There is always some damp and mold everywhere – on many surfaces and in the air. Mold has been on the planet for millions of years. It grows where there is moisture. Thus, mold health issues are some of the most widespread health problems all over the world.
Nowadays, mold growth in places of work and homes is more of a health problem than we may think. Therefore, it is important that you recognize the symptoms of mold in your house, and take steps to protect yourself and your family.
How does mold affect your health?
Molds produce allergens (which are substances that cause an allergic reaction), irritants and, often, toxic substances. Touching or Inhaling mold spores can cause an allergic reaction, such as a runny nose, sneezing, skin rash, and red eyes. Molds may also cause asthma attacks.
Symptoms of Mold Health Issues
The severity and type of health effects which result from molds exposure are variable among different places, from person to person and over time.
Even though difficult to predict, exposure to damp and mold growing indoors is most often linked with certain allergy symptoms. Commonly, indoor molds exposure leads to upper respiratory tract symptoms, including:
- Nasal and sinus congestion
- Sore throat/cough
- Chest tightness
- Asthma (or exacerbation of it)
- Dyspnea (breathing difficulty)
- Skin and eye irritation
- Upper respiratory tract infections
- Epistaxis (nosebleed)
Moreover, some indoor mold is capable of producing exceedingly potent toxins (mycotoxins) which are lipid-soluble and willingly absorbed by the intestinal lining, skin, and airways. These agents, usually contained in the fungal spores, have poisonous effects ranging from short-term irritation to cancer and immunosuppression.
More severe symptoms that can result from continuous exposure to indoor molds include:
- Hypersensitivity pneumonitis/pulmonary fibrosis
- Pulmonary injury/bleeding
- Hematologic and immunologic disorders
- Pregnancy, cardiac and/or gastrointestinal conditions
- Hepatic, endocrine and/or renal toxicities
Further, some or much of the supporting scientific evidence for the above-stated health effects is based on case studies instead of controlled studies – which are studies that have not yet been repeated or involve subjective symptoms.
Who is affected?
Damp and molds can affect the immune system. Some people are more sensitive than others. Accordingly, long standing exposure to indoor mold is truly harmful to anyone, however, certain groups of people will develop more serious symptoms sooner than others, including:
- Babies and children
- Elderly people
- Persons with respiratory conditions, asthma, and/or allergies
- People with a weakened immune system
These individuals should stay away from damp and mold.
Causes of Damp and Mold
Damp and mold are initiated by excess moisture. Dampness in buildings may be triggered by rising damp in ground floors or basements, leaking pipes, or rain seeping around window frames or in the room because of damage to the roof.
A newly-built house could be damp if the water used when building it’s still drying out – for instance, in the plaster on the walls – which is one of the most common cases in numerous new buildings today and can cause serious mold health issues.
Condensation can also cause excess moisture indoors and is one of the greatest causes of damp and mold. Following you can find more about this issue and how to prevent condensation.
How do I get rid of damp and mold?
Damp and mold can really affect your health, hence, it’s important to get rid of it.
If you have mold or damp you should find out why you have excess moisture in your house. When you know what is causing the mold, you can make sure your house is fixed or take certain steps to limit the dampness in the air. You may need to get an expert to remove mold for you, but if it is just a small amount you might be able to eliminate it yourself.
How to Prevent Condensation?
Condensation forms when the air indoors cannot hold any more moisture. Showering, cooking, breathing without adequate ventilation, and drying clothes indoors can all cause excess moisture. Droplets could form on indoor surfaces like window sills, mirrors, and on walls, especially when they’re cold.
Here are some tips that can help you prevent the build-up of condensation in your home:
- avoiding using paraffin or bottled gas heaters, drying washing outside, and putting lids on saucepans;
- opening the bedroom window for about 15-20 minutes every morning;
- heating your home a little more;
- making sure your house is well insulated;
- leaving doors open and ventilating rooms regularly to allow air to circulate, unless you’re showering or cooking, and
- if you’re showering, bathing, or cooking – putting the fan on, opening the window, and closing the door of the room you’re in.
In order to improve ventilation or to get rid of leaks, you may need to do certain repairs in your house. Once your home has been repaired, or if your house is damp due to its newly built, it might take weeks of ventilation or heating it to dry it out. This will help you prevent mold health issues.
How to remove mold?
Once you’ve identified and fixed the cause of moisture in your house you can remove any mold. You may be able to eliminate mold yourself, or you may need to get a professional to eliminate it.
Though, you can only remove mold yourself if it is initiated by condensation and covers an area less than 1 m. squared (3×3 feet or 1×1 meter). Do not try to remove the mold yourself if it is initiated by sewage or other contaminated water.
- Protect yourself from damp and mold spores by wearing long rubber gloves, goggles, and a mask that covers your mouth and nose. Open the window but keep the door closed in order to prevent bacteria spreading to other places of the house;
- Take a plastic bag so you can take away any soft toys, clothes, and soft furnishings that are moldy. Soft furnishings should be rinsed and clothes dry cleaned.
- Mix some with mild detergent (such as a soup or washing up liquid used for hand-washing clothes) in a bucket;
- Use a rag dipped in the foamy water to carefully wipe the mold off the wall. But, be careful not to brush it – because this can release mold spores;
- When you’ve done, use a dry rag to take out the moisture from the wall;
- After that, put the rag in a plastic bag and throw it away,
- All the surfaces in the room must be thoroughly cleaned by either vacuuming or wet wiping to remove any spores.
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Exposure to damp and moldy areas can cause a variety of health problems or none at all. Many people are sensitive to molds and experience various mold health issues. For some people, molds can cause eye irritation, throat irritation, nasal stuffiness, wheezing or coughing, or, in certain cases, skin irritation. Individuals with mold allergies might have more severe reactions.
Inside your house, you can prevent and control mold growth by controlling humidity levels, fixing leaky pipes, roofs, and windows; ventilating laundry, shower, and cooking areas, and thoroughly cleaning and drying after flooding. If mold is growing in your house, you must clean up the mold and repair the moisture problem in order to get rid of mold health issues.
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