What exactly is mold and why is it so dangerous?
Mold is various types of fungi that grow and produce by forming spores. Mold often thrives in dark, moist places. Similar to other plants mold does need oxygen to survive, but it requires no light, which is why it easily grows indoors.
As mold breathes in oxygen, it releases a harmful waste in gas form. This water and waste given off by mold is known as mycotoxin, a toxin that can cause many health issues.
Allergic reactions to mold are some of the most common responses. These include coughing, wheezing, redness and itchiness of the eyes, skin irritation and a running nose. Others suffer serious reactions to mold including fever and difficulty breathing, especially those with already compromised immune systems or breathing problems.
In 2004, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found that there was enough evidence to link indoor mold exposure with upper respiratory tract symptoms such as coughing or sneezing in otherwise healthy people. Prolonged and high exposure to mold creates a significantly higher chance for infections and bronchitis as well.
Be aware of mold growth and possible exposure in the following three rooms within your home:
- Bathroom: A bathroom is one of the most common areas of the home mold growth occurs in. Known for their dampness, bathrooms also have porous areas which mold can latch its roots into.
- Basement: Being underneath the home, surrounded by dirt and darkness, basements can harbor mold both in and out of sight. Check near sump pumps and behind drywall for possible signs of mold.
- Kitchen: A leaky faucet or drain in the kitchen can cause a mold problem in days. If this occurs, be sure to take care of the issue right away.