About Mold / What Is Mold?
Some places where mold can grow in your home are:
After it gets the food it needs, mold can move to virtually any kind of surface. Mold growth prefers temperatures between 40 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. If a warm enough area in your home is humid or damp and contains items that mold likes to eat, your home could develop a mold problem.
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How does mold enter a home?
Mold spreads by creating reproductive cells called spores and sending them into the environment. Mold spores are too small to detect with the naked eye. They are everywhere around us and you cannot avoid being exposed to them.
Mold spores travel in the air and attach to people's skin, clothing, shoes, shopping bags and belongings. Other ways spores can enter your home invisibly are:
- through open doors and windows
- through your home's heating, ventilation and air conditioning system
- on the fur of a pet
Once spores enter, they can settle onto carpeting or other surfaces inside your home. You cannot keep spores out of your home, but regular home cleaning and maintenance often can prevent mold problems before they arise.
How do I know if my environment has mold problems?
If you see whitish, greenish, bluish, or even dark spots on the walls or ceiling the place may have mold problems.
Rooms that accumulate humidity such as bathrooms, kitchens or air conditioning systems usually have problems with mold because fungi develop in high humidity environments.
Rooms with water leakage or infiltrations may have mold infection.
If the mold infection is in closets, check for leakages from water pipes nearby.
High risk buildings:
- Near forests, due to high concentration of mold colonies
- Nearby the sea or a river as the high humidity level raises the development of new colonies.
- Buildings with poor sun exposure, as the sun is a natural germicide and helps prevent humidity.
Can mold make me sick?
Yes, Mold can make you sick. In addition to its being an unpleasant odor and sight, mold can cause harmful effects to human health that might turn to allergic infections and toxic reactions.
The Most Common Mold Allergic Effects Are:
Nasal congestions and irritation;
Mucous membrane irritation;
Allergic reactions - Rhinitis and Asthma;
Sneezing and coughing;
Throat and eye irritation;
- Asthmatic attacks;
- Itching and skin stains.
Immune suppressed patients are more likely to develop mold infections. Included in such groups we can highlight the danger to patients such are:
- HIV positive
- Organ transplanted
- Under chemotherapy or radiotherapy;
- Other immune-suppressed patients
Mold toxins studies suggest that toxins may be the cause of:
- Pulmonary hemorrhage;
- Reactions in the immunological system (reducing the ability of the organism to react to diseases);
- Neurotoxin effects such as fatigue, headaches, memory loss, depression, erratic moods, convulsions and shaking;
- Potential cancer trigger.
How to control mold?
It is impossible to completely eliminate airborne mold. Specialists warn that living in environments entirely safe from mold spores, bacteria or viruses would not be healthy since our immunological system needs to be active. It is recommended that steps be taken to reduce airborne microorganisms, not complete extermination.
Reduce humidity in your home by opening windows for approximately 30 minutes daily;
Prevent leaks due to rain; and when unavoidable, dry and treat water damage within 24 to 48hours;
Regularly clean places that accumulate humidity such as showers, faucets and pipes and the floor areas around such fixtures;
Limit carpets and plants in your home;
Use air purifier to drastically reduce high contamination levels.
Whenever possible, leave objects exposed to sunlight after cleaning. It is very important that objects are dried after cleaning otherwise they will be subject to new mold contamination.
Porous materials such as wood, fabric, cushions, and mattresses retain water and are likely to be contaminated, making it difficult to clean them. In the event that these objects are contaminated, it is advised to dispose them.
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