More and more people are becoming aware of the potential threat posed by the presence of mold in their home. Most of the cases talked about in the media related to molds ability to cause respiratory problems as well as sparking respiratory allergies. Individuals with asthma also seem more likely to experience an attack if they are in an indoor environment with a high mold spore density.
While most of these stories are related to black or otherwise known as “Toxic Mold,” it is possible for other, seemingly less dangerous forms of mold to affect the human body. There are even some individuals with a genetic predisposition to mold reactions and chronic inflammatory conditions like Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome.
Yet this isn’t the limit of the threat mold can present to the human body, and mold may be more prevalent in your home than you think! Indeed, mold and other fungi are present just about everywhere in the natural world and its spores can come into your home in the air. If those spores land in a warm, damp place they have the very real chance of germinating into a small colony.
If this colony develops in a place that’s out of view, like a storage closet, unused downstairs basement, crawl space of your attic, it will likely continue to grow unfettered. As time goes on, the growing colony will continue to release more and more mold spores into the air, which will look for a new home, while also increasing the density of mold spores throughout your home.
A problem like this often manifests at first as a lingering, musty smell that you might even dismiss as damp air. As time goes on you, or other people living in the home might start to exhibit signs of respiratory irritation like a nagging cough, asthma attack, or increasing problems with respiratory allergies. Some people who react to mold will also suffer from persistent headaches when they are in the affected environment, as well as nausea, and potential issues with chronic inflammation.
There is even a growing body of research that has shown a correlation between the chronic presence of mold spores in a home and mental health issues such as dementia. There have been a few cases where a reaction to mold even mimicked the early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Can Mold Affect Your Skin?
The skin, which is also known as the integumentary system, has many jobs. One of its primary purposes is to protect the internal structures of the body from external threats, which includes a vast array of harmful microbes.
There are even harmless forms of fungus that attach to the skin and don’t cause any immediate harm beyond causing a mild discoloration. These skin fungi are more likely in wet warm climates and may go dormant in the winter, only to redevelop in the summer. Dealing with them requires little more than a prescription skin cream from a dermatologist.
Yet there are some people who experience a reaction when their skin is exposed to mold and airborne mold spores. Over time what starts out as seemingly mild skin irritation can start to worsen. In many of these cases, the rash is part of a much larger immune system response to the presence of mold.
Developing A Mold-Related Skin Rash
When mold spores are breathed in or land on the skin of a sensitive individual, the immune system goes to work. The skin even has special cells called Langerhans cells, that actively work to trap microbial invaders for delivery to the internal immune system.
Mold spores are inhaled into the lungs or become trapped in the sinus cavity it can trigger the person’s immune system. In an acute case, it might cause you to sneeze or cough uncontrollably while you are in the environment. In a case of more chronic exposure, your immune system may start to develop excess antibodies, which can also increase inflammation in the skin as well as other tissues.
Symptoms Of A Mold Rash
A mold rash typically manifests as an area of red irritated skin, that gradually starts to develop small, raised bumps. Mold rashes are usually described by the individual sufferer as being “Extremely itchy.”
Mold Rash Can Contribute To A Skin Infection
The severe itchiness of a mold rash can be hard to ignore. Many sufferers fail to avoid the impulse to scratch excessively. This can harm the various dermal layers that are already overwhelmed by the presence of microbial mold, making them more likely to develop an infection.
As this starts to happen, you will like notice increased swelling and severe redness. As time goes on the infected area of skin might even release discharge or start to feel warm.
Mold Rash Treatment
With most mold-related rashes removing the affected individuals from the infested environment should allow the symptoms to gradually abate. It might simply be necessary to stay with a friend or a neighbor, while the immune system eases its response, and the skin is allowed to heal naturally. You might be able to boost the healing process with cool baths in water with dissolved baking soda or by applying an antihistamine cream.
In the case of a more severe mold-related skin rash, you may likely need to seek medical care. This is especially true if the rash has also caused a secondary infection. Professional diagnosis of a skin condition like this and treatment from things like prescription skin cream might be needed to completely eliminate the infection from your skin and help it heal without scarring.
Even after receiving clinical treatment, you should strongly consider seeking out a professional mold inspection and remediation service. If the source of the mold isn’t found and fully eliminated, then chances are high that you or someone else living in the affected home will develop a mold-related illness. Some of these conditions can be severe, and in the long-term could even prove to be life-threatening!
The process involves a thorough inspection of the home and might also extend to any outbuildings that may host a large mold population. Once the property has been accurately assessed. The mold remediation process can begin. The measures necessary to eliminate the presence of mold from your home will depend on the location and severity of the problem.