You want your house to be a place of safety and comfort for your family. However, when it is infested with toxic mold, your peace of mind may soon turn into a nightmare. You can take measures to keep your family safe and to restore your home's value and integrity by first learning about why toxic mold poses a unique hazard to you and your loved ones.
Dangerous Toxic Mold Levels
Toxic mold is very different from the mold that grows on rocks and tree trunks or on food that has been allowed to spoil. It emits toxic spores that can cause a wide array of mold associated illnesses that can sicken, cripple, and even kill people who come into contact with it.
However, scientists disagree on what constitutes a dangerous level of toxic mold. Ideally, every home would be mold-free. That ideal standard is often impossible for homeowners to achieve because many are not aware that mold is in their homes until the damage has been inflicted to their houses and their health.
As such, scientists speculate that the level of the dangerous toxic mold depends on the overall health of the people who live in the house. If everyone is healthy and free of underlying illnesses or conditions that could put them at risk, they may tolerate a higher level of toxic mold than a household with members who suffer from respiratory or allergy conditions.
Even so, health experts agree that all homeowners should make every effort to search for, identify, and eliminate toxic mold from their houses. These precautions help people avoid the dangers that often come with being exposed to it.
Toxic Mold Exposure Risks
Toxic mold can cause any number of complications that could compromise your overall health. Even the mildest of symptoms can be enough to interrupt your daily routine and compel you to seek out medical treatment.
However, the symptoms of mold exposure can be easily mistaken for other illnesses and conditions. For example, it can cause you to develop skin rashes, which you may then mistake as an allergy to fabric softener or the onset of seasonal allergies.
Likewise, you might develop a persistent cough and assume that you are coming down with a cold. It is often only after the symptoms get progressively worse that you realize that they are being caused by toxic mold rather than a virus, allergen, or bacteria.
A cough and skin rash are only two of several health complications that can arise from being exposed to toxic mold. You should learn about other conditions that can result from toxic mold exposure so that you can protect you and your family.
Illnesses Caused by Toxic Mold
You and your loved ones could suffer from any number of mold associated illnesses if this dangerous fungus is allowed to take root in your home. Some of the more common conditions caused by it include:
- skin rashes
- persistent cough
- worsened seasonal or chronic allergies
- respiratory complications like difficulty breathing or wheezing
- watery, burning eyes
- mild to moderate sore throat
- flu-like symptoms
You may need to seek medical treatment if over-the-counter antihistamines, creams, and other medications do not relieve the symptoms.
In rare instances, toxic mold can cause severe reactions like:
- bleeding in the lungs
- brain damage
- memory loss
- immune system suppression
People with underlying health conditions are most at risk of these rare complications. However, anyone who comes into contact with toxic mold stands a small chance of developing any of these reactions.
People Most At-Risk of Toxic Mold Complications
While healthy people may only experience one or two of these symptoms, people who suffer from chronic illnesses and underlying conditions could become so sick that they must be hospitalized or undergo intense treatment for toxic mold exposure. Toxic mold poses a significant risk to people like:
- asthma sufferers
- people with chronic or severe seasonal allergies
- COPD sufferers
- people with lung disease
- the elderly
- infants, toddlers, and children under the age of 10
If you have anyone who meets any of these criteria, it is important that you remain vigilant to the presence of toxic mold and that you take all appropriate measures to keep it out of your home.
Preventing and Eliminating Toxic Mold
The key to avoiding any of these health complications and side effects from toxic mold exposure centers on keeping this dangerous fungus out of your home in the first place. Toxic mold spores are drawn to dark, damp, and humid places in your house like the bathroom, utility room, and kitchen.
You should ventilate these areas so that they remain dry and inhospitable to mold growth. You should also have your vents cleaned out at least once a year since spores can enter your home through the ventilation system.
If you do see mold, you should immediately take action to get rid of it. You should tear up flooring, walls, upholstery, and other fixtures where it is growing. You should then use chlorine bleach to clean the affected areas.
You can also hire contractors who are trained to get rid of mold. This service may be covered by your homeowners' insurance policy.
Finally, if you unknowingly purchased a home infested with mold, you may have legal recourse against the real estate agent, contractors, inspector, and others involved with the sale. You should consult an attorney to find out what legal remedies you have to seek compensation for toxic mold exposure.
Toxic mold can put the health and safety of your household at risk. You can take the best measures to protect you and your family from it by learning what illnesses and complications it can cause and who is at risk of toxic mold exposure.