisture. When flooding takes place, call a water restoration professional immediately. They will repair the source of water damage, restore proper humidity levels, thoroughly clean and dry your home, and remove all potential sources of mold.
It’s also crucial to act in a preventative manner. Any signs of leaky roofs, windows, or pipes should be fixed immediately. All humid areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms should be properly ventilated. Any signs of mold should be cleaned with commercial cleaning products or a mixture of bleach and water.
For more information on how to prevent or remove mold in your home, you should consider mold remediation services near you.