Airborne Mold Spores

Airborne mold spores can destroy your health. Here is what you need to know about mold in your homes, schools, and places of work.

Airborne mold spores can destroy your health. Many people are unaware that they are breathing mold spores until they are very sick. If you are lucky and have a minor allergic reaction to the mold, once you leave the affected area you will recover. But, if you have been exposed to the dangerous stachybotris spores you can have chronic bronchitis, learning disabilities, mental deficiencies, heart problems bleeding lungs and more. Here is what you need to know about mold in your homes, schools, and places of work.

25 million Americans suffer from allergic reactions to molds, most of them don't even realize that when they're sneezing and sniffling the cause could be molds. Many molds produce airborne toxins that can cause serious breathing difficulties, memory and hearing loss, dizziness, flu-like symptoms, and bleeding in the lungs. Common ailments from mold---including allergies, asthma and bruising---usually can be treated and reduced after people leave their contaminated environment. But other health problems may remain permanently, such as brain damage and weakened immune systems.

Fungus reproduces into spores that come in many different sizes, shapes and colors. The spores will reproduce and germinate into new mold growth which in turn can produce millions of more spores. Molds are most prevalent from spring through late fall, but,in warm climates, molds thrive all year and can cause year-round problems.

Molds can be found wherever there is moisture, oxygen, warmth and something to feed on. In the fall they grow on rotting logs and fallen leaves, especially in moist, shady areas. In gardens, they can be found in compost piles and on certain grasses and weeds. Molds grow in our homes in moist warm areas like damp basements, closets, and bathrooms. Also molds can grow in places where fresh food is stored, refrigerator drip trays, house plants, humidifiers, garbage pails, mattresses, upholstered furniture, or foam rubber pillows. Molds can grow inside the walls and flooring of our homes, wherever there are wet cellulose materials they can feed on, such as wood, ceiling tiles, or plasterboard.

Molds come in at least a thousand different varieties, but only a few are the offenders that invade our homes. Alternaria and Cladosporium are the molds most commonly found both indoors and outdoors throughout the United States. Aspergillus, Penicillium, Helminthosporium, Epicoccum, Fusarium, Mucor, Rhizopus, and Aureobasidium are also common. The most dangerous mold strains are: stachybotrys (pronounced Stack-ee-BOT-ris). This black fungus releases toxic, microscopic spores that cause the worst symptoms that are usually irreversible.

In some individuals, a minor exposure to mold can cause an allergy that can lead to asthma or to a lung disease. The symptoms are wheezing, low-grade fever, and coughing up of brown mucus. You will need to be seen by a doctor is you suspect that your allergies, bronchitis or asthma are related to mold spores. If you have any unexplained severe health problems, you may want to determine if you have been exposed to a dangerous strain of mold spores.

In some people, symptoms of mold allergy can be worsened by eating foods, such as cheeses, that are processed with fungi. Other foods like mushrooms, dried fruits, and foods containing yeast, soy sauce, or vinegar can also produce allergic symptoms. Avoid these foods if you suspect any mold allergies.

To rid your house of mold clean counters, showers, tubs, sinks, window sills or anywhere there is mold with bleach. Fix leaking faucets or pipes that could be dampening walls. Install air conditioning in your home because this dries the air out, making it more difficult for mold to survive. Check houseplant soil, make sure it is not always very damp. Keep firewood outside. Keep your basement as dry as possible. You may want to keep an air purifier in your basement. Clean the bottom of your refrigerator, and underneath it. Clean up all water damage quickly. If your carpet, walls or any flooring is in a flood get an experienced flood specialist to dry it up for you. Any dampness left can cause mold to grow in your walls or under your carpet. When water is left to sit, for even 24 hours, common molds can begin to grow. If water continues to sit and areas become completely saturated, more lethal molds, such as Stachybotrys, can begin to grow.

The tricky thing about these airborne molds is, you may not realize how it has affected your health for quite sometime after you have been exposed. It is important to not live, work or stay for long periods of time in a place that smells mildewy or moldy. If you have done all you can to clean molds that are visible, maybe there is mold under the carpet or in the walls.

If you suspect that the air quality in your home is being compromised by mold spores you can have the air tested, but it can be quite expensive. It's worth it if it helps save your health.

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