Mold. It’s a word that immediately produces an uncomfortable feeling in one’s stomach. It’s one simple word that can send homeowners into a panic. And, especially now as we are in the throes of summer with high temperatures and high humidity, its impact on our air quality can be a hot topic!
According to experts, more than half the houses in the U.S. have mold problems, and 28% of the population have genes that make them more susceptible to mold-related health issues. Could this tiny little dreaded intruder be to blame for the always unexpected summer illnesses?
What Exactly Is Mold?
Molds are naturally occurring fungal growth. They are small organisms that can be black, white, orange, green or purple, and can live almost anywhere indoors or outdoors where any moisture and oxygen are present. They tend to seek out warmer climates or decaying matter to feed on to accelerate their growth speed. This is why our homes make a great target for mold to proliferate in the summertime.
There are hundreds of species of mold. While some are less dangerous, like penicillin, which has antibacterial properties and is used in antibiotic medications, other types of mold can make you sick.
You Are Most Likely Exposed to Mold Every Day
Mold’s tiny, lightweight reproductive cells are called spores and they are easily released and travel through the air. Smaller, enclosed spaces increase their ability to make contact with one another and reproduce. Although they are usually harmless in small amounts, there is no species of mold that is “safe” when inhaled.
Symptoms of mold exposure may include:
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
Many people are sensitive to mold. Inhaling or touching mold spores can cause allergic reactions, including sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and a skin rash. People with serious mold allergies may have more severe skin reactions and a consequential reaction of shortness of breath. For those who suffer from asthma, asthma attacks can be triggered by breathing in spores. About 40% of asthma episodes are triggered by the household presences of mold, dust mites, or rats.
Others who may be more sensitive to the effects of mold include:
- The elderly
- People who are immunocompromised
- People with chronic lung disease
In those with impaired immune systems, serious infection can occur.
Where Mold Grows
Walls, floors, appliances, carpet or furniture can all provide the food mold needs to grow…but the thing all molds need the most is moisture! You are most likely to see mold in damp places such as bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, basements, or crawl spaces.
Signs Of Mold In Your House
Musty smells are usually a dead giveaway of mold. Another common sign is visible water damage.
The bad news for homeowners is that mold grows fast. Within just 24 hours of a water lead or a flood, mold will start to grow! The mold will grow on anything that is humid – wall, floors, ceilings, furniture, and even wet laundry.
Air sampling is the most common form of sampling to assess mold levels. It is considered to be the most accurate method for assessing respiratory exposure to mold. Indoor and outdoor air are sampled, and the mold spore concentrations are compared. Indoor mold concentrations should be less or equal to outdoor concentrations with similar distributions of species. An overriding difference in species or higher indoor concentrations can indicate poor indoor air quality and a possible health hazard. Air sampling can be used to discover hidden mold. This method is often used to assess the effectiveness of control measures after remediation in a house.
Getting Help With Mold Prevention
If you think there is a chance of mold, it is important to have a professional do testing.
Professionals are qualified to do the proper investigations to:
- Check the surface of your house for mold
- Test the air for spores
- Help identify source(s) of moisture
- Identify where mold is growing
- Help decontaminate your house
- Use natural enzymes to kill mold spores
If you do not get rid of all sources of mold…. you are at risk of getting sick from it.
Preventing the Spread of Mold
Homeowners need to know the ways to prevent the spread of mold:
- Keep an eye out for hidden leaks. Wet spots on the ceiling, at baseboards or on the floor are a good sign of a leaky pipe or roof. Since a home’s pipes are behind drywall, a leak could go unnoticed for a long time. Mold can grow behind the walls and filter in air containing spores through ducts or pipes.
- Keep air conditioners clean. Many air conditioners, especially window units, are highly susceptible to mold growth. They can trap moisture which will create breeding grounds for mold spores. Replace the filters every three months, or as the instructions recommend.
- Do not overuse the air conditioner. Leaving the unit running all day, or on high all day will increase your chances for mold to build up in the air conditioner. Choose a unit with humidity controls to prevent moisture build up. Leave the air conditioner on a low or automatic setting during the day. It will continue to circulate the air and prevent a rise in humidity.
- Use a dehumidifier. Maintain less than 60% humidity in your home at all times in order to stop mold production.
- Ventilate heat-prone rooms. Bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms create a lot of excess heat and humidity. Ensure all three of these rooms are well ventilated to prevent moisture to build up and attract mold.
Get Personal Protection from Mold
Mold can have serious effects on our health. You need mold protection! Wearing a face mask is a great and easy option to give you the protection you need.
Our X95 and X99 anti-pollution masks are both designed with two PM2.5 carbon activated filters to provide you with the shield from any harmful mold, dangerous pollutants, and contaminants found in the air. Our X99 masks include a neck buckle for a better seal, which is crucial for the best filtering possible
Our masks are made with a high-quality polyester-cotton blend, specifically engineered to provide you the maximum level of protection while ensuring you maximum comfortability. If you want an easy to breath and exhaust system for protection from mold, check out our reusable anti pollution face masks today!