What is Black Mold?
Black mold is a common name for two dangerous types of Stachybotrys mold, Stachybotrys Chartarum (or S. chartarum) and Stachybotrys Chlorohalonata (or S. chlorohalonata). While other molds have been called “black mold,” the two aforementioned species are the most well-known. All of the molds known to most as “black mold” or even “toxic black mold” can make people incredibly ill.
Mold is a type of microscopic, asexually-reproducing fungus. Mold prefers to grow in damp, humid conditions, but they can often continue to grow (and potentially make people ill) after an area is dried out. Black mold is common in homes and other environments that have sustained water damage.
As a type of toxic mold, black mold has mycotoxins, this is essentially what will make people ill from exposure. A wide range of symptoms come from exposure to black mold, and these symptoms vary due to the duration and intensity from exposure along with the overall health and mold sensitivity of the individual who is exposed. Some symptoms include, but are not limited to: headaches, fatigue, irritation to the eyes and nasal passages, fever, sneezing, coughing, rashes, nausea, and even bleeding in the lungs.
Pulmonary Hemorrhage and Black Mold
Pulmonary hemorrhage is bleeding of the lungs, and it is one of the most frightening potential complications from black mold exposure. It is important to note that most experts are unable to conclude that pulmonary hemorrhage is indeed cause by black mold, but as this condition affects infants, it is best to be cautious when black mold is in the same home as children.
Pulmonary hemorrhage has a high mortality rate of up to 40%, and it is a very unpleasant condition. It is associated with acute bleeding from the lungs and the upper respiratory tract along with other sites. Often over a third of the child’s lungs are bleeding by the time this condition is diagnoses.
Other Health Conditions
Those who are more sensitive to molds, such as those with allergies and asthma will almost certainly show symptoms if they are exposed to molds. These symptoms can be mild such as wheezing, skin irritation, a stuffy nose and irritation in to the eyes and nasal passages. More severe reactions can also occur including fever, breathing difficulties and a condition called hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
Other symptoms can include dizziness, memory loss, and a lack of concentration. Digestive problems and other infection s can be caused by exposure to black mold. Some who have been exposed to black mold have experienced pain in internal organs, irregular blood pressure, and even infertility. Any symptoms caused by any mold should be treated very seriously, as some symptoms can be fatal. Even if you are not experiencing any symptoms, but you have been exposed to mold, you should consult with a physician.
How Does Mold Enter Our Homes?
Mold is everywhere. There are about 400,000 kinds of molds that occur everywhere in the natural world, and there are about 1,000 types that have been found often in homes in the United States. Mold prefers damp, humid places, but mold is quite hearty and can continue to survive even in conditions that are less ideal.
Mold spores usually travel by becoming airborne. They end up in your home and begin to grow and reproduce when conditions become right. This means that if you have a humid, wet environment in your home, there is a good chance that you could already have a mold problem. If you have had a flood, a major leak, or other similar situations, mold will start to grow. It grows on organic compounds and will quickly flourish on soggy carpeting and floorboards, wet walls and ceilings, damp wood, moist clothing, food, and more.
Molds also prefer areas that are just normally damp or humid. Bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, and basements are places where mold often develops. Spas and humidifiers are other places where mold may often grow.
If you find mold growing in your home, you need to remove it immediately. If mold is growing on an object, throw it away if you can. Sometimes you can smell mold before you see it; if you have a box of books or a bag of clothing with that tell-tale damp, musty odor, throw them away. There are things that you cannot throw away, such as walls, which may very well have mold growth. You should clean these areas with bleach and hot water, and should consider using an antibacterial solution after. When you clean up mold, keep the area well ventilated and wear protective clothing. Gloves and a mask should be worn at minimum. Eye protection may also be a good idea. If you have a large mold problem, consult a professional.
You also need to remove the main source that is causing the mold. If you have a reoccurring plumbing leak or a drainage problem that is constantly creating floods or puddles, have the problem repaired. If general damp conditions are a problem, consider installing a dehumidifier and looking into ventilation solutions.
Black mold or toxic black mold doesn’t have to make you sick. Mold can be removed and prevented before it causes a problem, but if mold is causing symptoms, it is best to take action immediately.
Mold can cause a wide variety of health difficulties and the problems that black mold causes are often the most severe. If you are having mold related symptoms, consult a medical professional, and consider meeting with a doctor even if you are feeling healthy if you find that you were exposed to black mold.
Before you or anyone else becomes ill, you should do your best to prevent mold growth in your home. Also, if you find mold, eliminate it immediately. While mold is everywhere, it doesn’t have to grow and flourish in your home.