Mold, no one wants to find in their home. Whether in a basement, under a sink, or on the wall, mold can appear almost anywhere. At the time of exposure, you may not feel any effects of mold but as time goes by you may start to feel like something isn’t right.
The harmful effects of exposure to mold, especially toxic mold, can show up years later after you’ve remedied the issue or even moved to a new location. Keep reading to learn more about the types of harmful mold, symptoms to look for, and what you can do to prevent it.
Types of Harmful Mold
The types of mold are numerous, but generally, harmful mold falls into three types:
This common type of mold is usually the least harmful to people, especially when exposure is limited. The Centers for Disease Control notes that limited exposure to damp and moldy environments can lead to symptoms like:
- Stuffy Nose
- Sore Throat
- Red or Itchy Eyes
- Irritated Skin
While allergenic mold will usually most strongly affect those with allergies and other health concerns, pathogenic mold can cause infections in people who have weakened immune systems. The most common types of pathogenic mold include:
- Aspergillus: Usually found throughout the environment including in soil, plant matter, and household dust, Aspergillus fumigatus can be airborne too and cause symptoms like fever, weakness, and coughing up bloody or brown mucus.
- Cryptococcus neoformans: Found in environments worldwide, C. neoformans is usually inhaled and can stay in the body where it causes an infection later. Most cases of fungal meningitis are linked to Cryptococcus neoformans.
- Histoplasma capsulatum: Typically found in soil, outbreaks of Histoplasma capsulatum are usually caused by soil disturbances like digging during large-scale construction projects. Inhaled H. capsulatum spores can cause pneumonia.
Toxic mold, or black mold, isn’t one specific type of mold. Many molds are black, so you can’t tell what type of mold you’re dealing with just by looking at it. Medical News Today states that black mold can cause severe health problems because they release mycotoxins that enter your body leading to what is essentially mold poisoning.
Long-Term Effects of Mold Exposure
While exposure to mold, particularly toxic mold may only cause mild allergy symptoms, if any at all, in the short term, the effects of mold exposure may be felt years later.
Even after your mold issue has been remedied or you’ve moved to a new home, long-term effects of mold can include:
Long-term exposure to mold can cause issues with concentration, judgment, and short-term memory in particular.
Poor Mental Health
The physical issues and stresses caused by dealing with mold exposure can cause anxiety, confusion, mood swings, and depression.
Exposure to mold causes your body to work harder to fight illnesses than it normally would have to. This can lead individuals, especially those with pre-existing conditions like allergy and asthma feeling tired.
Mold particularly attacks the lungs and the pulmonary system in general. Even years after exposure to mold, it is possible to notice a reduction in lung function.
How to Remove Mold From Your Home
If you find the presence of mold in your home, there are several steps you can take to help remove it:
Fix Water Leaks
Whether it’s from a leaky faucet or a broken pipe, mold can start growing in 24 – 48 hours. Reach out to an HVAC professional or plumber to help you eliminate any water leaks.
Use exhaust fans when you’re cooking or washing dishes. When taking a shower, be sure to always use your bathroom fan.
Clean Visible Mold
Do you see mold growing on a wall or other surface? Use a sponge and soap to remove mold wherever you find it.
Get Professional Help
When mold damage is widespread or if it’s just too much for you to handle, it’s time to call in the pros. Look for a mold remediation professional in your area that has the tools needed for large-scale cleaning.
How to Prevent Mold Growth
At the end of the day, the best way to prevent the growth of mold is to control the moisture in your home. There are several tools you can use:
Use a dehumidifier to reduce your indoor humidity. Try to keep your humidity level to around 40% relative humidity for optimal conditions.
Use An Air Purifier
Take steps to reduce the risk of inhaling mold spores and other airborne irritants. Using a HEPA air purifier is a great way to eliminate microscopic particles from your indoor air.
If you’ve woken up in the morning to notice condensation on your windows, your home may not be properly ventilated. Consider installing a ventilation fan to improve the airflow in your home and limit the creation of moisture.