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Wednesday, 01 November 2023 12:00

Mold! What Is It, Why Is It Important, and What to Do About It

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Mold, mold, mold!  That is all a lot of us have been hearing about lately.  What is mold and what is the fuss?  Mold is a type of fungus that can grow both indoors and outdoors.  While mold plays an essential role in nature by breaking down organic matter, it can also have negative health effects on humans if it grows indoors.   Exposure to mold can cause a range of health issues, especially for people who are sensitive or allergic to it.

Mold grows in warm, damp, and humid environments (sound at all familiar here in Florida?).  Common places for mold to grow include bathrooms, kitchens, crawl spaces, and voids between walls.  Mold also can grow on organic materials such as paper, wood, and textiles.

The health effects of mold can vary depending on the individual and the amount of exposure.  Some people may experience no symptoms, while others may develop a range of symptoms, including:

  • Respiratory issues: Exposure to mold can cause respiratory issues such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.  People with asthma or allergies may be particularly sensitive to mold and may experience more severe respiratory symptoms.
  • Allergic Reactions: Mold can cause allergic reactions in some people, including sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, and skin rashes.
  • Headaches: Exposure to mold can also cause headaches, particularly in people who are sensitive to it.
  • Fatigue: Mold exposure can cause fatigue and a feeling of general malaise.
  • Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat: Mold can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, causing redness, itching, and soreness.
  • Skin irritation: Mold can also cause skin irritation, including rashes and hives.

In addition to these symptoms, exposure to mold has also been linked to more severe health issues, such as respiratory infections, neurological problems, and even cancer. Long-term exposure to mold can also lead to the development of asthma or other respiratory conditions. The severity of health effects related to mold depends on several factors, including the amount and duration of exposure, the type of mold, and the individual’s sensitivity. Children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems may be more susceptible to the health effects of mold.

If you suspect that you have mold in your home or workplace, it’s important to address the issue as soon as possible. Here are some steps you can take to prevent mold growth and reduce your exposure:

  • Keep humidity levels low: Use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to keep humidity levels between 30 and 50 percent.
  • Ventilate bathrooms and kitchens: Use exhaust fans to vent moisture and steam from bathrooms and kitchens to the outside.
  • Fix leaks: Repair any leaks in your roof, plumbing, or windows to prevent moisture from accumulating.
  • Clean up spills and leaks immediately: If you have a spill or leak, clean it up immediately and dry the affected area thoroughly.
  • Use mold-resistant materials: Consider using mold-resistant materials such as drywall or paint in areas that are prone to mold growth.
  • Clean and dry wet or damp areas: If you have water damage or flooding, clean and dry the affected area within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.

In conclusion, mold can have a range of negative health effects, especially for people who are sensitive or allergic to it.  If you suspect that you have mold in your home or workplace, it is important to have it tested by a Licensed Mold Assessor or Industrial Hygienist as soon as possible.  If mold is found, proper remediation is important to ensure that there are no further health complications and to help prevent mold from returning.  If there is no mold, taking the steps listed above can help prevent mold growth and reduce the risk of exposure to you and those living and working around you.

Troy Conner
First Priority Restoration


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