Have I Been Exposed to Mold? Common Symptoms
This Guide Will Help You Identify if You’ve Been Exposed to Mold and How You Can Combat it
By Bianca Herron
12 min read
This post has been updated to include additonal information about mold in the home. Recommended products reflect current prices and availability.
If you’re looking to ensure you and your loved ones are safe from mold, you’ve come to the right place. At AirPurifiers.com, we understand that many things are out of our control. This is why we are committed to providing you with trustworthy information and product recommendations to help you take control of your health and wellness by improving your air quality.
During these unfortunate times, indoor air quality is more important than ever, especially if you share a home with someone who is high-risk for contracting the coronavirus. These times are even more dangerous if you or your loved one has been exposed to mold at home. For some, exposure to moldy environments may not cause any symptoms. However, those sensitive to molds can experience severe health effects, including permanent lung damage and infections.
Here are some common mold allergy symptoms to keep in mind:
- Itchy eyes
- Runny nose
- Allergic reactions
- Sore throat
- Skin rash
- Asthma attacks
- You feel itchy
What Causes Mold?
Mold can grow both inside and outdoors. When outside, mold is essential to the ecosystem, helping to break down plant and animal matter. However, mold can be a severe nuisance when inside your home, especially if you are sensitive to mold.
Mold is part of the fungi family and can grow just about anywhere in your home. However, it’s commonly found in cabinets, bathrooms, kitchens, basements, behind drywall, on the ceiling, and near pipes. Additionally, mold can also be found in the air. Although it may start as a small spot, mold can grow and spread rather quickly. In fact, with the right conditions, mold can grow in 24 hours. These conditions include moisture, oxygen, and damp and dimly lit areas.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, molds release tiny spores that can float in the air. These mold spores can come into your home through your pets, doors, windows, clothing, and shoes, as well as your heating and air conditioning vents. While there are more than 100,000 types of mold that can grow indoors and outdoors, here are some of the most common found in homes:
- Alternaria – This mold is fuzzy and white with black spots. It can be found in your bathroom, kitchen, carpets, air conditioner, near windows and can also grow in wallpaper and fabrics.
- Aspergillus – This mold has a powdery look and can be green, gray, or white with dark spots. You can find it in fabrics, basements, attics, and walls.
- Penicillium – Another fuzzy mold, Penicillium, can be yellow, green, or blue. You can find this type of mold where there is indoor moisture, including basements and under carpets and insulation.
- Stachybotrys Chartarum – Also known as black mold, this toxigenic mold is greenish-black. This mold can be found where there is constant moisture — water damage, water leaks, and more — it can grow on paper, fiberboard, and gypsum board.
- Trichoderma – This mold can be found in soil, paper, stored cereals, decaying wood, and wood. This mold can start out as white or yellow and turn dark green or gray as it matures.
- Ulocladium – This allergenic mold grows in damp places and can be found on paper, in soil, wood, fibers, dung, textiles, and paint. Typically it is black and needs wetness and water to thrive.
How Dangerous is Mold in Your Home?
As mentioned previously, mold starts as a small spot but will grow quickly. If you notice cracking or peeling of material and smell a musty, earthy scent, you may likely have mold in your home. While some people don’t get sick from mold, others can experience mold allergy symptoms, including a runny nose, sneezing, congestion, itching, watery eyes, asthma, and more.
Moreover, mold can also cause significant damage to your home. This includes eating away at your wallpaper, drywall, carpet, floorboards, ceiling tiles, and more. If left untreated, mold can be costly and lead to the collapse of ceilings, falling walls, and cause your floorboards to cave in.
Ultimately, exposure to black mold in the home can be dangerous. Whether you’re sensitive to molds or need to protect your home’s investment, it’s crucial to immediately get rid of mold
Here are a few tips to control mold growth in your home:
- Ensure your home has enough ventilation
- Fix leaks in your roof, walls, and plumbing
- Keep humidity levels between 30 percent and 50 percent daily
- Get rid of the carpet in areas with a lot of moisture, including basements and bathrooms
What Should You Do if You’ve Been Exposed to Mold?
According to the CDC, there is always some mold around. The first step to prevention is cleaning up the mold and fix the moisture problem as soon as possible. Luckily, the items you need to clean it are likely already in your home. This includes soap and water, bleach, and hydrogen peroxide solution (which is less harsh than bleach). Be sure to open your windows, don’t mix bleach with ammonia, and wear rubber gloves, boots, and goggles while cleaning.
If you have a large amount of mold in your home or you can’t reach it, you must call a professional contractor immediately to have it removed safely. Again, mold can grow and spread quickly in 24 hours, so it’s best to act fast.
Although mold doesn’t always cause health problems, it should be removed from your home immediately. Not only can mold cause damage to your home, but it can also be the culprit of severe health concerns for those with mold allergies or respiratory issues.