Household mold can be a frustrating occurrence. Mold is not only unsightly, but it can also some be linked to a variety of health conditions. People with mold sensitivity can suffer from chronic coughing, wheezing, and allergy responses. Long-term exposure to toxic molds can even cause serious neurological, respiratory, and gastrointestinal issues.
While not all molds have negative effects on human health, it is important to recognize mold and its potential dangers.
Signs of Mold
While detection of mold is best left to a specialist, there are potential warning signs of mold growth in a home. One of the first things some people notice is a musty smell. Mold thrives in a damp and humid environment, so if the home has a musty, mildew-like scent, there may be a problem.
The presence of moisture should raise a red flag as well. Bathrooms and basements are often the biggest culprits for hosting mold, but any room that is regularly humid should be considered a possible habitat. Water spots or discoloration on ceilings, walls, or floors should raise an alarm. Where there are signs of lingering moisture beyond the surface, be wary of any mold present.
Inspect all surfaces of the home. Mold will present as a black, green, white, blue, or yellow substance. When visually confirmed, action must be taken immediately as spores spread quickly. Mold spotted in various areas of a home has likely spread from a larger source. To avoid spreading the spores further, it is best to hire a professional to handle large mold problems.
Smaller signs of mold presence include musty smelling clothing or fresh fruit that seems to go bad too soon while sitting on the counter. While this does not confirm the home has a mold problem, it can be a sign. If any doubt about the presence of mold arises, most home improvement stores sell dust spore tests for testing. After a dust sample is taken and mailed to a lab, they will be able to identify if there are mold spores present in the home and if the amount is a concern.
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Symptoms of Mold
There are many physical symptoms that can surface when there is hazardous mold present in a home. While some people are more sensitive to mold than others, there are mold types that are toxic to all humans. The health concerns of mold should not be overlooked, and it is important to remember that prolonged exposure to toxic mold can cause chronic health conditions.
Allergy responses to mold include itchy eyes, runny nose, and sinus pressure or a headache. Sometimes respiratory issues can arise such as coughing, wheezing, or chest congestion. For asthma sufferers, symptoms can become exacerbated.
Black mold is perhaps the most well-known of the toxic molds. The mold toxicity can result in neurological symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, and difficulty concentrating. Black mold toxicity can also result in digestive issues such as nausea, vomiting, and a persistent feeling of being unwell.
Some molds are responsible for causing human infections. Children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems are at an increased risk to these molds. Pneumonia is an example of just how serious the effect of mold can be on these age groups.
People who experience unexplained health problems should consider having their home evaluated for mold spores. Professionals will be able to determine if mold is present, what kind it is, and how to safely remove it.
Mold Prevention Best Practices
When it comes to mold, the best remedy can be found through proper prevention. The easiest way to reduce your risk is to eliminate any excess moisture in the home. Some common causes of mold are:
- Leaks in the roof, pipes, or shower
- Condensation from concrete walls, water tanks, and windows
- Wet clothing waiting to be dried
- Poor dryer ventilation
To take mold prevention a step further, it is also helpful to use a dehumidifier if the home is prone to excess moisture. Ventilation is the key to keeping humidity down. It can be beneficial to open windows when possible and to use exhaust fans if they are accessible. Keep in mind that mold thrives in dark environments, so letting in an abundance of sunlight on occasion can also be helpful.
It’s safe to say that no one wants a mold problem in their home. In addition to health risks, mold can also prove costly and time-consuming to eliminate. It pays to be conscious of the potential mold-causing problem areas of a home and, if mold becomes present is vital to eliminate it immediately. Always use caution when attempting to remove spores, and do not hesitate to contact a professional if the infestation looks dangerous in color or in size.
Make sure your real estate agent can answer all of your questions about mold. If you’re in the market for a home, get in touch with one of our full-service, flat-fee Clever agents today.