If you experience certain allergic reactions, and they are with you virtually 12 months of the year, especially when the weather is damp, and you can spot no immediate reason for them, it could well be that you are exhibiting mold allergy symptoms.
Many people are unaware they have mold in their homes
The problem is that many people are not even aware that their home has a mold problem. It comes about when the atmosphere is sufficiently damp, and there is no air circulation. The most severe cases of mold are blatantly obvious; the signs and smells are there for all to see. But with milder cases, the damp is often hidden behind things, and is tucked away in nooks and crannies, and therefore not at all obvious. However, its presence, even with a mild infestation, may still be enough to trigger mold allergy symptoms.
Many people are unaware they are allergic to mold
For many people, not only are they not aware that they’ve got mold in their homes, but they’re not aware that they have a mold allergy either. In other words they can, and often do, suffer for months; sometimes even for years on end without knowing why.
Mold is all around us
The fact of the matter is that the majority of us come into contact with mold at one time or another. It’s all around us; not necessarily in our homes, but all around us in the air we breathe, both indoors and out – at least the spores at any rate. It doesn’t affect the majority of people, but to those it does, mold allergy symptoms, when chronic, can be extremely debilitating.
What is mold?
Mold is a type of fungus and it breaks down all sorts of matter; whether it’s animal or plant matter; things including dirt, fabrics, food, leaves, and wood. It reproduces by producing microscopic sized spores, and it’s these spores that get inhaled and that set off the mold allergy symptoms in those who are allergic. However, although it’s often the spores that are the culprit, some people will suffer mold allergy symptoms from the actual mold itself.
The likeliest places Mold can appear indoors
Although mold can appear anywhere there is moisture, in thrives indoors in dark, warm, damp conditions, and is often found in places such as basements and shower cubicles. It can, however, appear almost anywhere; on carpets, ceiling tiles, ducting, furniture, wallpaper, and in hidden areas around plumbing pipes. It can also be brought into the home on clothing or shoes, or simply through open windows or air vents. It can also be bought in by pets.
In appearance mold can have various colors, sometimes simply appearing as small, dark, specks or dots. Sometimes its appearance is accompanied by a musty odor. The insidious nature of mould means that it can also grow hidden beneath carpeting, behind a drywall panel, or even on the reverse side wallpaper; all things that make it very difficult to spot, which is why you may not realise that your symptoms are in actual fact, mold allergy symptoms.
Mold produces allergens
Mold manufactures a variety of substances that can act as what are known as allergens – substances that trigger an allergic reaction. Some molds can produce highly toxic substances, and we’ll discuss that in more depth a little later in the section on Black Mold.
Mold allergy symptoms
In the majority of instances, the reactions to the existence of mold are evidenced in mould allergy symptoms such as:
- Skin rash or irritation
- Teary and/or red eyes
- Runny nose
In certain instances people can develop more serious reactions such as running a fever, and having breathing difficulties. Anyone who suffers from a compromised immune system, or who has an existing chronic lung condition, can develop more serious lung infections in the presence of mold.
The severity of allergic reaction is unpredictable
Because everyone is different in terms of their body chemistry and their immune systems, it is impossible to predict with any sort of accuracy the degree of allergic reaction that various people will display in the presence of more. There is also the fact to consider that different types of mould (and there are hundreds) may evince different mold allergy symptoms.
We made mention earlier of black mould; so let’s now take a look at the phenomenon and the specific black mould symptoms.
What is black mold?
Black mold, sometimes called “toxic mold” and known scientifically as Stachybotrys chartarum, is a particular genus of mold that can grow in people’s homes, and as its name suggests, it’s extremely toxic. The toxins that black mold produces are known as mycotoxins, and they are very harmful to humans. The type of mycotoxin that that black mold produces is called trichothecene. It’s one of the most toxic mycotoxins there are.
Is it black mold or isn’t it?
In appearance, black mold is actually dark green in color. When black mold has plenty of moisture to feed on, it is slimy and gelatinous; but if its source of moisture dries up, it turns dry and powdery in consistency. Black mold is one of a number of molds that share the same appearance, and the only way to get a positive identification as to whether or not it is the Stachybotrys chartarum mold genus is to have it chemically analyzed in a laboratory.
Where you can expect to find black mold
Black mold is found in most countries of the world. When it grows outdoors, it is normally found in the soil and in plant detritus. Indoors, black mold thrives on surfaces that have a high cellulose content but that are low in nitrogen. Unfortunately this is a common factor of many of today’s construction materials.
How black mold gets started
In order to get established, black mold requires a constant, plentiful supply of moisture and takes longer than ordinary mold to get a footing; somewhere between 8 and 12 days. Once it gets a firm toehold, it will kill off any competing ordinary mold that exists. One of its favorite haunts is next to a leaking pipe, usually well hidden from view. When discovered it is often found in damp areas above the ceiling, or under the floorboards.
The effects of black mold
Prolonged exposure to black mold spores is very injurious to health. In a worst case scenario, prolonged, heavy exposure may even prove fatal. Under no circumstances should you ever try to remove black mold yourself. When disturbed, it can release a huge amount of spores into the atmosphere which will seriously damage your health. Call in the experts to get rid of it.
Black mold symptoms
Common black mold symptoms are numerous and include:
- Impairs cognitive ability
- Causes fatigue
- Suppresses the immune system
- Internal organ damage
- Causes irritation to the mucous membranes
- Causes nausea
- Creates respiratory problems
- Causes inflammation of the skin
As you can plainly see, it’s pretty nasty stuff, and the longer you are exposed to it the worse black mold symptoms become. Once you acquire black mold poisoning there is no immediate antidote.
The road to recovery
The only way of recovering is to get rid of the mold, and/or to remove yourself from the environment in which it’s been found. Once you’re clear of the mold, you body can slowly begin to repair itself; but it the process will take several months, and in cases of chronic black mold toxic poisoning, your health may not ever fully recover.
Banishing mold allergy symptoms
Mold and holistic healthy living are definitely not good bedfellows. Whether you’re suffering from ordinary mold allergy symptoms, or black mold symptoms – you need to get rid of it, the sooner the better; but remember! When you’re dealing with the black stuff – call in the pros.
Medicine Net.com website: Mold exposure – http://www.medicinenet.com/mold_exposure/article.htm
BlackMold Awardspace.com website: Toxic black mold – http://blackmold.awardspace.com/stachybotrys.html
WebMD.com website: Mold and allergies – http://www.webmd.com/allergies/features/mold-allergies-reduce-symptoms