17 Signs Of Mold Illness (And How To Tell If You’re At Risk)
Mold is an informal name for fungus. They are a natural part of our environment and usually harmless. However, when the concentration of mold exceeds a certain level, it can cause serious health problems in humans. The influence of fungi on human health is much discussed, but unfortunately it is a completely undervalued issue in the public. The connection between fungi and allergies or respiratory diseases has been confirmed in numerous studies.
How Does Mold Affect The Health And Quality Of Life
– Allergic effects (depending on the allergenic potential of the fungal spores)
– Toxic effects
– Infectious consequences (especially when it comes to immune-compromised persons)
– Smelling nuisance (can affect the quality of life)
In fact, there’s a significant relationship between infectious diseases, allergies, eye irritation, respiratory tract, fatigue and body aches, with the presence of bacteria and various types of mold in the rooms we live in. Special attention should be paid in this regard to children, whose reaction is more sensitive than adults, and often cannot articulate their complaints. Thus, molds are a possible cause of health problems in residents of infected premises.
Molds are often developed in secret. Indoor air is usually warmer and therefore takes up more water than cold air. If we don’t ventilate the rooms sufficiently and in a proper manner, condensation will occur in different places in the house and facilitate the growth and development of mold. Mold in homes, especially in bathrooms, kitchens, children’s rooms and bedrooms, is an increasing problem. It occurs in a variety of colors: black, green and gray. During its development, it produces seeds (spores or conidia). These spores may be formed in quantities of millions in the air and as such continue to transmit, which is very dangerous. Usually, the biggest problem is in the microclimate of the rooms. Microorganisms multiply behind closets, in the corners of the walls, under wallpapers and everywhere where the humidity of the air is high enough.
Probably most of us think that the air in our rooms is cleaner than the one outside, such as on the streets, but research confirms that this assumption is wrong. It has been proven that the air in most of the rooms we live in and work can have dozens of times higher concentration of harmful substances than the one on the city streets. Molds are considered one of the most dangerous pollutants of our space!
Mold Illness, Common Signs And Symptoms
Can fungi make you sick? This might be the most frequent question people ask.
Mold spores are among the most important and dangerous indoor allergens. Some scientific studies show that people, after long and intensive contact with mold, are faced with increased health risks. Molds can cause physical reactions when they occur in a similar accumulation with toxic compounds, such as mycotoxins and microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOC).
Common symptoms and diseases associated with mold are:
– Diseases of the upper and lower respiratory tract, difficulty breathing, asthma
– Irritation of the eyes, such as sensitivity to light, red eyes, blurred vision
– Irritation of the skin (eczema)
– Increased susceptibility to infections
– A chronic state of exhaustion and weakness
– Problems with concentration and memory
– Muscle pain and cramps, joint pains
– Gastrointestinal disorders, diarrhea, nausea
– Resistance in weight loss
– Increased urination
– Excessive thirst
– Taste of metal in the mouth
Some molds, such as Stachybotrys atra, Aspergillus spp., Penicillium spp., Paecilomyces and Trichoderma, can produce very strong poisons. The poison is mainly found in the spores that are easily spread through the air, under certain indoor conditions.
How Is Health Compromised
As we stated in the beginning of this article, mold has adverse effects on human health and it is the most common and widespread cause of illnesses related to the so-called sick building syndrome. The spores of these predators, found in the air of the infected premises, affect people who suffer from allergies that further may result in the appearance of cough, fever and various other symptoms. Therefore, mold spores cause and provoke allergies and other conditions. Usually, here we include mycosis, poisoning of mycotoxins and allergies caused by mycoallergens. Mycoses are diseases caused by direct contact with mold. Inhaling mold spores can cause flu-like symptoms. The most common allergic reactions to mold are manifested through skin rashes, itching and rhinitis. Long-term inhalation of mold spores is very dangerous!
Mold growth primarily requires moisture, heat and nutrient support. Relative humidity of the indoor air is usually between 45 and 65 percent. If the relative humidity is constantly above 65 percent, a precondition for the development of mold is achieved. When the humidity level in the home reaches values above 75 percent, we have optimal conditions for mold development and growth. Moisture can be kept in control, within normal limits, with proper ventilation and heating. Make sure that the moisture, created by regular daily activities in the rooms in which you live in, such as cooking, washing, showering, etc., is drawn outside with ventilation. The change of hot and cold air with ventilation greatly helps in reducing moisture in the rooms, because the warm air binds large amounts of moisture. Molds mostly grow in places where we have a lack of air circulation, in the corners of rooms, and behind furniture, placed against walls. The biggest problems with mold arise in unheated rooms, where, despite ventilation, it still manages to thrive.
Suitable Nutritious Media
Fungi and mold feed on organic substances, such as fat, starch and protein. Some species feed on the substances contained within wood masses. Thus, in a regular home, mold has a full range of nutritive media, where they can develop: food, wood, cotton, wool… On the wall surfaces, the organic ingredients in the wall paint are what feeds the mold.
How To Avoid Occurrence Of Mold
Fighting mold and fungi is best achieved through undertaking physical measures such as:
– Avoiding condensation at cold places.
– Regular maintenance and cleaning of the air conditioning.
– Frequent change of indoor air – ventilate on every 3-4 hours, for a few minutes, or in smaller rooms, even more frequent ventilation is recommended.
– Moisture, caused by regular daily activities like cooking and showering, to be drawn out of the warm rooms with proper ventilation.
– Avoid putting put furniture, such as cabinets, along the exterior walls of the house. Otherwise, if you cannot do this, move them away from the wall, enough so that air can circulate freely.
It can be very difficult to permanently remove fungi and mold caught on building materials. Wallpapers, paint and plaster mold must be removed in depth. Use of fungicides should be avoided due to the toxicity of these agents. Moreover, such a measure is not a solution to the problem, but merely a treatment of the symptoms. We need to find the causes that lead to the mold development and try to eliminate them. In order to prevent recurrence of mold on disinfected places, be sure to find the cause of it, which is hidden in a lot of questions: Is the thermal insulation of the building well done? Is the outside wall of the building damaged (cracked)? Is the room properly ventilated? If you are unable to find a solution, ask for help of experts.
Tenants of new buildings, where the humidity level is much higher than allowed, must heat more and ventilate more often in the first heating season, in order to draw away the moisture.
How To Remove Mold
– 3-4 percent acetic acid is short time acting. Vinegar is available in all stores and supermarkets.
– A mixture of 3 parts of salicylic acid and 97 parts of 70 percent ethanol. Damp a cotton cloth in the prepped mixture and wipe the mold three times, at intervals of 30 minutes. The ingredients are available in pharmacies.
– Rinse the decontaminated areas with warm salt water and allow them to dry off well.
– Avoid the use of cheap disinfectants, based on solvents containing chlorine or fungicide additions. Preparations that act as good home disinfectant agents are spirit, acetic essence, 100 percent alcohol.
– When using preparations for mold removal, always wear protective gloves, protective equipment for the respiratory tract and ventilate the room properly.
– If you’re using color to recover and protect the damaged surfaces from mold recurrence, always use products of reputable manufacturers.