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Negative Health Effects of Mold: What You Need to Know

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Finding mold within your home is scary, making mold remediation crucial. It is well-published that mold can be dangerous because mold exposure symptoms can lead to adverse health effects.

When you find mold in your home, it is crucial to know the potential health risks that may be happening due to the molds presence. In this article, we will discuss what the mold symptoms are and why the presence of mold needs quick mold remediation.

What is Mold?

Mold develops anywhere and is found almost everywhere. These tiny organisms benefit the environment because they are needed to break down dead materials. 

Mold spores travel easily through the air. Typically, a problem will only develop in the home once the mold spores are exposed to moisture — prolonged moisture allows the mold to grow.

Moisture in your home can present itself in the following situations:

  • Flooding
  • Damp basement or crawl space
  • Leaking roof or plumbing
  • Poorly ventilated areas
  • A clothes dryer vented indoors
  • Use of humidifiers

Once moisture is present, mainly due to flooding, mold can begin developing within the first 24 hours.

As the mold grows, it releases spores. In small numbers, the spores will cause no mold symptoms. However, the more it grows, the more spores are released into the air, causing adverse health effects. 

Depending on the mold type, symptoms may be similar to those caused by plant pollen. Other mold types, like black mold, release toxins called mycotoxins. Exposure to these mycotoxins can cause more severe illnesses.

Short-Term Symptoms of Mold Exposure

If exposed to mold temporarily, the symptoms will not likely cause severe symptoms. Typically the initial symptoms after mold exposure are similar to those that would present themselves in someone with seasonal allergies. 

These symptoms include:

  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Itching
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Headache
  • Fatigue

Long-Term Symptoms of Mold Exposure

When a mold problem goes unnoticed or unresolved, and exposure happens for a more extended period, the symptoms worsen. Repeated exposure can cause more severe allergic reactions.

Long-term exposure to mold, or mold poisoning, can exacerbate respiratory issues causing an individual to experience prolonged coughing and wheezing. It can even cause someone to have difficulty breathing. These respiratory issues can develop into more severe illnesses like bronchitis. 

Once a more severe illness arises, it can cause a weakened immune system making it hard to recover. 

Additionally, persisting exposure can cause other issues like:

  • Skin irritation
  • Eye irritation
  • Persistent headaches and migraines
  • Increased exhaustion
  • Random muscle cramps
  • Development of asthma in children

More severe cases may develop light sensitivity, unexplained weight gain, and hair loss. If someone with known mold exposure develops these symptoms, it is essential to seek medical attention.

Who is Most Susceptible?

When mold spore counts begin to make an impact, it will affect specific demographics first. For sensitive individuals, even minor exposure can trigger symptoms. Those who are most susceptible to mold exposure are:

  • Young Children
  • Elderly
  • Those with chronic respiratory issues like Asthma
  • People with allergies
  • Those with a weakened immune system due to certain conditions

Even though these individuals are more sensitive to mold exposure symptoms, Anyone can develop symptoms.

No matter if pre-existing conditions exist, the longer someone is exposed, will increase their risk of developing mold symptoms. 

Are Mold Exposure Symptoms Permanent?

Symptoms typically appear within 2-9 hours after exposure. Depending on the severity of exposure, symptoms can resolve quickly (1-3 days) or over a few months. The time it takes for symptoms to resolve depends on the current and previous exposure levels. 

What is the Treatment for Mold Exposure Symptoms?

If you suspect you or someone else is presenting symptoms due to mold, it is vital to seek medical help. Your primary care physician will be able to diagnose if the symptoms that are presenting themselves are, in fact, due to mold.

Typically, a medical professional will provide allergy medication for less severe cases. This medication will reduce the impact of mold symptoms. 

More severe symptoms, like respiratory illnesses, will need treatment specific to that illness. 

No matter the course of treatment, recovery can only be successful if their exposure to mold ends. Only complete removal of the mold can prevent further issues. For this reason, it is essential to take immediate action and seek mold remediation. 

Mold Remediation 

Mold remediation is a crucial step to take to avoid developing mold exposure symptoms. If the mold area is smaller than 10 square feet (3ft x 3ft), it is possible to do it yourself. If the affected space is greater than 10 square feet, it is time to seek a professional to ensure the issue is fully resolved. 

Mold Removal

In a small area of mold growth, you can take a handful of steps to resolve the issue yourself. Here are a few: 

  1. Make sure to eliminate all sources of moisture. If moisture continues, then the mold will regrow.
  2. Wear safety gear like old clothes, N-95 or P100 respirators, goggles, gloves, etc. 
  3. Ensure the space is adequately ventilated 
  4. Remove all affected furniture and carpet. 
  5. Use a cleaning solution of white vinegar, bleach, or ammonia and water.

How to Prevent Mold from Growing

After completing mold remediation, it is important to prevent any further mold growth or mold from ever developing. Mold prevention is the best way for someone to take action against mold exposure symptoms. Here are a few ways to prevent mold growth:

  • Use dehumidifiers to reduce humidity somewhere around 30-50%
  • Use exhaust fans to improve ventilation in bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry areas
  • Vent the clothing dryer outside
  • Dry wet, or flooded areas in 24-48 hours 
  • Replace flooring with one that will not retain moisture
  • Clean the bathroom regularly to attack mold and mildew as soon as it appears
  • Use a HEPA filter to remove mold spores from the air through the air conditioner

When to Seek a Professional

Mold remediation is a complicated process. If you are experiencing symptoms due to mold exposure, you likely need to seek professional help. 

If the spores are vast enough to affect you, they will likely have traveled to other spaces. Thus, there are likely places where mold is beginning to grow, and you may not know it. 

A professional will know the best practices to ensure the mold is safely eliminated from the building. 

Additionally, hiring a professional can be the most cost-effective route in some cases because they have all the equipment to do the job quickly and efficiently. 

Use Utah Disaster Clean Up and Restoration to Remove Mold from Your Home

When mold exposure symptoms occur, and you need mold remediation, contact Utah Disaster Clean Up and Restoration.

Our skilled technicians are available 24/7 to offer you fast and friendly service. Let us use our extensive knowledge to take the worry out of your mold issue so you can focus on healing. 

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