Discovering mold can be one of the most stressful experiences for a homeowner. Mold may present health risks to you and your family, ranging from mildly annoying to potentially life-threatening. Because mold can grow in places you may not normally be able to see, such as inside the holds or the ducts of an HVAC system, you won’t always know for certain if your home does harbor mold. A home mold inspection can ensure that you and your loved ones are free from any health risks due to mold and airborne spores.
The Risks Mold Poses To Your Health
Mold itself is not harmful. The health risks associated with fungi are most commonly linked to the spores the mold releases, which cause a variety of respiratory problems, and other illnesses.
- Many people suffer reactions to mold that are very similar to allergies. They may experience a stuffy nose, eye irritation, wheezing, and skin irritation.
- Those who are allergic to mold may suffer extreme reactions, such as shortness of breath, and fever.
- People with chronic lung problems may experience a mold infection in their lungs. Fungal pneumonia may cause dissemination of the disease to other parts of the body, such as the brain, heart, or eyes. Depending on where the infection spreads, it may cause blindness, skin lesions, or become fatal. Those with compromised immune systems are most at risk.
- Some studies have linked exposure to mold in early childhood to increased risks of asthma, but are not yet conclusive. It is certain that mold can trigger episodes in asthmatics, half of whom have respiratory allergies which may include mold.
- Some strains of mold, such as Stachybotrys chartarum, may produce mycotoxins, which, if inhaled or otherwise ingested in sufficient amounts, are poisonous.
What You Can Do About Mold in Your Home
Mold can grow in most environments, but especially likes the damp. You can prevent mold growth by controlling humidity levels, and ventilating areas such as the shower and kitchen. Humidity should be no more than 50% in the home. Using a dehumidifier or air conditioner unit during particularly humid months can help control humidity. Bathroom areas should not be carpeted, as the moisture can build in the pad and contribute mold growth. You may also add mold inhibitors to paint before applying to your home.
The most effective way to make absolutely certain your home is mold-free is to arrange for a home mold inspection. However, you should know that the government has not established any standard levels of acceptable mold growth, so be sure to ask the company performing your home mold inspection their criteria for dangerous levels of mold, as well as possible treatment.
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John Shelton is a father of three and knows first-hand the importance of keeping children safe from germs and harmful molds.