Black mold – the often invisible, toxigenic substance – can grow inside homes, schools, and the workplace undetected for years and fueled by damp conditions.
Exposure to mold increases the risk of health problems such as asthma, allergies, and even depression. According to a 1999 Mayo Clinic Study, nearly all chronic sinus infections, which afflict 37 million Americans and are often mistaken for the common cold, are a result of mold exposure.
Allergic reactions to molds are not seasonal, and can happen throughout the year. Use the following guide to find out how to spot mold as well as how to determine if your chronic health condition was caused by mold exposure.
Silent, Often Invisible, and Dangerous
Molds are often referred to as black mold, although color and composition vary. Some molds can be seen and touched, even ingested, and that can cause irritation.
Generally speaking, mold grows where the air is humid. Most will not cause harm, but in large quantities, or when the conditions are right for the mold to produce toxins, adverse health conditions can result.
Mold hides in places like cabinets, basements and crawl spaces, in drywall, and areas with water damage. Bathrooms and kitchens can be breeding ground for mold spores, because of water use and lack of proper ventilation.
It may appear as mildew on a shower curtain. Yet some of the most dangerous types of mold are invisible, are airborne and go undetected, thereby lengthening exposure time and causing the most harmful health problems associated with mold.
Toxins can affect the body’s central nervous system as well as the immune system, and molds are in the toxin category. When the body is confronted with toxins, its functions are compromised, specifically those located in the frontal cortex, where problem-solving, memory, and impulses are controlled.
Who Is Affected By Mold?
Some people, simply because of genetic and chemical factors, are more sensitive to mold than others. Small amounts of mold may trigger a reaction in one person, and have no visible effect on another person in the same living space and under the same exposure.
Age and general health can also be factors in reactions to mold. The elderly, those with compromised immune systems, those who already suffer from respiratory illnesses, and children may be more affected by mold than a healthy adult.
Physical signs of mold exposure can range from itchy, water eyes to asthma and airway problems. The body reacts to a mold that may not otherwise be toxic by exhibiting allergy-related symptoms, such as an irritated throat, coughing, or a runny nose.
For some people, the reaction may be more severe, causing nausea, fatigue, sinus infections or trouble breathing. In more extreme cases, fungus can produce volatile organic compounds, which can affect the central nervous system and cause headaches, dizziness, difficulty concentrating and decreased attention span, according to www.toxic-black-mold-info.com.
The Environmental Protection Agency also has information on mold and how to combat it and protect yourself and your home.
Documentation of the dangers of mold, the result of studies being undertaken by countries around the world, is pointing toward an increase in the prevalence of the health problems mold can cause, particularly in children.
When a child’s immune system, which is still maturing, is exposed to mold or antigens, his or her body may react abnormally, creating problems with development.
According to the National Institute of Environmental Sciences extreme exposure can result in death.