The Top Dangers of Having Mold in Your Home
Mold is a word that instantly causes people to wrinkle their noses. It immediately evokes images of disfigured walls and allergy medications. It’s distasteful, and no one wants it in their home. But how much do you actually know about the dangers of mold? You obviously know that you don’t want it in your home, but you should know what to do if you suspect its presence. Having the proper knowledge will ultimately help you properly expel it from your living space.
What is Mold?
Mold is a fungus composed of microorganisms that can grow on any surface where moisture is present. Mold requires specific conditions to grow, which is why these microorganisms like to grow indoors. Light, temperature, and oxygen levels all affect how the mold will grow: unlike plants, mold dislikes the sun. What mold and plants have in common, however, is the way in which they reproduce. The breeze carries flower seeds to their next destinations—in the same way, miniscule mold spores are released into the air, whereupon they choose the next place in which to make their home.
Areas such as basements and attics are ideal places for mold to grow, as they often present the most attractive conditions for growth. If there’s a lack of light and if the humidity level is just right, there’s an opportunity for condensation and, therefore, mold. You may also find mold in your HVAC system, and it can even find resting places in everyday items such as shoes and clothing. If we don’t visit or inspect these places often, we’re unlikely to catch the problem in its early stages. This is why it’s important to be aware of all the areas in your home and make sure that they get enough air circulation and the proper amount of light.
Buildings can sustain considerable damage if mold begins to grow deep within the structure. If you catch mold while it’s still in the superficial phases of growth, you’ll probably be able to salvage whatever it’s attacking. Tile and wood are both materials you may be able to save if you can catch the mold in time. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to remove mold from everything. Items such as mattresses, carpet, and insulation, are generally unsalvageable once attacked and should be discarded. Even if they seem completely clean, they may not be completely decontaminated, and you don’t want to risk further mold growth.
If mold is allowed to continue growing, it will eat away at the building materials and eventually work its way straight through—and there may come a point where you have to replace at least some of the wood. If the mold is attacking support beams that hold the structure upright, you may risk a complete collapse.
Personal health is generally one of the biggest concerns behind mold. Home damage can be costly, but long-term health concerns are even more worrying. Mold releases several dangerous compounds such as mycotoxins and mVOCs. Not much is known about the health effects of mVOCs, but several symptoms—including headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and nausea—are associated with these compounds.
There’s a lot of debate about mold’s effects on the general overall health of people who have been exposed. Mold can cause allergies and asthma, but it also appears to have the most negative effects on people who already suffer from these conditions.
Symptoms can include:
Puffy, watery eyes
According to Mold-Advisor, exposure to mold can worsen asthma by causing increased symptoms and a higher frequency in attacks. This can be treated with medication, but you should also be sure to treat the mold, or else the underlying problem won’t truly be solved.
Another danger of mold is toxic mold syndrome. This syndrome’s effects depend on the individual, so it doesn’t affect everyone. Whether or not you’re at risk depends entirely on genetics. If you’re predisposed to this syndrome, you may experience symptoms such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, and headaches. This can be confusing and scary, as pinpointing the cause of these symptoms can be difficult. While the symptoms sound scary, toxic mold syndrome is easily treatable once diagnosed.
Though mold is rumored to cause fatal diseases such as cancer, nothing has been proven as of yet. It’s important to be aware, however, that this is certainly a possible outcome of mold exposure. Just because it hasn’t been conclusively proven doesn’t mean you shouldn’t aware of all possible complications. If you’re worried about your health, it’s best to consult your doctor.
While there’s no definitive proof that mold is fatal to humans, we do know that it can have dangerous effects on animals. Animals are far more prone to mold-related illnesses than we are. One of the reasons is that they often lick things that we wouldn’t, and this exposure can be harmful. Dogs and cats can experience respiratory issues, lethargy, bleeding, and vomiting. If left untreated, these symptoms can lead to death.
If your pet displays any of the above symptoms, take them to the vet immediately. If the condition is caught early enough, your pet should be back in good health in no time.
Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the dangers of mold, you want to prevent any opportunities for this organism to grow. One of the most important things you can do is to check your home for any potential leaks. Inspect the roof and rooms such as your attic, basement, bathrooms, and closets. Ensure that your house is properly insulated and that you’re keeping your home’s humidity level between 40 and 50%. If you spill any liquids on wood or carpet, clean them up within 24 hours. Make sure that all water flows away from your house and that the home properly ventilated.
If you suspect that you currently have mold, contact a professional as soon as possible. The sooner you take care of the problem, the better off you and your home with be. For attic mold removal in Detroit, call Attic Renew today.