Do you suspect you have mold allergy? Guest blogger Elizabeth Shields writes about mold allergy symptoms and what you can do if you find out that you have a mold issue at home.
Mold is a typical issue every homeowner has to deal with from time to time. They’re the slimy black, sometimes greenish, white, or even orange spots that can grow anywhere dark and damp, including your shower curtain, bathroom sink, kitchen drain, windows, or basement floor. Household molds thrive from moisture when we take long, hot showers, leave wet clothes in the washing machine, bring wet firewood at home, water houseplants, or have a leaky roof.
Beyond looking gross, having molds at home can make you and your family sick. In this article, we talk about the usual health symptoms of mold exposure, who’s most vulnerable to mold allergy, tell-tale signs if you have mold issues at home, and what you can do to eliminate them effectively.
Common Symptoms of Mold Exposure
People have different reactions when they get exposed to molds. Some are more sensitive than others. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), evidence suggests that touching or inhaling mold spores or spending some time in a mold-infested environment can lead to:
- Runny nose or congestion
- Watery and irritated eyes
- Sneezing, coughing
- Sore and itchy throat
- Skin rashes
- Difficulty breathing (i.e., wheezing or shortness of breath)
- Lung irritation
Who Is Most at Risk of Mold Allergy?
While some people have mild reactions to mold exposure, some have a higher risk of having mold allergies that can trigger serious complications, such as respiratory infections and bronchitis. These include:
- People with asthma and other allergies
- Infants and younger children
- The elderly
- Individuals who have a compromised immune system due to existing medical conditions (HIV infection, cancer, liver disease) or those undergoing chemotherapy
- People with chronic lung disease and other respiratory ailments
Do You Have Mold at Home? Here’s How to Check
Anywhere dark and moist is a potential hotbed for molds at home. So, do a periodic check of mold-prone areas around the house, especially during summer when the humidity is high and wintertime when everything it’s cold and damp.
Here’s a sample checklist for a home mold inspection.
- Are there water leaks in your roofing or plumbing?
- Do you notice any moisture, stains, or a strong, musty smell under your rugs or carpets?
- Are your walls damp to the touch or showing mold growth already?
- Is there visible wetness on your basement floors after it gets flooded?
- Are there water damage and condensation signs in your glass doors and windows?
- Can you spot mold growth on your books and piles of papers?
What Can You Do to Get Rid of Mold
- Get a dehumidifier and keep humidity levels as low as possible, preferably between 30% and 50% all day long.
- Improve ventilation around the house by opening your windows and using exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom. In addition, make sure the hot air from your clothes dryer vents outside.
- Hire a professional home cleaning service regularly to ensure that every nook and cranny in your home is properly scrubbed and sanitized. They usually have effective cleaning agents, tools and equipment, protective gear, and necessary training to clean and deal with molds. If cleaning yourself, never mix bleach with ammonia or other home cleaning agents as they can produce harmful toxic gasses.
- Immediately address the water leaks, plumbing issues, and groundwater seepage in the property.
- Invest in a central air-conditioning system with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter attachment, which can help trap outdoor mold spores and prevent them from circulating indoors.
Mold is just one of the many potential headaches you should watch out for when hunting for residential properties. Luckily, unlike other home disasters, this one is nothing major and can be resolved immediately.