The onset of symptoms starts to progress the minute you walk into the doors of your home, it’s the faint light-headedness, fatigue, irritated nose and throat, and even other respiratory problems that magnify when you are exposed to this indoor environment. The reasons behind these sudden health effects that are triggered by exposure to your home and the air that consumes this environment can be the direct influence of pollution/contaminants in this space. The various pollutants that can compromise the indoor environment of a home could include VOCS, allergens, and even airborne pathogens (such as bacteria, viruses, and mold spores) and in addition to compromising the indoor air quality, these pollutants can also have a direct hand in making occupants sick that have been exposed to these airborne contaminants for a long duration of time.
Among one of the most common problems in a home, when it comes to occupants becoming sick is the development of mold funguses in this confined indoor space. Mold is a type of fungus that can spread rapidly and aggressively throughout the environment of a home, and as it progresses it can create toxins and substances into the air that will impact the health of those individuals exposed to these airborne mold pollutants. However, can mold make you sick and how can you identify if mold is the culprit behind your growing health symptoms inside your home?
In this article we are going to learn more about if mold in a home can make you sick, understanding the basis of mold and its effects, and learn how to check for and remediate mold that is present in your home and the air of this indoor space.
What is Mold
Mold is a type of fungus that can easily grow within both indoor and outdoor environments, specifically in buildings and homes that contain the optimal conditions for this fungus’s growth. According to the EPA, when it comes to the best conditions for mold to grow, these conditions will include moisture, food source (paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, etc.), darkness, and oxygen. These natural occurring funguses in the environment can play an important role by breaking down and digesting organic material like dead leaves. The mold funguses that grow in the environment will multiply by producing microscopic spores that are similar to the seeds produced by plants. These small spores will easily travel throughout the air and be carried for great distances by even the slightest breeze or airflow inside an indoor space.
The number of mold spores that are produced from a single mold source inside of a home will vary from season to season and/or mold species that is present in the environment. When these mold spores form inside of a home it can be hard to eliminate them from the air, and often times these spores will float through the air and settle into dust. Typically, however, mold spores will not be a problem in the indoor environment unless they come into contact with moisture or a wet surface that will allow for the mold spores to begin growing.
Where Does Mold Come From
The formation and development of mold inside of a home is not something that just magically happens, it can be caused by various sources inside of a home – such as moisture, mold spores, and a food source. Unfortunately, homes are susceptible to mold growth because it will present these optimal conditions for mold to thrive, especially during certain times of the year. There are a number of food sources that are found in a home that mold can grow on such as cellulose-based materials like wood, cardboard, and the paper facing on drywall, as well as organic mater such as soap, fabrics, and dust containing skin cells. Thus, these large number of sources for mold to grow on will allow for mold to easily develop in a home environment.
In addition, moisture can also be a problem in a home whether that stem from a leak, flood, or little water intrusions that can come about from poor ventilation in showers, kitchens, basements, and laundry rooms where water is used in the environment. Therefore, all of these various sources inside a home can lead to mold forming and thriving in the indoor space.
How Fast Does Mold Grow
If you have ever dealt with mold growth in your home or other personal indoor environment than you may be aware of how fast this fungus can begin its rapid growth in this tainted environment. So, how fast can mold grow? The time it takes for mold to grow in a home can vary significantly on the indoor conditions, since the conditions in a home can greatly influence mold growth. When mold conditions are ideal inside the indoor environment, especially optimal temperature and humidity levels, it can take as little as 24 to 48 hours for mold to germinate and grow, according to Restoration Master Finder.
After mold starts its growth phase inside of an indoor space it won’t take long for mold spores to follow suite, with these spores beginning to colonize in about 3 to 12 days and becoming visible in about 18-21 days after emission into the air. Although this is the estimated average for mold growth, this fungus growth will ultimately vary based on the different types of mold that are present within this space.
Signs of Mold Sickness
Have you started to develop illnesses and symptoms that only occur when you are inside the confined space of your home? Mold will produce and emit irritating substances into the environment that may act as an allergy causing substance(s) in sensitive individuals. These mold substances are what are known as mold spores, and in some cases depending on the species of mold it will also include toxins called mycotoxins. When these various airborne mold substances come into contact with individuals it can exacerbate health symptoms that have been classified as mold sickness. Mold sickness severity will vary based on the levels of exposure, type of mold species present, and the amount of time this mold has been growing in this indoor environment.
According to the Functional Medicine Institute, when it comes to mold illness or sickness, there will be certain signs or symptoms that will demonstrate this sickness in an individual. These various signs of mold sickness will include the following;
- Digestive issues like change in appetite, diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain.
- Brain fog, memory problems, trouble focusing, headaches.
- Fatigue and weakness
- Temperature regulation or night sweats.
- Tremors and vertigo.
- Eye problems like red eyes or light sensitivity.
- Muscle cramping, aches, paints in the joint.
- Asthma and sinus problems like coughing and shortness of breath.
How Long Do Mold Symptoms Last?
When you are living in a home or other indoor space that has mold presence in any level within the space, it will potentially aggravate health and substantially in some cases, leading to major health effects that will rock an individual’s health. The various symptoms that a person might struggle with when exposed to mold and suffering from mold sickness can vary per person, but generally these symptoms will include wheezing, rash, watery eyes, runny nose, itchy eyes, coughing, and even redness of the eyes. However, these symptoms can be all inclusive or you may only suffer from only a handful of these symptoms, with the environment and the individual’s health playing critical roles in these mold-related symptoms.
Many people have wondered how long do mold symptoms last, and the answer to this is there is no clear-cut timeframe. When it comes to the average person’s mold symptom lifespan it will be for however along the mold is continuing to grow in your indoor space, and as it releases its mold spores into the air of this space. Therefore, it is necessary to quickly identify mold growth in your home, enlist the help of trained mold remediation specialists to properly remove the mold growth in this environment, and adopt indoor air quality solutions like air purifiers to help mitigate the airborne mold that the mold remediation specialists can’t remove from the indoor space.
How to Check for Mold in Your House
Staying vigilant inside your home at all times is important to detecting and identifying mold as it begins its potentially long inhabitance in this environment. Mold will start its growth in your home by finding a willing surface that they can grow and thrive on, and as they start this growth it may begin to take on a distinctive color that will give hint to this fungus’s commencement. If you notice a fuzzy, discolored appearance on your surfaces such as walls, ceilings, or flooring than it may be necessary to call a mold remediation specialist to your home. Additionally, you will also want to check around areas in your home that can provoke mold growth, specifically rooms that have moisture present like kitchens, laundry rooms, bathrooms, and even basements.
After you have detected these major signs of mold growth the you will need to conduct testing to see if it is present in any areas of your home. When it comes to mold testing, there are two main methods of testing, one is an at-home test kit that a homeowner can conduct and the other is having a mold professional come in and test the environment for mold presence. These two mold testing methods will have their pros and cons, an at-home mold testing will give you quick results, but these results may not be extremely accurate. Whereas the mold specialist’s lab testing will be a longer process, but it will give you extremely accurate readings. In addition, these mold lab testing will also identify which type of mold is growing in this indoor environment.
How Do You Kill Mold Spores in the Air Naturally
When you determine you have mold growing within the space of your home, the first thing a homeowner will do (or should do) is contact a mold remediation specialist that will be able to come in and professionally remove mold growing on the surface of your home. During this mold removal process, they will seal off the affected areas and try to contain the spreading of this mold and its spores from entering any other areas of your home. Once the mold has been removed from the surfaces, it is unfortunate, but mold spores may still be present lingering in the air space and lead to mold illnesses or sickness in those occupants that still are exposed to the mold in the air.
One of the best ways to kill mold spores in the air naturally is through the use of air purification devices or air filtration solutions. Air purifiers are devices that work through specific filtration methods to clean the indoor air and remove pollutants that may be traveling in the air space. Each air purifier contains a different type of filtration method that will all work in specific ways and to filter certain types of pollutants in the air – such as chemicals, odors, allergens, or even pathogens like bacteria, viruses, and airborne mold spores. The EnviroKlenz UV Air Purifier is an effective air purification device that is capable of inhibiting the growth of captured microorganisms (such as bacteria, mold, and viruses). This UV Air Purifier combines the Advanced EnviroKlenz technology for toxic and noxious chemical and odor removal with HEPA filtration and ultraviolet germicidal radiation (UVC) to remove airborne particulates and allergens, as well as microorganism destruction. Therefore, having an air purifier like the EnviroKlenz UV Air System in your home can help to capture and remove those airborne mold spores from the air to minimize health risks to the occupants of the home.