guest post by R.S. Hall
Mold is a word used to describe an array of spore-producing fungi. Mildew is another term for certain types of mold and is generally associated with the growth in showers and tubs. These allergens pose a health risk, particularly with prolonged exposure.
While the mold growing in your shower may be obvious, there are many places in your home where you may have an undetected patch lurking, such as inside the walls. Although it prefers a warm, damp environment, the spores can survive in less hospitable conditions and wait to land in a moist area. You and your family may come in contact with the spores and begin to experience troubling symptoms before you realize what is causing these health challenges.
Initial Signs of Mold Exposure
The risks associated with exposure are compounded for those with compromised immune systems, children and the elderly. The initial signs of exposure include congestion, breathing difficulties and upper respiratory tract infections. Other symptoms include chest tightness, nosebleeds, headaches and new or increased asthma attacks.
While some molds thrive on hardwood, others may prefer your shower or even your potted plants for a home. Each species poses slightly different health hazards, though none are safe for long-term exposure. Knowing the exact type of mold can help health care professionals to tailor their treatment plan.
The potential for damage increases over time with some people experiencing vomiting, diarrhea and a general loss of appetite. Others have had neurological problems and memory difficulties, sinus and ear infections, and muscular and joint pain. Sexual dysfunction and hair loss are other potential risks.
Mycosis is a type of infection caused by fungi and can show up on the skin or in the lungs. One common example is athlete's foot. There have been cases of death due to opportunistic mold that caused infections in those with already compromised immune systems.
Several species of mold create mycotoxins, which are hazardous to humans. Extreme cases of exposure to this toxin can lead to death. The first symptoms, though, are chronic inflammation, or there may be other immune system problems that set in. The toxicity is increased with these substances because they can easily cross the blood-brain barrier, causing behavioral and cognitive damage to the person.
Aspergillosis is a form of mold growth that can grow into a large tangled ball in your lungs, which can lead to pneumonia. Infection can cause bloody expulsions from the lungs, fatigue and weight loss. Chills, chest pain and facial swelling are also potential indicators of this condition.
Black mold is probably the most well-known toxic mold. Stachybotrys chartarum is actually greenish-black in color and requires plenty of wetness to thrive. Though usually wet and slimy, it can take on a gray, powdery appearance if present in a drier area. Professional testing is the only way to know for certain what species of mold you are dealing with.
This type of mold produces high levels of mycotoxins, although there are many factors influencing how much or little of it is released by the mold. Unlike most other molds, it can withstand incredibly high temperatures and chemicals that wipe out other types.
However, those who have prolonged exposure can experience brain hemorrhaging, autoimmune diseases and skin lesions. All of the organs are at risk for damage, and due in part to the compromised immune system, some people could develop cancer.
When left untreated, mold can damage more than your home. You and others in the household are at greater risk each day that it is allowed to thrive. Take the necessary steps to remove the mold from your home to avoid these potentially dangerous and even lethal results from long-term exposure.
R.S. Hall is the owner of several successful businesses and the publisher of the website MoldRemovalRescue.com, http://www.moldremovalrescue.com, which provides solutions for mold problems.