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Finding mold in your house can be alarming. Your first thought might be to look for structural damage to your house or worry about water leaks in the walls, but did you know that mold in your house can pose a risk to your health.
Besides mold’s disturbing appearance and varied colors, it can cause health risks to healthy and sensitive individuals. Mold can cause allergy symptoms and be a cause of asthma.
Mold toxicity, from inhaling mold spores for a sustained time, can cause numerous symptoms that can affect concentration, anxiety, and insomnia among others.
I grew up with allergies and mold was problematic. I found it in my bedroom and in the bathroom. In the sections below I’ll share my experience with mold allergy and symptoms. We’ll discuss the symptoms of mold toxicity, allergy, and asthma.
Why Does Mold Growth Occur In Homes
Mold growth isn’t unusual to see in homes across the U.S. It grows where there is adequate moisture, low ventilation, and in dark areas of the house. Moisture can develop from air humidity or a water leak.
The most common place to see mold growth in homes is the bathroom, where frequent showers create humidity. Basements are also a place to find mold growing because there is a lack of air circulation and higher humidity.
To a smaller degree mold can be found near the edges of windows where condensation provides the moisture mold needs.
Related: Signs of Mold In Your House
Mold appears in various colors. Isn’t it interesting that you can find, brown, black, yellow and green colored mold (almost the entire rainbow)?
Mold is a fungus and doesn’t have a problem growing on walls, couches, floors or ceilings. Provided it has moisture, mold can grow, and release spores which allow it to reproduce.
Spores are actually what cause our health problems. The tiny spores can’t be seen by the naked eye, but they can float effortlessly in the air and enter our airways.
Mold Health Risk #1: Toxicity
Most people don’t understand what mold toxicity is or how it occurs. Due to a general lack of understanding, mold toxicity is often under-diagnosed.
Mold toxicity occurs as an illness when the amount of mold in our bloodstream is high. Some people have a genetic predisposition to mold toxicity because they don’t adequately process bio-toxins from their body.
Mold can exist in a house and only affect one person who has the sensitivity. It’s estimated that 1/4th of the population has a genetic predisposition to mold toxicity.
The symptoms of mold toxicity are alarming. They affect the brain and can cause:
- Foggy mind
- Trouble concentrating
If you’re battling some of these symptoms you may feel like you’re insane.
What if it was mold that caused you to be depressed and not a problem with a chemical imbalance? What if your attention deficit disorder didn’t need to be treated with a pill and could be treated by dealing with a mold allergy?
These are things to consider and they could be brought up with a physician.
Mold Health Risk #2: Allergy
A more common health risk for mold is an allergy. When mold grows outdoors it doesn’t have the same effect as when it’s inside. Homes are often closed off to the air outside and if windows and doors are kept shut, mold spores have nowhere to go.
Growing up I always noticed a small amount of mold on the bathroom ceiling and on my bedroom window seal. I never realized that mold allergy could be affecting my health.
Although I was allergic to other allergens too (dust mites, pollen, and pets) I could have reduced my allergy symptoms by doing a better job of cleaning mold in the house. My worst symptoms were itchy skin, eczema, watery eyes, and snoring.
Mold allergy symptoms include:
- Itchy eyes, ears, skin
- Sinus pressure
- Post-nasal drip
At times my allergies made me feel like I had pinpricks in my skin. I felt uncomfortable, my mind was foggy, and I had trouble sleeping.
Because I was allergic to a number of things it’s hard to pinpoint what caused my symptoms but I’m sure my exposure to indoor mold did increase my health risks.
Mold Health Risk #3: Asthma
Thankfully I never experienced asthma but many people who experience allergies also have asthma. Asthma, allergy, and eczema are all related. Some people may experience one of these allergic diseases while other people experience all.
Asthma affects the airways and can be a frightening experience. Inhaled air sets of the immune response and causes the airways to contract and the airways to produce mucus. The response is meant to protect the body, but it occurs at the expense of the individual.
Most people diagnosed with asthma carry an inhaler in case they experience asthma symptoms. If mold triggers your asthma it’s important to be prepared.
There are many types of mold and you might not experience asthma with all. Mold also occurs outside in places shielded from direct sunlight. These places include damp leaves, under trees, and in the soil.
If you’re staying in a house that you suspect has mold, you can protect yourself by looking around the house. Check the following:
- HVAC unit
- Water damage on walls
- Pipes under the sink
- Water stains on floor
- Roof leak in the attic
A simple walk-through of a house should be adequate to discern whether there is a possibility of mold. Doing so could reduce the chance of health problems.
Mold in the house can cause significant health risks. Your first thought might be out of concern for your house. Is the wall ok? Is the mold damaging the ceiling?
Yes, mold can damage our house, but most people ignore the health risks that are associated with mold in the house.
Mold can cause serious health issues including mold toxicity, allergy, and asthma.
Mold toxicity is not well understood in the U.S., however, its effect can be wide-ranging. Mold toxicity can cause fatigue, depression, lack of concentration and a foggy mind. Mold toxicity occurs when the body can filter out bio-toxins from the blood.
Mold allergy is very common in the U.S. and regularly tested by allergists. There are many types of mold and allergy symptoms can include rashes, itchy skin, congestion, sinus pressure, and fatigue among others.
Mold allergies can be managed by removing mold from the house by fixing leaky pipes, fixing the roof, and resealing windows. Allergy shots are also an option to cure mold allergies. I receive allergy shots (allergy immunotherapy) and my mold allergies have completely disappeared (I still battle with a few other allergies).
Asthma is another health risk associated with mold. Asthma is closely related to allergies and affects the airway. Reducing indoor mold exposure should be sufficient to control mold induced allergy.
If you or someone in your family display symptoms of mold toxicity, allergies, or asthma, make sure to speak to a health professional to investigate it further. It took me 2 decades to look into my mold allergy. Once I was tested I learned more about mold and what I could do to avoid it.
Hopefully, this article helps you learn more about health risks for indoor mold. A visual inspection of your house can go a long way to making sure it’s mold-free!