There are many kinds of molds. All molds are not toxic and all molds do not cause health problems. But there are certain kinds of molds that are harmful to people. These include black mold and toxic mold. Black mold and toxic mold can cause serious illness or even death.
The most common kind of mold is microscopic and it is known by many names such as black mold and toxic mold. Stachybotrys chartarum or also called toxic black mold is a type of microfungus which produces its reproductive remnants in slithery slime, usually on moist surfaces. It can be found in grains and soil, but more often the mold is found in cellulose-rich construction materials from flood-damaged or water-logged buildings. The most common source of cellulose is wood, paper, dyes, fabrics and leather products. When the moisture content is high, the mold spores can develop and reproduce quickly, thus causing a very rapid growth that may reach the surface as tiny black dots.
Toxic mold symptoms or diseases may be difficult to detect because the symptoms are often not felt or seen. Instead, the affected area will develop an early stage of mildew or a mild odor. As the mold grows and reproduces, these symptoms will appear. Some of these symptoms include: allergic skin rashes, hives, nasal congestion, irritation of the eyes, difficulty breathing, coughing, shortness of breath, headache, fatigue, nausea and stomachaches. If toxic mold is found in the house or in a surrounding area, it is advisable to call a professional immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Mold growth on building surfaces is often found near the ceiling, doors, windows, walls or any areas that are regularly wet or moist. However, mold growth is often found on many other building surfaces as well. Examples of these surfaces include wall surfaces, floors, ceilings, basement walls and skylights. It should also be noted that some types of mold grow in interior surfaces such as cabinets, doors, cupboards and sinks. In addition, mold can be found on exterior surfaces such as fences, trees and bushes. Mold spores often travel by airborne means and therefore may be present on building exteriors when there are leaks or other forms of water infiltration.
An important tool in mold prevention and treatment is a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier is designed to lower the relative humidity (the concentration of water in the air) in a room or area. This decreases the chances of mold spores developing. There are two types of dehumidifiers available; internal or external. An internal dehumidifier is often less powerful than an external one because it does not require water to operate.
For many people, they do not immediately recognize the symptoms of black mold poisoning. They may experience watery, itchy eyes, sneezing, a feeling of constantly being congested or as if someone is “sneezing in your throat”. The onset of symptoms is usually most rapid in the morning or at night. Some people experience respiratory symptoms like cough, wheezing, chest tightness or shortness of breath. The symptoms may seem mild at first but if left untreated could worsen and lead to serious health problems including pneumonia.
If you have noticed water stains on your bathroom walls, kitchen walls or any other exposed surfaces, you should take action immediately. Water stains on exposed surfaces are a serious indication of mold growth. The longer you allow the water stains to remain, the more likely mold will develop. To remove water stains from your surfaces, you should consider using the services of a professional water damage restoration contractor.
When you are removing water damaged walls or mold growth on building surfaces, it is important that you wear protective gloves, masks and goggles. Be sure to dry yourself quickly after cleaning your surfaces because moisture will continue to be absorbed into your skin. After drying yourself, make sure to apply a sealant to all exposed surfaces including windows, doors and walls. This will help prevent future mold growth.