Mold - it’s the silent attacker that no one sees coming. There’s mold everywhere - on your food, in your bedroom, on your towel and in your car. The scary thing about mold is that it can grow wherever there is moisture. Did you know that you can be allergic to mold? And just like most other allergens, some react strongly and others don’t react at all. However, despite its dangerous reputation, mold can be a good thing, too. In fact, some types play critical roles in the creation of common foods, beverages, enzymes and antibiotics. So, what’s the big deal with mold?
At The Urgency Room, we frequently treat both children and adults for mold exposure. Moreover, we often see cases where people didn’t even know that they needed to be concerned about mold in their homes. To help prevent future cases of mold-induced illness and allergies, We’ve put together a simple and easy guide that will help you understand what mold is, identify mold-related health issues and prevent mold from forming. If you suspect that you or a loved one are suffering from a mold-related illness, then be sure to come visit us at one of our three Twin Cities locations today.
Mold is actually a fungus that grows in the form of multicellular, string-like compositions called hyphae. Mold can be identified by its color and smell. When it comes to household mold, there are five different variants that you should be on the lookout for.
- Stachybotrys: You probably know this mold by its more common name: black mold. Black mold is particularly dangerous as it can cause symptoms ranging from troubled breathing, memory and hearing loss, dizziness, vomiting, fever, stomach pain and bleeding in the lungs. It also has the ability to create airborne toxins (known as mycotoxins). When black mold is present, it will be slimy in appearance and texture. Fortunately, black mold is the least common type of mold found in homes.
- Cladosporium: Cladosporium is the burglar of the five types of mold. It typically grows outside, but it can sneak in through your HVAC or other areas of open airflow. Once inside your home, Cladosporium will typically grow on fabrics, woods and other porous areas. Coming into contact with Cladosporium can result in hay fever and can trigger asthma symptoms and attacks in asthmatics.
- Penicillium: Penicillium is like a spider. Once it enters your home, it can live on or in your walls. Penicillium can grow on wallpaper, fabric, carpet and even fiberglass. Like black mold, Penicillium can produce airborne mycotoxins. Penicillium can induce hay fever, allergies and asthma.
- Alternaria: Alternaria is the jack-of-all-trades mold. It can grow in carpets, fabric, dust, windows, showers and plant soil. Alternaria can also cause mild to severe allergies in those who come in contact with it.
- Aspergillus: Aspergillus grows in dust in warmer climates and can produce many mycotoxins (which are directly associated with diseases that affect humans and animals).
Mold Color Chart
Identifying Mold-Related Illness and Allergies
The effects of mold can range from itchy eyes to congested lungs. Every person will react to mold differently. Some are highly sensitive to mold and will experience symptoms within minutes of entering a room where mold is present. For others, it may take an extended period of exposure before any symptoms present themselves. If you or a loved one begin to exhibit any of the symptoms outlined below and no clear cause is apparent, then mold might be to blame.
Some common signs of allergies that are caused by mold include: runny nose, itchy nose and throat, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation or skin irritation. People with preexisting medical conditions should be extra careful of avoiding mold. Those with asthma may suffer the most from mold-related illnesses and allergies because exposure can lead to asthma attacks and symptoms.
Ask yourself these questions when wondering if mold is to blame for your sudden symptoms. If you answer yes to any of the question below, the cause of your symptoms may be mold. It’s best to come by and be seen by an Urgency Room doctor if you suspect that you or a loved one are suffering from mold exposure.
- Do my symptoms start suddenly when I enter a certain room?
- Do my symptoms get worse after I interact with certain items, such as towels, old blankets, carpeting or drapes?
- Is any portion of my house constantly damp?
- Are my windows properly cleaned and ventilated?
- Is there an excess of dust in my home?
- Do I clean my air vents and filters properly and consistently?
Preventing Mold from Forming
While we can’t do anything about the mold found naturally outside, we can control the levels of mold inside our own homes. However, bear in mind that the below tips and tricks are not one-time solutions - mold will constantly be entering your house through open windows, air vents and on your clothes or shoes. The steps needed to prevent mold from forming should to be repeated on a consistent schedule or else you run the risk of mold reforming after you have eradicated it.
- Regulate the levels of humidity in your home. Say goodbye to steam and hello to dehumidifiers.
- Repair leaks in roofs, windows and pipes promptly.
- Ventilate areas where high levels of steam occur, such as in bathrooms, laundry rooms and the kitchen.
- Dry wet areas immediately after a spill or storm.
- Use mold-resistant products when possible.
- Improve the airflow in your home.
- Regularly clean HVAC floor grates and air filters.
- Keep mold off your indoor house plants. You can accomplish this by mixing Taheebo tea into the water you use to water your plants.
- Do not leave clothes sitting wet in the washing machine.
- Wash outdoor linens frequently.
- Vacuum regularly.
Put an End to Your Mold Suffering with The Urgency Room
The Urgency Room wants you to be comfortable and safe in your home, so if you believe that you or a loved one are experiencing mold-induced illnesses or allergies, then come see one of our friendly medical professionals today to find a solution that works best for your situation. Our doctors specialize in respiratory and breathing problems, allergic reactions, asthma and more. Last but not least, don’t hesitate to call or message us if you have any additional questions or concerns about mold prevention and safety. We’re here to help!