If you’ve been experiencing allergy symptoms but don’t see any dust or physical allergens floating around the house, perhaps consider that you’re exhibiting symptoms of mold sickness. Often, mold exposure can trigger allergy-like symptoms because the body recognizes mold spores as foreign bodies, like airborne allergens such as pollen.
Think you might be suffering from mold sickness? Read on to learn about the symptoms of mold sickness and what you can do about it.
The Symptoms of Mold Sickness
Often, the indicators of mold sickness appear as upper respiratory allergy symptoms, including:
- Eye irritation.
- Sneezing and nasal congestion.
- Coughing, wheezing, and sore throat.
- Dry and scaly skin or skin rashes.
The frequency and severity of mold sickness symptoms can differ per person. Some may exhibit symptoms year-round, while others only have occasional flare-ups during specific times of the year, particularly when the weather is frequently damp. (Additionally, under the right circumstances, mold can be worse in winter.) Some people are more susceptible than others, like those who are allergic to mold or suffer from asthma.
Mold exposure can cause severe health issues in certain cases. Those with respiratory concerns, such as asthma, as well as those who are frequently exposed to mold because of their occupation have a higher risk of experiencing serious side effects. For example, breathing in mold spores may trigger an attack among those with asthma, and they may need to use their inhaler to manage their symptoms.
However, there’s a misconception that black mold spores cause headaches and memory loss, supposedly due to their excretion of toxic compounds. This myth was debunked by a 2017 study, as well as a 2019 study specific to the effects of mycotoxins.
What is Mold?
Mold is a type of fungi that grows both indoors and outdoors. Outdoors, it’s a naturally occurring and integral part of the ecosystem because mold helps break down animal and plant matter. The byproduct of this then feeds and fuels the rest of the environmental food chain.
But mold growing indoors is a completely different story. Nobody wants mold in their home, and most definitely nobody wants it in their system. It can cause infections, trigger allergies, and prompt other serious side effects.
There are various kinds of mold, but these are the most common types in the home that can cause allergy symptoms:
- Penicillium: Fuzzy-looking mold that is blue, yellow, or green in color. It’s commonly seen in basements, under carpets, and in insulation, particularly after water damage.
- Cladosporium: Brown, green, and black in appearance. It typically grows on wood, fabrics, carpets, and air ducts.
- Aspergillus: Powdery-looking mold that is white, gray, or green in color. It thrives with minimal ventilation, in walls, fabrics, both basements and attics, and dry food.
What Causes Mold?
Mold spores from outside release microscopic spores that persist and float in the air, and enter the home through open doors and windows, air vents, clothing, and shoes. Even your pets can be carriers of mold spores!
Once mold spores are inside the home, they can multiply under conducive conditions. Typically, mold grows in damp or high moisture spaces, such as:
- Bathroom sinks, showers, and bathtubs.
- Crawl spaces, basements, attics.
- Around leaky pipes and windows.
- Anywhere there might be leakage or water damage, like plant pots, roofs, and walls.
How Can I Prevent Mold Growth in the Home?
It’s inevitable for mold spores to enter the home because they are naturally occurring in the environment and can either float into the home or stick to clothes, animals, or people. However, there are several easy ways to prevent mold growth at home and alleviate the symptoms of mold sickness:
Use an Air Purifier with a HEPA Filter
A High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter is tested to capture even microscopic airborne pollutants that are invisible to the human eye. In the case of the Sans air purifier, it’s equipped with a medical-grade H13 HEPA filter that traps 99.97% of airborne pollutants that are 0.3 microns in size, and 99.95% of particles that are 0.1 microns in size. Mold spores are approximately 1-40 microns in size, so a HEPA filter is more than enough to ensure these are captured from the air.
Manage the Humidity Level Indoors
Try to keep your indoor humidity level to 30-50% by using a dehumidifier (or a humidifier, depending on the climate you live in), especially in high-moisture areas like bathrooms and basements. For places that are frequently wet, such as kitchen and bathroom sinks, make it a habit to wipe down damp surfaces. If possible, ventilate these areas by installing exhaust fans or windows.
Repair Leaks and Water Damage
Promptly fix leaky pipes, roofs, windows, and doorways to prevent water from seeping into the walls and floors. If you’ve experienced flooding, drain the water, then dry all objects and surfaces as quickly as possible. Discard unsalvageable items that were damaged by water in the flood, such as books and paper products, to prevent mold growth.
Eliminate Sources of Dampness that Might Stagnate
Avoid moisture buildup inside the home by disposing of or managing potential sources of dampness. For example, don’t keep wet clothes in the laundry basket or washing machine for a long time. If you can’t address wet clothes immediately, air-dry them before placing them in a hamper with dry clothes.
While mold can be a serious health concern, fortunately, it’s fairly simple to keep your home mold-free. To help alleviate symptoms of mold sickness and prevent mold growth at home, shop the Sans air purifier today.