Black mold, also known as Stachybotrys, is a type of toxic fungus that grows indoors. For this reason, it is imperative that you seek the right treatment for your home in removing such invaders as to prevent various diseases and respiratory troubles. If you think you may be experiencing mold problems within your environment, keep these tips in mind to banish it immediately and for good.
Causes Of Black Mold And Allergies
Because of its ability to cling to certain materials and thrive in environments that are humid, dark, and damp, mold can release spores that are harmful to both animals and human beings. Unlike mildew, which can be alleviated with a conventional household cleaner, mold is the result of a much larger infestation and can penetrate deep into the walls and travel throughout to form colonies. Mold especially thrives in warm, humid environments and areas where there is food, and it can also flourish within the floors, carpet, upholstery, clothing, roof and piping systems, also affecting plants if they are overwatered. Additionally, mold can grow in places where wet surfaces are more likely to occur, such as the bathroom, kitchen, basement, or even the attic.
When this toxic entity occurs, any repairs and removal can cost up to thousands of dollars. Even worse, mold can have a detrimental effect on one’s health, causing nasal stuffiness, throat, eye, and skin irritation, coughing, and wheezing. In much worse cases, mold can even lead to asthma symptoms. Other health-related issues associated with mold also causes Pulmonary Hemorrhage and Hemosiderosis among infants. Although certain types of molds encourage air or foodborne illnesses, it isn’t necessarily the mold itself, but the fungus that gives off mycotoxins, which produce secondary metabolites produced by organisms within the fungus. Other serious symptoms associated with mold exposure include:
- Chest Colds
- Confusion/Memory loss
- Numbness in the hands and feet
- Muscle cramps
- Stomach pain
- Hair loss
Types Of Mold And Allergies
Though there are numerous types of mold in existence, only a few strains produce at toxic levels. No one knows exactly how many strains of fungi exists, but there may be tens of thousands of species and they come in a variety of colors other than black, such as green, white and orange. One of the most common types of mold is Aspergillus, a mold that lives both indoors and outdoors. Most people breathe in aspergillus every day without feeling symptoms of illnesses or allergies. However, those who have weakened immune systems or are more susceptible to allergies may find that Aspergillus has a more harsh reaction, that could lead to infections within the body.
Other types of mold include Cladosporium, most commonly found on plant material, and Stachybotrys chartarum, also known as black mold, the most common and one of the biggest culprits of indoor allergies. Most black molds are considered toxigenic, which means they can cause harm to the people and animals that breathe in their spores and will sometimes have a greenish (sometimes grey) hue and will appear slimy. Because black molds require moisture to thrive, they will sometimes, absorb into porous material, rather than blow around like other types of mold spores. Other common types of mold that are found both indoors and outdoors include:
- Alternaria – Caused by hay fever and can produce hypersensitivity issues that can lead to asthma.
- Penicillium – Causes hay fever and allergies. May be found on decaying fabrics, wallpaper, and and duct insullation.
- Cladosporium – The most common outdoor fungus that often enters the home via the HVAC system and other entryways. Can trigger both hay fever and asthma symptoms.
- Stachybotrys – A toxic, slimy black mold that leads to breathing conditions, memory, dizziness, and hearing loss. Requires excessive moisture to thrive.
Preventing And Removing Black Mold
Every home is susceptible to mold in one form or another. Each day we come in contact with mold through what we eat, the air we breathe, what we touch and even through small cuts within the skin. Sinusitis is even caused by mold on some level, according to studies. Since mold spores are constantly around us, there are a variety of things we can do to help prevent their infestation and from causing us harm. For one, it is important to surround yourself in an environment that is not conducive to them, which includes, damp, wet, and warm environments. Mold thrives in environments where a food or water source is available and can spread quickly within a 24-hour time frame, so it’s important to constantly look out for areas that may encourage any growth of fungi, especially where water tends to be present. Other ways to prevent the spread of mold includes:
- Identifying problem areas within your home.
- Invest in proper ventilation.
- Apply moisture-resistant products.
- Dry wet areas immediately after use.
- Monitor humidity within your environment.
- Clean your roof gutters.
- Keep mold off of household items and plants.
If mold has already occurred within your home, you’ll first need to remove any moisture from all affected surfaces, sealing them from any other areas of the home. It is also a good idea to apply a face mask and gloves to prevent spores from entering your airways. If the affected area is dry, before treating it, douse the area in water to prevent spores from flying around upon removal. You may use commercial black mold removal products, which will help kill any mold on the affected area, as well as adjacent parts of the wall. Other solutions, such as bleach may also be applied, just as long as it doesn’t discolor the wall. Once you’ve removed all mold, make sure to discard any towels, and other cleaning supplies so mold does not spread any further. It is also a good idea to hire a black mold specialist who can test for any additional mold after your home has been treated, to ensure that all black mold has been eradicated.
Black mold is a common issue for those who live in humid environments. It can lead to illnesses and diseases if not treated properly. Fortunately, black mold can also be prevented so you can thrive in your home and breathe easier. Keep these important tips in mind when in case you are faced with a black mold problem.