How Undetected Mold Affects Your Health
If you’ve noticed an increase in asthma attacks or are experiencing unexplained breathing or respiratory problems, there may be mold lurking in your home. According to the November 2021 issue of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, exposure to mold can make asthma worse, trigger allergic reactions and infants living in moldy homes were 3x more likely to develop asthma by the age of 7. Learn more about how mold can affect your health and how to get rid of it.
What is Mold and Where it Comes FromMold is part of the fungus family. A microorganism presenting in the form of spores, it is found everywhere whether indoors or outside. In order to grow, mold needs moisture and oxygen. Wet leaves and soil or dead/decaying organic matter are prime spots for mold. Outdoors, mold plays its part in the eco-cycle by breaking down this dead/decaying organic matter. Inside your home, however, mold causes damage and triggers allergic reactions and other health issues. With the right damp conditions, mold can grow on virtually anything from walls, windows, carpet, clothing, and food. Mold reproduces and spreads by releasing spores into the air. Once the spores are released into the air, they “feed” on whatever they land on and ultimately, whatever the mold lands on is destroyed.
Health Risks Due to MoldMold primarily affects the respiratory system. Those with pre-existing breathing conditions such as allergies as asthma are at high risk for increased health risks. Mold exposure is also dangerous for infants and the elderly. Health indicators that mold may be present in your home include:
- An increase in allergy symptoms such as a rash, runny nose, watery eyes and sneezing
- An increase in the onset or severity of asthma attacks
- Proper ventilation is a key factor to prevent the growth and spread of mold. A dehumidifier, fans and sump pumps all help circulate air and dry out damp areas throughout the home.
- Repair all leaks and sources of standing water or damp conditions in the home. Mold needs moisture to thrive.
- Clean mold with a solution of water and bleach to kill and prevent mold from spreading and causing damage to its host, which can be anything from food to fabrics to walls.
- Odor is also a key indicator that there may be a moisture problem in your home. Spray wet surfaces and musty-smelling spaces with an anti-fungal spray to sanitize and deodorize the areas prior to drying.