Condition Spotlight

Everyone breathes in mold spores in the air, but some people have an allergic reaction or asthma symptoms if exposed to too much of this fungus.

If you are allergic to mold, your immune system is overly-sensitive to specific mold spores and treats them as an allergen. When you inhale the mold spores, your immune system triggers symptoms such as sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, nasal congestion or itchy nose, mouth and lips.

Toxic mold is a big problem in many homes, but many people are unaware of the problem. Of course, everyone looks at the shower curtain, under the sink, or in the basement when he or she think about mold issues, but mold can grow just about anywhere.

Mold can be found in drywall, in the roof (if leaks are present), and even in one’s Christmas tree. One study found that Christmas trees can breed mold, quietly releasing millions of spores into the room causing winter allergies and asthma attacks. Studies have found that indoor air quality dropped six-fold over the 14 days a Christmas tree typically decorates a room.

There are 1,000 types of mold that can be found growing in the modern American home. Scientists classify these molds based on the effect they have on humans and other living things.

Many people allergic to mold develop symptoms outdoors on days when mold spores are in the air. You may also have symptoms indoors if mold is in your home, school or workplace.

Symptoms of mold allergy include:

• Itchy nose, mouth and lips
• Sneezing
• Itchy, watery eyes
• Runny nose
• Nasal congestion

Mold can also trigger asthma symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath or chest tightness.

How to get rid of mold
Mold spores can lay dormant for years after they are produced and could begin growing at any time, leaving allergens active for long periods. Because of this, regular cleaning with agents that kill mold or professional mold remediation is always ideal.

Remediation for toxic mold begins by identifying the source of the moisture and making any necessary repairs, then removing all of the porous material in a room to be replaced with sanitized material. All non-porous surfaces need to be thoroughly cleaned with an anti-fungal detergent and thoroughly dried before porous materials like drywall or carpeting can be reinstalled.

Occupants can reenter the building after the infected spaces pass a visual or environmental test and there are no remaining signs of potential mold-causing water damage.