Black mold is one of the most common problems in residential and commercial properties that are not undergoing regular cleaning and maintenance. They are presented as dark, unsightly patches in various areas of the house or establishment that are often very difficult to remove. Mold can cause a lot of health problems and here we will cover what kind of health problems does black mold causes.
The appearance of mold also makes it look dangerous, and while there is a hint of caution that comes with this claim, we are here to talk about the facts that you should know regarding black mold and black mold exposure.
The Common Misconceptions About Black Mold
There are a lot of misconceptions about black mold. First, the term “black mold” is not particular to a single type of mold. In fact, there are hundreds of mold species that are black in color. However, in residential areas, the most common type of black mold is the one called Stachybotrys chartarum, also known as Stachybotrys atra.
While there is no confirmatory research stating that exposure to Stachybotrys poses a bigger health risk than exposure to other molds growing in domestic areas, some people are known to have a higher sensitivity to mold exposure in general. This increased sensitivity triggers immune responses or reactions that range from mild to moderate in severity. Inhalation of spores can make the immune system go on high alert or cause various health conditions, especially for the immunocompromised, both young and old.
Black mold, or any type of mold for that matter, is not radioactive nor considered poisonous like plants. These two myths have become such common knowledge that they need to be debunked. Molds are not radioactive or poisonous. They can trigger allergic reactions or cause health issues, but this is due to the spores that irritate the skin or respiratory system and even the digestive system in some cases of ingestion. Now, the health concern called mycotoxicosis, commonly referred to as mold poisoning, is due to prolonged exposure to molds. This usually happens in residential or commercial properties that are contaminated with Stachybotrys chartarum.
Effects of Black Mold Exposure
Usually, mild or brief mold exposure can have no harmful effects on exposed individuals. The problem begins when there is a considerable amount of exposure, as well as a prolonged duration of stay in the property contaminated with black mold. The effects of black mold exposure include (but are not limited to):
- Nausea and vomiting
- Body aches and pains
- Memory loss
- Mood changes
These above-mentioned mold in home symptoms are the most common ones, but other symptoms can also manifest further.
Irritation and Allergic Reaction
People with known allergies or those with compromised immunity are definitely more prone to any kind of irritation or allergic reaction. Direct contact with mold that triggers an allergic reaction can lead to symptoms, such as (but not limited to):
- Watery red Eyes
- Dry cough
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
In extreme cases, there will be far severe symptoms, such as shortness of breath. Individuals with asthma are not as lucky, because spore inhalation can make the respiratory system go haywire and worsen an existing condition or trigger an attack.
Numerous studies confirmed that young children and infants who are exposed to mold in their homes develop an increased risk of asthma or severe respiratory compromise by the time they reach 7 years old. While the Stachybotrys variety is not directly identified to be strongly associated with asthma development, it does trigger respiratory compromise like most residential molds, especially when exposed for extended periods of time.
Development of Fungal Infection
Infection caused by black mold exposure is rather rare for healthy individuals. However, fungal infection can develop for people with immune systems that are weak or compromised due to a pre-existing condition or medical treatment. These include those who underwent organ transplantation, have HIV, or are receiving cancer treatment. These groups of people are the most at risk to contract and developing infections.
We have previously discussed that black mold is often believed to be very dangerous because of its ability to release mycotoxins. However, molds in general are capable of producing this type of toxin. So mold toxicity depends on how the toxin is introduced to the body rather than the type of mold.
Mold toxicity is more often caused by the ingestion of moldy food rather than the inhalation of spores whether indoors or outdoors. This is because ingestion carries a more considerable number of spores than inhalation. When enough spores enter the body, mycotoxicosis can occur.
Effects of Black Mold Exposure Summary
Despite being a residential or commercial property problem for years, black mold or molds, in general, are still not thoroughly understood and it’s not easy to know how to identify black mold. This is why it is a common practice to just eliminate them and ensure that the property is regularly cleaned and maintained. The bottom line is that prolonged exposure to mold of any kind is considered unhealthy and poses a health risk to residents.
Black Mold Exposure Diagnostics
Self-diagnosis is highly discouraged when it comes to black mold exposure for a number of reasons. As most of the adverse reactions, such as headaches or episodes of dizziness, are quite common and often ignored, only a formal visit with the doctor or a qualified medical professional can help you get the right assessment to determine whether the symptoms are indeed caused by black mold exposure. Several tests can be done, such as allergen tests and blood tests pertaining to immune response.
If a patient is known to have a pre-existing condition that increases the risk of having mold toxicity or fungal infection, further testing might be done to determine the proper medical management that is required.
If you looking for safe mold removal for your home or business give us a call today or contact us and one of our technicians will head your way in no time.
Black Mold Exposure Treatment
The treatment for a mold allergy or irritation is quite similar to that for other allergies caused by inhalation of an allergen or irritant. As an augmentation to what the attending physician will be prescribing, these are some of the things you can do:
- Do a nasal rinse to flush the spores out of the nasal cavity.
- Take an over-the-counter antihistamine to help alleviate sneezing, a runny nose, or itchiness.
- Take a decongestant or use a nasal spray as a short-term solution for congestion.
- Consider nasal corticosteroids based on a physician’s advice.
Some exposures and cases of mold toxicity will require more aggressive treatments, such as medical management using antibiotics or immunotherapy.
Getting Rid of Black Mold
A lot of homeowners tend to DIY the home mold removal service in their homes because it seems to be an easy thing to do. However, it would be best to seek a consult with a professional company that specifically specializes in mold removal or, in severe cases, mold remediation. You see, black mold is not just something unsightly that can be removed completely once the stain is eliminated. Microscopic spores can still linger and proliferate later on, which in turn can make things worse.
The Benefits of Getting Professional Help
Depending on which state you are in and the seasonal weather and other considerations that can affect the growth and prevalence of molds, seeking professional help from a reputable company will never be a bad idea. There are many processes to use and approaches to consider when it comes to mold removal other than just removing the stain itself.
Correct Assessment and Treatment
There are many mold species that look similar but are not entirely the same. While the treatment and methodology are also similar, some molds need a different solution in order for them to be eliminated and to inhibit succeeding growth. A proper assessment can only be done by qualified companies that can give you a thorough overview of the appropriate plan of action for the existing mold infestation within your property.
Cleaning and Disinfection
Professional services not only clean the affected area; various solutions are also applied to treat the affected area and kill the spores or growth that were not removed during the initial cleaning process. You can clean it, but is it free from spores? You’ll never know, and only a couple of days later, the mold may start to grow again.
Once disinfection has been performed, prevention can be done either through the treatment that was applied after the initial cleanup or an augmentation solution that can be used to complete the treatment process. This can be a fungicide or a fungal growth inhibitor, which in turn prevents any future growth in the treated area.
Peace of Mind
You’ve already seen what black mold exposure is all about and why you should call black mold removal experts right away. What greater benefit is there than to have the peace of mind that your family and property are safe from black mold growth? I am sure you will agree that prevention is always better than cure.
Black mold exposure is one of the scariest things that can happen in any home, especially when you have no idea about what further consequences can be, aside from the fact that it looks dangerous and unsightly. However, when you know the real risks, facts, and actions required, you can be more cautious and aware of what must be done for the safety of your family and your property.