Symptoms of Mold Exposure
Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores and these spores are invisible to the naked eye. They float through outdoor and indoor air. Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet. There are many types of mold, and all of them will grow with exposure to water or moisture.
Symptoms of mold exposure vary from person to person and range from mild to severe. You may have year-round symptoms or symptoms that flare up only during certain times of the year. You may notice symptoms when the weather is damp, or when you’re in indoor or outdoor spaces that have high concentrations of mold.
Mold allergy causes the same signs and symptoms that occur in other types of upper respiratory allergies. Symptoms can include:
• Runny or stuffy nose
• Cough and postnasal drip
• Itchy eyes, nose and throat
• Watery eyes
If you have a mold allergy and asthma, your asthma symptoms may be triggered by exposure to mold spores. In some people, exposure to certain molds can cause a severe asthma attack. Signs and symptoms of asthma include:
• Shortness of breath
• Chest tightness
You may be more susceptible to symptoms of mold exposure under certain conditions or for personal health reasons. If allergies and asthma run in your family, you’re more likely to develop a mold allergy. Occupations where mold exposure may be high include farming, dairy work, logging, baking, mill-work, carpentry, greenhouse work, wine-making and furniture repair.
If your indoor humidity is higher than 60 percent, you may have increased exposure to mold in your home. Mold can grow virtually any area which is damp or wet which can be in basements, behind walls in framing, on soap-coated grout and other damp surfaces, in carpet pads, and in the carpet itself. Exposure to high levels of household mold may trigger symptoms of mold exposure.
Symptoms of Mold Exposure as a Result of Particular Living Conditions
You are also at risk of experiencing symptoms of mold exposure if working or living in a building that’s been exposed to excess moisture or if you are living in a house with poor ventilation. Examples of moisture are leaky pipes, water seepage during rainstorms and flood damage. Tight window and door seals may trap moisture indoors and prevent proper ventilation, creating ideal conditions for mold growth. Damp areas, such as bathrooms, kitchens and basements, are most vulnerable.
Most symptoms of mold exposure involve hay fever-type symptoms that can make you miserable, but aren’t serious. However, certain allergic conditions caused by mold are more severe.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the more severe symptoms include mold induced asthma. allergic fungal sinusitis (inflammatory reaction to fungus in the sinuses), allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (a reaction to fungus in the lungs), and hypersensitivity pneumonitis which is a rare condition which occurs when exposed to airborne particles, such as, mold spores.
Non-Allergen Symptoms of Mold Exposure
Other symptoms include health risks which don’t come in the form of allergens. Mold may cause infections of the skin or mucus membranes. Generally, however, mold doesn’t cause systemic infections except for in people with impaired immune systems.
So, if you are experiencing symptoms of mold exposure, take the first step in testing your home with an an Environmental Professional in a box™ do-it-yourself mold testing kit from Environmental Innovative Technologies, complete with certified lab analysis.