It may be startling to learn of the many different things within your home that can potentially trigger and exacerbate certain health conditions such as allergies and/or asthma symptoms. Anything from allergens, to chemical, and even fungal growth are all possible irritants that have made their way into your personal indoor environment and has led to the progression of adverse health effects in either yourself or other people within the home. A fairly common and potentially hazardous irritant that can be present in your home is that of fungal mold growth that has developed on a surface or surfaces and has been circulated into the air of your indoor air space.

Mold is a fungus that is able to grow in both indoor and outdoor environments and can spread rapidly throughout the area – tainting both the surfaces and the air of the enclosed space (home, office building, etc.). When the fungus is present and exposure occurs, it can begin to elicit and flair symptoms in healthy individuals that will either be labeled as mold allergies or mold sensitivities. Mold allergies is an often-recognizable condition that people will face when mold is growing in a personal indoor environment, but the actual mold sensitivity condition is often times a unrecognizable condition in terms to mold exposure.

In this article we are going to discuss how mold affects the human body – along with conditions it can trigger such as mold allergies or mold sensitivities, and how to properly prevent mold exposure in your indoor environment.

What Does Mold Do to the Human Body

Mold is a fungus that is composed of a collection of small organisms that are found almost anywhere and can form on the surfaces of your home in a variety of colors including black, white, orange, green, or purple. The fungus requires specific conditions that will promote the What Does Mold do to the Human bodygrowth of the mold within an environment, these conditions include warmth, moisture, oxygen, and dark climates to create the ideal environment for mold growth. After mold forms in an environment on a surface it will begin the reproduction process which will trigger the release of tiny, microscopic mold spores into the air – these spores, however, can significantly affect the health of those who inhale/ingest these tiny spores into their body.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) they found that some individuals are sensitive to molds and exposure in any capacity can trigger nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing, wheezing, eye irritation, and even skin irritation. Overall, the effects of mold on the human body can vary dramatically from person to person, with several factors at play to determine the severity of its impact on human health.

Symptoms of Mold Allergies – What Are They?

A mold allergy acts similar to any other allergy – as the human body goes through the same process with each allergen that comes into contact through inhalation/ingestion.

An allergy occurs when an allergen enters into the human body through inhalation or ingestion, as the allergen travels through the body the immune system will identify this ‘invading allergen’ and trigger an overreacting response in the immune system. When the immune system overreacts to this foreign substance it will trigger a reaction in the body to fight off this allergen and this reaction will include sneezing, coughing, wheezing, and other allergy-like symptoms. A mold allergy will trigger the same results, and many times this allergy will be from the small, microscopic spores that are produced from the mold in the environment.

The symptoms that will be triggered from a mold allergy will be nearly the same as those of a respiratory allergy, the symptoms will include the following:

  • Watery eyes
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Irritated eyes, nose, and throat
  • Sneezing
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Coughing or wheezing

Signs of Mold Exposure Indoors

The indicators and signs of mold exposure in an indoor environment can be easy to determine in most cases – whether it be environmental signs in your home or health related symptoms that will indicate exposure to fungal growth indoors. Whether it be a growing discoloration on a wall, the presence of excess water from a leak, or a progression in certain health symptoms – these can all be common signs of mold exposure in a home or other personal indoor environment.

Signs of Mold ExposureBelow we are going to discuss some of the most commonly experienced or identifiable signs of mold growth and exposure in an indoor space.

  1. Irritated Eyes: Among one of the first indicators of mold presence in a small enclosed space is an irritating flair in your eyes including watery, itchy eyes. Eye irritation is fairly common with any form of allergies and can also be followed with other symptoms such as coughing and nasal congestion. When mold becomes airborne within your environment, particularly those small mold spores, it can magnify irritation in the eyes and can even progress into something that you will seek treatment for from an allergist.
  2. Progression of Asthma Symptoms: Mold exposure has been linked to the exacerbation of asthma symptoms in those asthma sufferers exposed to mold spores in the air. In some cases, mold presence inside a home can be the main culprit of asthma symptoms indoors – at least in one and five cases this was the case. If you begin to notice asthma symptoms indoors (maybe in one specific room) or an increase in asthma symptoms within your home, you may want to explore the potential that mold is behind your growing asthma issues.
  3. Your Home Smells Musty: Your nose is one of the best indicators of mold growth inside your home. Mold, as it begins to grow and reproduce inside your indoor environment, it will start to emanate and produce this less than stellar odor within your home’s air – an odor that can best be explained as musty. At the first smell of this well-known musty odor, it will be time to investigate the smell and look for the culprit of the mold growth.
  1. Persisting Cough: The mold spores that are traveling throughout the air of a tainted mold environment can impact and evoke a persisting cough that will be hard to shake off when inside the indoor space. If you begin to experience a harsh cough when inside your home or in a specific room, you can associate it with mold exposure.
  1. Bubbling paint on Walls: Have you noticed a bubbling appearance to your walls and the paint on them? Look near bathroom walls, windows, and anywhere that there are high levels of moisture. This will be a strong indicator of growing mold on this surface.

Mold Allergy vs Mold Sensitivity

Mold allergies and mold sensitivities are two very similar and usually interchangeable conditions that are labeled from mold exposure in humans. Whether you label your mold symptoms as a mold allergy or as a mold sensitivity – you will want to be clear on what you are actually suffering from as they each have varying symptoms and underlying causes.

Mold allergies, in comparison to a mold sensitivity, is usually identified as a more severe reaction. The first leading indicator that you are experiencing a mold allergy is a constant, progressing allergy symptoms that occur all year round, specifically when you are inside the indoor area that is affected with mold.

Whereas mold sensitivity, is a term that is used to refer to any chronic non-allergic response to mold exposure. Mold sensitivity, compared to mold allergies, is not a commonly known condition that is recognized by many medical professionals. The severity of symptoms can vary depending on each individual, as their sensitivities can range from acute to severe.

Allergy to Mold

Allergy to MoldAn allergy to mold is a common condition in those who have a history of allergies – specifically to one or more types of mold. Generally, though, the actual allergy to mold is to the mold spores that are produced into the air for reproductive purposes. These tiny spores will float throughout the air and when exposure occurs it will ignite the flair of allergy-like symptoms in the body.

Mold Spore Allergy & Symptoms

When mold begins releasing mold spores into the air they can deposit on the inside lining of the nose, which can trigger allergy symptoms similar to hay fever. Mold spores can become highly dangerous when they enter into the body and reach the lungs, triggering asthma symptoms in sensitive individuals and in rare cases causing serious illnesses in the lungs.

In general, however, the symptoms associated with mold spore allergies is similar to mold spores – as they go hand in hand. The symptoms from mold spore allergies includes the following:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny and stuffy nose
  • Hives
  • Itchy, irritated eyes
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing

Mold Sensitivity

Mold sensitivity is described as a reaction to fungal mold growth in the human body that will elicit sensitivity reactions when exposure occurs to this mold indoors. Some people with mold sensitivities will experience a wide range of symptoms that they relate to this mold sensitivity reaction. Symptoms of mold sensitivity will include the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Cognitive issues
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • And other physical pain

How to Limit Mold Exposure Indoors

As we discussed, mold and exposure to this fungus can provoke significant adverse health effects to humans, particularly those with preexisting conditions like asthma and allergies. Maintaining the cleanliness of your home and keeping a moisture-free environment will help to diminish the growth of mold within your home.

The best ways to limit mold exposure and eliminate the growth of mold indoors is to implement the following methods within your home:

  1. Reduce Moisture Indoors: Inside a home there are some areas that will allow for water or moisture intrusions such as basements, bathrooms, and kitchens. It is important to monitor these areas that are known to have a higher built-up of moisture and help to promote ventilation with air vents in the space.
  1. Use an Air Conditioner to Increase Airflow: Increased air flow will help to flush out contaminants and fight off intruding mold from growing within the indoor environment. The more airflow in the space the smaller the chances of mold growth inside the space – be sure to remember to regularly change out air filters to promote a clean air environment. 
  1. Improve Ventilation: Exhaust fans and fresh air are two important factors to help improve ventilation and minimize mold development in your home. Be sure to ventilate the areas that need it to the most such as bathrooms, basements, kitchens, and laundry rooms where moisture may be present.
  1. Using a UV Air Purifier for Mold: A popular method for cleaning the air indoors and fighting off mold and the spores they produce is through the use of an efficient air purifier for mold. Many air purifiers use different technologies to address different airborne contaminants in the air such as mold. Some traditional air purifier technologies fall short when it comes to combating mold and mold spores, but with new inventive technologies such as UV air purifiers designed specifically for mold removal.

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Although there is still more to learn about mold allergies and mold sensitivities, they are both important conditions to understand and learn more about. Indoor air quality within a home is important and when mold is present in this environment it can have significant effects on human health. By using the proper mitigation methods for mold, you will be able to not only improve indoor air quality but also reduce the risks of mold conditions like mold allergies and mold sensitivities.

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