Mold is a rapid growing fungus that can develop and thrive within the indoor space of your home, many times unknowingly to the occupants. One of the first signs of mold growth and exposure in your home can be the onset of allergy-like symptoms that can begin when you enter into this environment and are exposed to mold through the air of this area. If mold continues to grow in your home, spreading throughout the environment it can lead to the potential development of health issues in the occupants of this environment ranging in severity from acute to severe in some cases depending on the mold size.
In this article we are going to learn more about identifying if mold is making you sick in your home and discuss what can be done to remediate mold from the air of this indoor environment to minimize health effects to those occupants in the home.
What is House Mold
Have you started to notice signs of mold growth in your home – allergy-like symptoms, discoloration on surfaces, or even the distinct smell of mustiness in the air? These can all be signs of potential house mold growth within this indoor environment, and it is important not to ignore these indicators if present in your home. Household mold is a fungus that is versatile, allowing it the ability to grow in both indoor and outdoor environments where conditions for its growth and development are optimal. According to Medical News Today, mold can enter into your home through the air or even by attaching to objects or people that are brought into this environment, and thus allowing it to enter and grow rapidly on surfaces.
This type of fungus will spread rapidly throughout the indoor airspace through tiny spores that are unknowingly floating within this air in your home. These spores are called mold spores, these spores are minuscule reproductive seeds that move in the air in pursuit to attach to surfaces and begin its growth and development furthering the mold invasion in the environment. As mold spores travel in the air, the health risks become heightened since these small spores can easily become ingested and/or inhaled into the body, reaching deep into the recesses of the lungs and potentially into the bloodstream – this can cause significant health issues quickly.
What Causes Mold to Grow Indoors
The conditions present in your home can play a critical role in the formation of mold in your indoor environment, with certain ideal conditions causing mold growth. Moisture is usually the most important condition that needs to be present in the environment since mold cannot grow without moisture in the environment. Additionally, mold will require a food source such as wood, drywall, or cotton to feed on in the environment, darkness to minimize exposure to ultraviolet light, warmer temperatures, oxygen, and time to thoroughly grow and spread within the environment. When all of these conditions are met in an indoor environment like your home, mold will flourish and grow rapidly which can leave for major problems to both your indoor air quality and to the health of those exposed to this mold growth.
Other issues in a home can also promote the growth of mold indoors, these can be normal occurrences in the home that will unknowingly advance mold that is developing in the area. Elevated levels of humidity indoors have been correlated with the growth of mold, as mold feeds off of high humidity levels in the air. Also, poor ventilation will aid in the progression of mold growth indoors since it will create pockets of moist air in the environment for mold to thrive.
Mold Problems in House
The growth of mold in an indoor environment can lead to an array of problems, some that will impact the environmental conditions and others that will affect the health of those people residing within these environments. The correlation between mold and indoor air quality has been identified by environmental agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), they found that it’s not the mold that raises concerns in your indoor air quality but rather the spores that this mold releases into the air to reproduce and spread. As these spores are released from the mold, they have been found to cause certain health issues if and when exposure occurs when in your home’s air.
The impact that mold can have inside of your home will depend on a number of factors including the amount of mold growth in the environment, the type of mold species, and the mold sensitivity level of the occupants exposed to this mold growth. For some individuals, contact with mold spores in the air can stir reactions that can be acute or lead to severe health issues and illnesses with long-term exposure.
Is Mold Making Me Sick?
The unexpected bout of summer illness may actually be the cause of mold that is making you sick within your home. Although mold is a naturally-occurring fungal growth, it can be the result of tiny, microscopic mold spores in the air that can enter into the human body and trigger illnesses and health effects. When it comes to mold, there are really no safe species of this fungus to breathe in to the body, since they will all trigger responses internally that can progress symptoms sometimes aggressively.
The symptoms that one may experience from indoor exposure to mold and mold spores can vary from person to person, based on the conditions in the environment and the severity of the mold growth. According to Geisinger’s health and wellness article, they state that mold exposure can exacerbate symptoms such as headache, sore throat, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, and fatigue. In addition, those individuals who suffer from asthma may undergo an asthma attack with exposure to this fungus in the environment.
How Does Mold Make You Sick
As we discussed prior, the impact that mold has on human health can vary but the process in which mold enters into the body and makes you sick can be through the same general mechanisms each and every time you are exposed. When mold begins to grow on the surfaces of your home it will go through the process of emitting mold spores into the air, allowing the microscopic spores the ability to float throughout the air in search of a surface to land on and begin its growth phase. During the transition of mold spores traveling in the air of your home the risks become heightened that inhalation or ingestion of these spores can occur in the human body, which will begin the start of the ‘sick’ feeling in your body.
A 2004 study from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found the following in respect to indoor mold growth and human exposure, “There was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheezing in otherwise healthy individuals; those with asthma experienced asthma symptoms; and those people with immune-mediated conditions were found to be susceptible to hypersensitivity pneumonitis”. Additionally, other health ailments have been reported by those who have been faced with mold exposure such as a mold headache, mold sore throat, and even coughing caused by mold sickness from mold exposure indoors.
A mold headache is often times one of the first indicators of mold sickness from exposure to this fungus indoors in your home. Household molds can trigger an array of symptoms, but the notable health ailment is that of a headache or migraine that will form with increasing levels of mold exposure in the air. The onset of a mold headache is usually generated from an allergic reaction to the mold spores that are traveling in the air that will cause sinus pressure which will turn to a headache. And far worse, a headache could even be trigger by the production and emission of mycotoxins in the air from mold, this toxic substance can eventually lead to far more severe health effects to those exposed long-term.
Mold Sore Throat
The presence of mold inside your home has been known to act as an allergen in the environment, particularly the mold spores that float in the air. Similar to any other allergen that you come into exposure with in your indoor air, this can produce typical allergy symptoms such as coughing and wheezing that can transition into a sore throat or ‘mold sore throat’. This sore throat will stem from inhalation or ingestion of these mold spores into the human body, that can potentially travel into the deepest recesses of the lungs. When the tiny, microscopic spore reach into the lungs it will severely impact the severity of your mold sore throat.
Can Mold Cause Coughing?
Can mold cause coughing when exposure occurs indoors? The answer is yes, as this is one of the more common side effects of mold sickness and exposure in most humans. Although it is common, not every person will experience a cough, but chances are if you are exposed to mold in your home long-term than coughing will ultimately follow soon thereafter. A small patch of mold growth can release nearly thousands upon thousands of mold spores into the air that will easily become ingested or inhaled into the body that will promote the occurrence of coughing in the human body. Therefore, if you begin to notice a persisting cough when in the confinement of your home, mold and its spores may be the underlying problem.
Illnesses Caused by Mold
There link between health issues and mold exposure has increased over the years, with a list of illnesses cause by mold presence in your home lengthy with the most common of these illnesses being asthma and allergies, infections, and mold illness or “toxic mold syndrome”. Mold fungi can easily grow in your indoor environments and produce mild health symptoms like headaches, cough, throat issues, and other respiratory issues, along with other more significant health problems that can develop over-time as exposure progresses.
Below we are going to discuss the most commonly experienced illnesses caused by mold in your home.
- Asthma/Allergies: Mold and mold spores can act as allergens in the environment that will ultimately provoke and exacerbate allergy and asthma symptoms in those who suffer from these conditions. The composition of mold spores makes it act like an allergen when interacting in the human body. The mold spores will become ingested or inhaled and trigger a response in the immune system which will deem the mold spore as an “invader” or allergen in the body which will catapult the allergy/asthma symptoms.
- Infections: As you spend time surrounded by mold in the environment it will increase your chances of bronchitis and/or respiratory infections in some cases. Aspergillus is a type of mold fungus that can lead to an infection in the body known as allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis.
- Mold Illness and/or “Toxic Mold Syndrome”: Toxic mold syndrome, according to the Poison Control Website, is a legal construct rather than a medical diagnosis that involves unidentified disease processes that can be caused by exposure to toxic mold, also known as black mold. This illness can provoke health symptoms such as headaches, respiratory symptoms, and other more aggressive health effects.
How to Get Rid of Mold Spores in Air
If you begin to experience health problems, issues, or even develop a mold-related illness from exposure to mold in your home, it will be critical and necessary to properly remove the mold from the environment on both the surfaces and in the air. When it comes to eradiating mold on the surfaces of your home, the proper way to accomplish this mold removal would be through hiring a mold remediation specialist to conduct a safe mold mitigation process in the environment. Mold remediation specialists are trained professionals who understand and abide by regulations and best-practices to eradicate mold from all the contaminated surfaces of your home without increasing health risks or threats in this said environment. Although a mold remediator helps to remove mold on surfaces, they will do little to remove the mold spores from your indoor air.
When it comes to how to get rid of mold spores in the air of your home, most people will look for solutions to completely eradicate these spores from the air. Mold spores can be hard to remove from the air, due to their small size it can be significantly challenging to eliminate completely. However, many people are now turning to air purifiers as a go-to solution for mold spore removal in the air.
Air Purifier for Mold
The EnviroKlenz UV Air Purifier is your solution to remove VOCs and microorganisms such as mold spores, bacteria, and viruses from the air. This air purifier combines Advanced EnviroKlenz technology for toxic and noxious chemical and odor removal with the use of HEPA filtration and ultraviolet germicidal radiation (UVC) to remove airborne particulates and allergens and inhibit the growth of captured microorganisms.
The patented earth mineral technology utilized in the EnviroKlenz Air Cartridge is able to effectively contain and neutralize noxious and toxic chemicals and odors from the air. Whereas the HEPA filter within the air purifier works to capture particulate matter larger than 0.3 microns in size at a 99.99 percent efficiency, this includes the capturing of mold spores and other airborne microorganisms. Above the HEPA filter, EnviroKlenz placed two UVC lights that allow for the light to shine on the collected microorganisms to effectively kill them from within the purifier. Therefore, eliminating those microorganisms from recirculating back into the indoor air of your environment.
- Medical News Today: Mold in the Home: How Big A Health Problem is it? (link)
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home (link)
- Geisinger: Is Mold Making You Sick? (link)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Facts About Mold and Dampness (link)
- Poison Control: Mold 101: Effects on Human Health (link)
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