There are two guaranteed ways to recognize a mold problem in your home: pick up on the visible signs you have an infestation or become familiar with the spectrum of mold illness symptoms. Obviously, we care deeply about your health the wellbeing of your loved ones, so we unconditionally favor an emphasis on former and enlisting only trained and respected remediation professionals to deal with any issues that do arise. That being said, as experienced expert, we also recognize that mold doesn’t always sprout in plain sight. In fact, the most dangerous blights gain a foothold well out of sight and undisturbed, remaining inconspicuous until either rot, sickness, or both spread through your household.
A little proactive homeowner education can go a long way. Recognizing a potential mold illness when you see it may give you a jump on symptoms before they can dramatically worsen, potentially into life-threatening conditions. At the same time, knowing when you have an outbreak on your hands will alert you to address suspected infestations before they have a chance to jeopardize your home’s structures or the health of you and your loved ones.
What Is Mold Illness?
Mold remediators and scientists group the roughly 1,000 different types of mold that grow in and around modern American homes into three general categories, based on how they affect livings things that come into contact with them.
More problematic to allergic children than adults, Allergenic Molds rate lowest in terms of their inherent dangers. In fact, they only tend to cause noticeable reactions among individuals with either predisposed allergies to specific varieties or asthma.
Next up the scale, Pathogenic Molds cause infections with acute symptoms resembling bacterial pneumonia, making them particularly problematic to individuals with compromised immune systems such as the elderly and cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Toxigenic Molds produce highly dangerous mycotoxins known to cause cancer and immunosuppression when eaten, inhaled, touched, or otherwise absorbed into the body. They are not to be handled by anything less than a certified professional under any circumstance.
Among the numerous varieties of mold filling these three major classifications, mold removal companies encounter five particular types especially frequently:
Aspergillus typically grows warm, exceptionally damp climates. Often occupying household dust, the mycotoxins it produces can cause serious lung infections.
Alternaria can inflict allergic responses but is not considered significantly dangerous. To lend some idea as to just how prolifically it spreads, it is commonly found within the upper respiratory tract, nose, and mouth.
A quite common outdoor fungus, Cladosporium can grow on wood, textiles, and similar porous damp surfaces once it makes its way indoors. From there, it can set off asthma and hay fever symptoms once it enters the body.
Quite possibly the most well-known species, Penicillium is found on carpeting, decaying fabrics, fiberglass duct insulation, and even wallpaper, to name just a few common homes. Though most famous for the antibiotic applications of its mycotoxins, it can also set off allergic reactions and asthma attacks.
Stachybotrys is one of, if not the most toxic species found in North American homes. The mycotoxins produced by “black mold” can create potentially lethal breathing difficulties and bleeding of the lungs, as well as a host of other major afflictions. Though the least common of the five most widespread species, we would not call it “rare” by any stretch. Though it does not grow on tile, linoleum, or concrete, it thrives when grown on cellulose products such as wood or paper.
To be a bit more specific, “mold illness” actually describes a variety of ailments that mold exposure can cause. Most molds cause little more than an irritating but non-lethal allergic reaction, but others can set off serious illnesses with no associated allergies whatsoever. It’s a range from minor irritation to skin infections and flu-like symptoms, pneumonia, or deadly toxic reactions. Mold toxicity is a Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) characterized as a chronic and acute, systemic inflammatory response that follows exposure to an interior water-damaged environment inhabited by resident toxigenic organisms such as bacteria, fungi, actinomycetes, and Mycobacteria.
While self-diagnosis is emphatically ill-advised, mold illnesses tend to present with varying combinations of about 11 general symptoms coupled with the confirmed presence of known environmental culprits:
- Excessive thirst coupled with increased urination
- Fatigue and weakness
- Asthma and sinus problems such as shortness of breath or a cough
- Night sweats or irregular temperature regulation
- Vertigo and tremors
- Tingling and numbness
- Impaired vision, including light sensitivity or red eyes
- Diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, and other digestive issues
- Lingering metallic taste in mouth
- Unexplained muscle aches, pains, or cramps and persistent joint or nerve pain
- Memory impairment, problems with focusing, chronic headaches
Please, if you experience any of these symptoms and suspect a household mold infestation, consult a physician immediately and engage a licensed mold removal service to investigate your home.
How Do I Know If I Have Mold In My Home?
We would rather not sugarcoat it: discovering mold spreading through your home can make for a disgusting, frustrating revelation. Panic is not at all unusual but rarely solves anything. One discolored patch spreading across your ceiling shouldn’t make you feel forced to put your home on the market in the morning. Just don’t let growth slide until it surpasses relatively inexpensive, simple remedies and creates escalating risks to your health.
Like we said, there are few better weapons against mold than knowing a problem when you see its earliest earmarks.
If your ordinary symptoms suddenly worsen in your home and seem to dissipate not long after you leave, you may be experiencing distinct reactions to mold growing where you live. Be wary of significant sore eyes, nasal congestion, runny noses, or sneezing. Take stock and then be mindful of your symptoms’ severity in various locations.
Your nose knows. Mold growing in your home will almost always give off a musty smell. In fact, that could be your first and only clue before physical symptoms set in, if you have a particularly well-sheltered crop. Whether you can see any growth or not, investigate your home immediately and thoroughly while there still might be time to deal with it without too great an expense.
Mold often gets overlooked because people mistake it for stray dirt or soot. While it goes ignored, it can quickly spread while ongoing conditions conducive to rampant mold growth continue unchecked and possibly set the stage for a massive hidden colony’s expansion throughout your home. Some species are obvious and disconcerting shades of gray-brown, gray-green, or black but others can appear thread-like and white in color. There are even types known to grow behind wallpaper that appear pink, purple, or orange.
How Do I Know If Water Damage Has Caused Mold?
Moisture infiltration creates a host of potential mold hazards worth discussing unto themselves. Almost any long-term water damage will create optimal growing conditions for various species of mold. Never dismiss water stains or discoloration across floors, ceilings, or walls. On the side of caution, assume water has been permeating your home’s structures long enough to foster a mold colony and schedule an inspection.
Surface abnormalities such as bubbling, peeling, or cracking of wallpaper or paint are superficial signs of a leak somewhere. If you notice bulges, warping, bowing, or surface dampness in your walls, consider that a sign you have a particularly severe problem.
If you know you have problematic leaks in your pipes or ceilings, heading off mold growth should be a substantial motivation to both seal the infiltration points up and diligently inspect your home. A leak hidden behind a wall has all the time in the world to nurture a burgeoning colony out of plain sight without being detected. Chances are, you won’t know mold has sprung up until the growth spreads out from beyond the surface concealing it.
Last, but not least, any home plagued by flooding has almost certainly developed a mold colony. Flooded homes in especially humid, warm areas often offer the exceptional conditions necessary for several especially toxic species to grow and thrive. Mold will most likely begin in the basement and other areas where water has probably lingered longest but fully expect additional growth behind walls and beneath floors.