The Health Effects of Mold
Mold is more than just an annoying, unattractive and foul-smelling household nuisance. Common molds can be extremely dangerous if left untreated, and can take a serious toll on your health and the health of your family. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, call the mold experts at Vital Restoration at 650-262-4545 to have your home tested for this harmful fungus.
Mold allergies occur when you breathe in mold spores. Mold allergy symptoms resemble those of other allergen sensitivities — sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, coughing, itchy eyes or throat, skin irritation or rashes, and a general lack of energy. While many upper respiratory allergies follow a similar pattern, if you experience symptoms when you are in a damp area, you could have a mold allergy. People who are otherwise perfectly healthy can develop a mold allergy simply by or working in a building that is very humid, has poor ventilation, or has been exposed to moisture due to flooding or an ongoing leak.
When mold spores collect in large quantities and begin to germinate, they can become a household hazard. Respiratory illness is one of the most common problems associated with mold exposure. Airborne mold spores enter the airways, and can cause coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing and even lung infections. A mold-caused infection can have symptoms ranging from a flu-like reaction to breakouts or rashes on the skin. Even pneumonia is possible.
The link between mold and various cancers is still being researched, but toxins found in certain molds are known to be carcinogenic. The terms “toxic mold” and “toxigenic mold” refer specifically to molds that produce dangerous toxins known as mycotoxins. Researchers have discovered carcinogens in specific mycotoxins-such as Aflatoxin B1, found in the Aspergillus flavus mold-which are linked to liver cancer and lung cancer.
Molds produce organisms known as microbial volatile organic compounds (mVOCs). These airborne compounds are responsible for the musty mold odor and familiar mildew smell, and mVOC exposure has been linked to symptoms that include headaches, nasal irritation, nausea, dizziness, disorientation and fatigue. MVOCs can even contribute to severe, long-term neurotoxicity in certain cases.
Black Mold vs. Common Mold
Stachybotrys chartarum, also known as “black mold,” is the headline-grabbing mold that produces toxins that can cause serious detrimental health effects. It’s important to note that while this type of mold is less likely to be found in your home, more common (“normal”) molds may also be considered toxigenic and can still significantly impact you and your family’s health. The most common symptoms of mold exposure might not even strike you as particularly concerning. Sneezing, itching and irritated skin, watery or itching eyes, and headaches are the first things that you may start to observe if you are exposed to mold. Since these warning signs are easy to attribute to something else, it’s important to regularly test for mold growth in your home and determine what type of mold you have to avoid the potential for more serious health issues that can arise if mold is present and left untreated.
Determine if Your Home Has a Mold Problem
The first step is to have your home thoroughly inspected by a professional mold detection company. At Vital Restoration, all new customers can receive a free mold inspection conducted by technicians certified by the independent, non-profit Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration. It’s impossible to know if a mold is toxigenic simply by looking at it. Not all black-colored molds constitute the dreaded “black mold,” and some of the most harmless-looking mildews may in fact contain mycotoxins. Only a professional assessment can determine the exact spore.
Dry Things Out
Reducing the amount of humidity in the home may help limit the growth of mold. Generally speaking, the higher the humidity level, the more mold will grow. Fixing leaky plumbing, loose washer and dryer vents, and insufficient ventilation can all help. Anyone who lives in a humid environment like the San Francisco Bay Area should purchase home dehumidifiers. Dehumidifiers work by drawing the extra moisture from the air, allowing things to dry out. Place them in your bathrooms, your kitchen and your basements for maximum effectiveness.
Clean-Up and Removal
It’s not a good idea to attempt a serious mold or mildew cleanup job on your own because it can potentially make the problem worse. If–during your mold inspection–the technician finds serious mold overgrowth, leave it up to the professionals to guide you through the removal process. Cleaning mold by hand may cause the spores to travel freely through the air, which can increase the risk of health problems and actually spread the mold. Instead, rely on the mold remediation experts at Vital Restoration at 650-262-4545 or contact us online by filling out a simple form for safe and effective mold removal.
If you suspect your home has a mold problem, contact Vital Restoration to schedule an inspection by the most experienced and knowledgeable IICRC certified-professionals in the cleaning and restoration field. We can determine if you have a mold problem, identify exactly what kind of mold you have, and then eliminate the problem using the most cutting-edge mold remediation tools. We also pride ourselves on our rapid, emergency response, any time of the day or night, 365 days a year. Don’t put your health and the health of your loved ones at risk any longer. Call the San Francisco mold inspection and remediation experts at Vital Restoration today at 650-262-4545 for your free estimate.