In various regions of the country, summertime means enjoying sunny weather and high humidity levels. This is the recipe for a successful allergen breeding ground particularly for mold spores and dust mite allergen. Below you will get to learn more on how long-term mold exposure can pose various risks onto your health and what can be done to prevent mold from thriving so well inside your own home.
What is Mold?
Mold is a fungus that occurs naturally and it is both useful and needed outdoors. It can decompose matter like dead leaves and trees actively, and it plays a crucial role in our biological environment. However, it needs to be avoided at all costs when found indoors. Mold reproduces through its microscopic spores. They are tiny and lightweight which makes them an airborne threat. Mold spores that land on a damp surface can develop and reproduce into colonies.
Adverse Health Effects
Most individuals are not affected by mold exposure on a general basis, but others may experience several symptoms as below:
- Allergies: Inhaling or getting in contact with mold spores can cause allergies. Symptoms may include red eyes, a runny nose, and rashes. Allergic reactions may become visible almost immediately or over time.
- Asthma: Mold can trigger symptoms related to asthma which include shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing.
- Multiple Chemical Sensitivities: Mold can give off volatile organic compounds (VOC) which may cause dizziness, breathing difficulties, nausea, flu-like symptoms, hives, and rashes in individuals who have a sensitivity towards VOC.
- Respiratory problems: There is sufficient evidence to connect indoor mold exposure to symptoms of the upper respiratory tract which comprise coughing and wheezing in healthy people.
Short-term effects of mold are relatively easy to detect but long-term effects of if may not be obvious. Most often than not, people are not aware of what the underlying problem is until they have an allergic reaction that last for more than a year which can drastically change their life. Mold is capable of causing serious respiratory problems with obvious symptoms such as breathing difficulty, and tightness in the chest. Some of those who get exposed to mold over a prolonged period of time may also develop hypersensitivity in their lungs.
Preventing Mold Formation
Some of the tips you can follow to avoid mold from forming are as follows:
- Water damage: Act quickly whenever there is a spill or leak to prevent water damage.
- Roof gutters: Clean them regularly to prevent pooling.
- Sloping ground: Make sure there is a slope to allow the easy flow of water instead of letting it collect around the building.
- Air-conditioning: Clean out drip pans regularly and keep drain lines unobstructed to allow smooth water flow.
- Indoor humidity: Keep levels below 60 whenever possible by using a meter.
- Condensation: Act quickly by drying out windows, walls, and pipes to let them remain moisture-free at all times.