Black mold can take over homes or other buildings, especially in wet or moist areas. Exposure over a long period of time to black mold can prove to be very harmful to health and may cause a serious of various symptoms. Which would make professional black mold removal imperative.
We will discuss what black mold is and talk about the effects it can have on a person’s health, as well as, how to treat and prevent black mold exposure.
What is black mold?
Some molds can release mycotoxins.
Black mold is a type of fungus that is very dark green or black and often has a distinct musty or damp, mildew-type smell.
Black mold can be one of several different species of fungus, including Stachybotrys chartum.
It can grow on surfaces that contain a lot of cellulose, such as fiberboard, wood, gypsum board, or paper. The bacteria that is mold prefers damp, warm environments, and it can grow under ripe conditions.
Black mold can survive and grow exponentially in humid areas, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, and shower cubicles. A burst pipe or flooding can trigger mold growth in areas of a building that are not readily seen, such as between wall layers or underneath floorboards, carpets or sub-flooring.
They can release harmful toxins into the surrounding environment. Breathing these toxins into the lungs may lead to certain health effects and symptoms. Those who have lung disease or weakened immune systems tend to have a higher risk of these effects.
What is black mold poisoning?
Black mold poisoning is a form of mycotoxicosis, which can take place if a person breathes in too many mycotoxins over a long period of time. Mycotoxins are the toxins that some molds release into the air.
The symptoms of black mold poisoning will mimic the conditions of someone with upper respiratory tract infection, such as the flu or common cold. People with other health conditions or a weakened immune system may experience more severe symptoms.
Symptoms of black mold
The symptoms of black mold could be:
- a stuffy nose
- a runny nose
- red eyes
- itchy skin or eyes
- a sore or itchy throat
Black mold exposure can also potentially worsen the symptoms of other respiratory conditions. Case in point, a person with asthma or a respiratory allergy could see symptoms get worse or have to deal with new ones, such as:
- persistent coughing
- frequent chest colds
- difficulty breathing
- allergic reactions
- inflammation of the sinuses
- general fatigue and lethargy
In a few cases, long-term exposure to high levels of these toxins can cause more severe symptoms, including:
- memory loss
- trouble concentrating
- sensitivity to light
- nerve issues, such as numbness in the hands and feet
- general pain and cramps
- unexplained weight gain
Some people may have a higher risk of developing symptoms than others. At-risk groups include people with:
- seasonal allergies, such as hay fever
- mold allergies
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
People with a weakened immune system also have a higher risk and may need to take extra care to avoid black mold exposure.
Black mold exposure may be more harmful in children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), research implies that young children who inhale mold toxins early on in life could be more likely to contract asthma.
This appears to be more of a dilemma in children with a family history of asthma.
How dangerous is black mold to health?
Black mold can be quite dangerous if inhaled by anyone. There are many exaggerated claims of the dangers of black mold on the internet.
It usually takes time and consistent exposure to black mold for symptoms to develop.
In people with respiratory conditions, such as COPD, asthma, and respiratory allergies, inhaling black mold toxins may have the potential to worsen symptoms or trigger flare-ups. This can happen sporadically in humid environs where there is a lot of moisture or pollen counts are extremely high.
Skin prick tests are a standard method of allergy testing and can help determine whether a person is allergic to mold.
During this test, a healthcare professional will place a drop of liquid containing the mold onto the skin on the individual’s arm or back. They will then prick the skin beneath the drop with a small needle. If the person is allergic to the mold, an itchy, red rash will usually develop within a short time.
Getting rid of black mold
For the long-term relief of symptoms from mold allergies or poisoning, it is essential to eradicate or eliminate the cause of the exposure. This may require thoroughly removing mold, or bacteria from all surfaces in a property and taking necessary steps to prevent it from returning.
You will need to completely clean the entire room or area and ensure that elimination of all signs of the mold takes place. The surfaces should be kept completely dry, if possible to avoid any future incidents.
It is imperative to clean all filters, vents, and ducts, if possible, to prevent mold growth in air conditioning systems and humidifiers.
Porous items with a mold infestation, such as mattresses, carpets, or drywall, can be difficult to clean and sanitize. In this regard it is better to hire a professional mold remediation company that specializes in mold cleanup and mold removal protocol.
The mold remediation process will take place in a sheltered or tarped environment so as not to release toxins into the air while the process is underway. It is advisable not to be near or on the premises while this process is being implemented. Generally, depending on how bad the contamination is, the process of mold remediation can take anywhere from 3 to 10 days to complete. After the process equipment is setup to remove all traces of contaminants from any of the surfaces and from spores that may have been released into the air.
As you can see, it is a lengthy and arduous process that requires the right steps to get your air quality in your property back to normal. Get professional help!