Mold is inescapable and at times, it can get out of hand. We all know how maddening it can be to have to deal with it at home, and how impossible it is to get rid of. Nevertheless, it is important to try your best to eliminate it, not only because of its unsightly appearance but also due to several health reasons. Certain types of mold are very toxic, which could, in turn, have a harmful effect on your health – one of which is mold disease. If you weren’t aware of this ailment, now is the time to get informed about it.
First of all, what is mold?
The term “mold” refers to several types of microscopic fungi that develop and grow in moist conditions. They reproduce by spreading their spores, the color of which may range from grey to green, and also blue or red. This form of reproduction leads to a rapid expansion of their colony, which can become sizeable in a matter of hours. If the mold’s environment starts to lack warmth and moisture, it may become dormant, but unfortunately, it can still survive.
How and where does it appear?
Mold may grow anywhere from the walls of your bathroom, to the inside of your coffee machine. It’s commonly found below leaky sinks, in the cracks of shower stalls, in humid basements, and in wall areas, close to leaky pipes. You may not expect to find it growing under fridges, ovens, and washing machines – however this should come as no surprise, as mold will thrive in any place where humidity is high and ventilation is lacking. Real Christmas trees also hold the ideal conditions for mold to grow, which is why many of us experience asthma attacks during the winter season. In many cases, getting rid of mold is much harder than we may think, since its spores could still be present in the air even after the source has been removed.
Why is it dangerous to my health?
All types of mold can be potentially hazardous to your health, as warned by the Environmental Protection Agency. But “black mold” is probably the worst kind to be exposed to.
Your sensitivity to mold may also depend on your genes. Research has shown that people who have the HLA-DR gene are more susceptible to mold illness in comparison to others. While mold illness may not be high in number, it is often misdiagnosed or poorly treated. For this reason, it’s important to be aware of the symptoms yourself.
Here are two health problems that may arise from exposure to mold:
• Fungal Sinusitis
Studies show that in some cases, one of the causes of sinusitis, may be fungal infections. In fact, when ENT specialists see that their sinusitis-suffering patients have shown no signs of improvement after a substantial amount of treatment, they start to suspect that the problem is related to a fungal invader. It is important to identify whether the fungal sinusitis is invasive or not, so the necessary treatment can be given accordingly. Also, detecting the problem at an early stage will prevent the condition from worsening and becoming life-threatening.
• Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS)
Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome is a serious chronic condition that falls under the larger category of biotoxin illness. In simple terms, the condition is purely mold toxicity, and although it’s ongoing and is caused by mold, it is not an allergy. You may find it shocking to discover that what you classify as a “winter allergy” or chronic sinus infection, may in fact be a sign of the CIRS. The illness results from the exposure of a biotoxin, which is a type of poison produced by living organisms – in this case, mold.
Different bodies respond to biotoxin in different ways. Some individuals are easily able to filter the biotoxin through their liver and kidneys. Consequently, they are not prone to the disease. Others however, may not be able to respond as well to the biotoxin. Nevertheless, how your body responds to the poison depends on your genes.
Signs and symptoms of mold disease
Since mold disease may often be disguised in the form of other common conditions, it is important to keep an eye out for the signs that may suggest otherwise. A 2003 research, presented at a Dallas environmental medicine symposium, observed over 1,600 fungus-exposed people to learn about the common symptoms brought about by mold-related conditions. Here are some of them:
• Difficulty breathing
• Gastric disturbances (vomiting and diarrhea)
• Weight loss
• Chronic bronchitis
• Hair loss
• Memory problems
• Rashes on the skin
• Chronic cough, or coughing blood
• Visual problems and blindness
• Cold-like symptoms (itching eyes, runny nose, sore throat)
• Loss of sense of smell
• Pain or discomfort in the muscles
• Frequent urination, kidney pain
• Depression and anxiety
If you experience a number of the above symptoms in conjunction, you should have them checked out by a doctor.
What can I do to prevent or remove mold in my home?
Now that you’ve learned the dangers, you know that mold in the home is a major issue that should not be taken for granted. If it is found, you should consider health a top priority and take immediate action to get it removed as soon as possible. Here are some tips to consider:
• Use an anti-fungal cleanser to clear away any mold developing in your home. Remember to not only look for it on walls and ceilings – mold may also be lurking in dark corners you do not see.
• Try out natural remedies such as these to help you get rid of it.
• Use an air purifier to protect the room from harmful toxins.
• If you see that your mold problem is getting out of control, contact a mold remediation specialist to help you deal with it. This might mean tearing down walls or ceilings, replacing moldy wood and insulation, or fixing leaks and cracks.
• Buy a dehumidifier to reduce the amount of moisture in the air of your home.
• Ventilate your home thoroughly by opening doors and windows every now and then.
• Install a vent fan in your bathroom to keep the air as dry as possible.
• Vent moisture-producing appliances, such as stoves and clothes dryers to the outside.
• Keep damp areas tidy, to make it more difficult for moisture to gather and accumulate.
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