See those green, white or black spots in damp areas around your home that seems to be growing out of the paint or in the wood? That is mold, one of the perennial problems a modern American household has to face. They may look seemingly harmless and docile (disgustingly so at the same time), however, they present a lot of health risks that you may have been unaware of. People are known to experience major health problems when exposed in just even a short time to these microorganisms. So, with that said, what are the health risks of mold?
How do they form?
Before we discuss the various health risks, let’s first know what the subject at hand is. First off, mold is a type of fungus that grows in both indoor and outdoor places and thrives in damp and warm environments. There are over 100,000 types of mold, a thousand of which grows indoors. They may live in areas like in pieces of wood or in the interior of the house which is under a ruptured pipe or may have been taken in by the air conditioning unit or by your shoes. As long as an area of the house is not cleaned thoroughly when exposed to moisture, the possibility of mold sprouting up will increase. This is the reason why the aftermath of floods and torrential rains always include its existence. It only requires a few hours to release its spores and make new colonies.
So, what are the health risks?
Exposure to mold is only considered dangerous when the mold itself is of vast amounts and if the density of spores in the air is of extreme levels. However, if the mold is black in color, then immediately try to seek professional help to aid its removal since it is highly toxic. Health risks range from minor sneezing to major, life-threatening complications. Here are some of them:
Allergies. Sensitivity to mold varies per person. Symptoms may be the same as inhaling dust and other allergens like stuffed and runny nose, sneezing, wheezing and irritated eyes. More severe allergic reactions include fever and shortness of breath.
Aspergillosis. Though the symptoms are the same as allergies, the lenient forms of this disease is generally non-invasive and may not actually cause bodily damage in the long run. However, severe forms of this may cause damage to body tissue and organs, particularly the lungs. People who are experiencing long bouts of asthma and other respiratory conditions are susceptible to this.
Mycotoxicosis. Yes, that name is a handful, however, the difficulty of pronouncing it is nothing compared to the devastation it brings. This is usually taken from the dreaded black mold which contains high levels of mycotoxins. Once the spores are inhaled, ingested or contacted the skin, they are able to do internal damage like inhibiting lung functions, protein synthesis and lowers resistance to endotoxins.
Remember, mold can not only grow on wood; it can also thrive in paper and damp clothes. When you first spot it, immediately try to find ways to get rid of it.