Mold Symptoms: How a Mold Problem Can Impact Your Health
Most people know that mold contamination in the home is a problem, but they may not quite understand the severity of the situation. While mold can lead to unsightly stains on the surfaces of a home, it can also lead to uncomfortable, and occasionally serious health complications.
What are the Symptoms of Mold Exposure?
The most common symptoms related to mold exposure are respiratory, similar to those experienced during a cold. This is due to the fact that the majority of mold related symptoms are caused by an allergic reaction to the spores mold releases into the air. Symptoms may include runny nose, congestion, red and watery eyes, cough, and wheezing. Those who are prone to asthma attacks may find that those symptoms are worsened as well. In sensitive individuals, skin rashes or eczema may also occur with mold exposure.
How Serious are Mold Symptoms?
Because they are caused by an allergic reaction in most cases, there is no way to predict how severely one may react to mold exposure. Some individuals may only experience the sniffles, while others may have a full blown asthma attack. Mold related symptoms are more serious for those who are sensitive to mold. For these individuals, symptoms may lead to extremely troubled breathing and sometimes fever, although severe symptoms are rare.
Those who have preexisting conditions of the lungs may also be at an increased risk of serious secondary lung infections.
What Is the Treatment for Mold Symptoms?
The most effective way to alleviate mold related symptoms is to get rid of the mold that’s causing them. In the case of outdoor molds, this generally isn’t possible. In those cases, an OTC allergy medication may help with allergy symptoms like congestion and itchy, watery eyes.
Indoor mold can usually be removed through deep cleaning. Most homes have some level of mold from time to time, most commonly in bathrooms, basements, and other damp areas where mold spores thrive. A cleaning solution of ¼ cup bleach per gallon of water can be used to kill mold on many surfaces. Keeping the air free from excess moisture can also kept mold at bay. A dehumidifier in damp areas and exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens can help.
For severe mold, a professional should be called in to remove the mold safely. This may need to be done in situations where the mold has grown over a large area where removal of spores could contaminate the air further if proper precautions aren’t taken, or when mold has grown on areas that can’t be easily cleaned, such as on drywall or in tight spaces like air ducts.
In some cases, materials may have to be removed and replaced to get rid of the mold entirely.