Molds are one of the most important factors in our environment. Outdoors, molds help breakdown leaves, wood, and other plant debris. Without mold, our environment would quickly be overwhelmed with large amounts of dead plant matter. With that being said, mold is something that we should leave outdoors. While most molds do not have an adverse affect on all people, some molds once indoors can cause many different types of health problems and can possibly eat away at the structure of your home. A question as equally important as “what is mold?” is “what can mold do to me, my loved ones and my property?”
Mold in Your Home or Business
Mold control in your home starts first and foremost with moisture control. Mold needs both food and water to survive; since most organic substances serve as a food source for mold, water is the controllable factor that limits molds growth. Mold often grows indoors when it finds areas that are damp and/or wet. Bathrooms, basements, crawl spaces, windows with condensation problems, and under kitchen sinks are common areas to find mold growing indoors. Indoor mold growth is usually triggered by a plumbing leak, roof leak, poor building maintenance, and humidity issues.
Health Effects Associated with Mold Exposure
All molds have the potential to cause health effects to people, but this does not mean that all molds will have health effects to everyone. All people are different and will react to different types of mold differently. Some molds are dangerous for everyone, but most molds will result in minor health effects similar to that as an allergen. Health problems such as headaches, breathing difficulties, skin irritation, allergic reaction, and aggravation of asthma symptoms are all associated with mold exposure. The type and severity of symptoms depend on the types of mold present, the extent of an individual’s exposure, the age of an individual, and existing sensitivities or allergies.
Allergic reactions to mold are very common – these reactions can be immediate or delayed. Allergic responses include sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash.
Mold can trigger asthma attacks in people that are allergic to mold. The irritants produced by mold may also worsen asthma in non-allergic people.
Mold exposure can cause irritation of the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs, and sometimes can create a burning sensation in these areas.
People with weakened immune systems may be more vulnerable to infections by molds. Aspergillus fumigatus, for example, has been known to infect the lungs of immune-compromised individuals. These individuals inhale the mold spores which then start growing in their lungs. Trichoderma has also been known to infect immune-compromised children.