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Health Risks Associated With Household Mold And Mildew



A lot of homeowners are unaware that their homes contain household mold because they do not see or smell any signs of infestation. But what is wrong with mold and mildew growth at home? As long as they stay in the laundry room or in the basement where they can’t be seen, no one would care, right? That is not true. You should care about mold and mildew growth because they are not only wreaking havoc in your house, they could also wreck your health as well.

What Are Mold and Mildew?

There are various names for mold, including household mold, toxic mold, and black mold. Mildew, on the other hand, is used as a term for a slimy black or white film which may result from mold growth on a particular surface. These are fungi that can quickly grow in moisture-rich areas. Although these fungi serve an important purpose in the environment by getting rid of organic material, such as leaves to enrich the soil, too much mold growth can lead to health risks.

This article will discuss how mold and mildew can affect your health if you are living in a moldy home, and how you can prevent their growth.

Health Risks Of Mold And Mildew

Long-term exposure to household mold is very unhealthy for anyone; however, there are certain groups of people who might develop more severe symptoms sooner than others.

  • Infants and toddlers
  • Elderly people
  • Those with existing health conditions, such as respiratory conditions, asthma, and allergies
  • Immunocompromised individuals

Allergy: There are people who might suffer from allergic reactions due to mold spores and fragments. The reaction to these fungi can be immediate or it might develop over time. The allergic reaction may range from a mild skin allergy to severe respiratory problems. Here are some types of allergy:

  • Rhinitis or sinusitis: The symptoms of this condition include runny nose, red eyes, sore throat, dry cough, and nasal or sinus congestion.
  • Dermatitis: Red and itchy skin. Rashes may also develop.
  • Asthma: This respiratory condition can be triggered by mold and mildew exposure.
  • Pneumonitis: This is a serious lung problem. The symptoms may include shortness of breath, chills, aches, and pains, loss of appetite, mild fever, coughing.

Aspergillosis: This is a form of lung infection. This triggers allergic reactions and it also suppresses the immune system, lowering the individual’s white blood cells. This disease can spread to other body systems, causing the organs to fail which ultimately leads to death.

There are also certain types of molds that are toxigenic which means that if they mix with other substances, they create by-products that are toxic and carcinogenic called mycotoxins. Those who are exposed to mycotoxins may suffer from headaches, muscle ache, fever, fatigue, and mood swings. More severe health complications include:

  • Cancer
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Cardiac conditions
  • Bleeding of the lungs
  • Hematologic and immunologic disorders
  • Hepatic, endocrine, and renal toxicities

How To Prevent Mold And Mildew Growth

Keep Your Bathroom Fresh: This means you should ventilate your bathroom to keep it moisture-free. You can place an exhaust fan in the bathroom to assist in air circulation. You could also try the following:

  • Spread towels out after using the bathroom. This will help in drying up the bathroom.
  • Reduce containers left in the bathroom.
  • Wipe down the shower at the end of the day.

Clean Carpets: You should also regularly vacuum your carpet and get rid of as much mildew as you can. You should immediately throw away the vacuum bag outdoors.

Other preventive measures include the following:

  • Use dehumidifiers and open the windows. This will minimize the moisture inside your house.
  • Fix any leaking faucets or plumbing as soon as possible.
  • Consider pressure washing your house exteriors to get rid of mold and mildew.
  • Clean your upholstered furniture and other fabrics at home and keep them dry.