There are more than 100,000 different species of mold throughout the world – a number that will likely increase as scientists continue to study these microscopic organisms. Characterized by a unique growth pattern in the form of hyphae, mold is found just about everywhere. It’s in the air, on the ground, and on surfaces like counter tops. While exposure to small amounts typically doesn’t cause any ill side effects, prolonged exposure to high concentrations of mold can certainly prove troublesome.
Respiratory Tract Illness
One of the biggest problems associated with mold exposure is the negative impact it has on a person’s respiratory tract. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) that a direct link between exposure to indoor mold and upper respiratory tract symptoms like coughing, shortness of breath and wheezing. Furthermore, these symptoms were identified in people who were otherwise healthy, without any preexisting conditions.
Can mold exposure really lead to asthma? While there’s no definitive proof of this correlation, many experts say the answer is yes. As explained on Wikipedia, studies have shown that infants who are exposed to Penicillin – a specific type of mold – have an increased risk of developing asthma. Parents should heed this information as a warning, taking the necessary steps to eliminate and prevent mold growth in their homes.
Mold spores release toxic substances known as mycotoxins. While not all mycotoxins are harmful, some can be deadly to humans, especially during instances of long-term exposure. These mycotoxins can lead to a wide variety of problems, including neurological problems like memory trouble.
The dangers of mold don’t end there. Some people are allergic to mold, developing serious symptoms when exposed to the fungi. These symptoms can range from headaches and nausea to water eyes and trouble breathing. In people with mold allergies, the immune system views mold as a foreign invader, sending white blood cells to neutralize it. This over action, however, results in inflammation and other problems that cause the aforementioned symptoms.
To prevent mold growth in your home, you need to reduce moisture. Mold needs two things to grow and thrive: moisture and organic matter. Organic matter is found just about everywhere, making it difficult to control. You can, however, control the moisture in your home.
Tips to Prevent Mold Growth in Your Home:
- Maintain a relative humidity (RH) of less than 60%.
- Turn on bathroom ventilation fans when showering or bathing.
- Vent dryers outside your home.
- Inspect your roof on a regular basis, looking for signs of damage where moisture may enter your home.
- Ensure gutters and downspouts are pointed away from your home. When water pools up around a home’s foundation, it may seep into the crawlspace or foundation; thus, increasing moisture accumulation.
To find out if you have mold in your home, contact the certified mold inspectors at Bio Pro.