Mold is a type of fungus that is just about everywhere – it could be under your kitchen sink, in the bathroom, basement, or even in the air you breathe. There are several types of mold, but the mold everyone worries about the most is Stachybotrys chartarum (S. chartarum), also known as Stachybotrys atra. “Black mold” sounds ominous and dangerous, but there’s no scientific evidence that normal amounts of black mold pose dangers for healthy people. However, for people who are sensitive to mold, exposure can lead to a host of agonizing symptoms.
How dangerous is black mold to breathe?
Some people might not react to mold, while others might have minor to severe reactions. The dangers of black mold inhalation increase for people with asthma, as mold is a known trigger for asthma attacks. Mold can also cause a host of recurring symptoms for people with mold allergies and even for people who aren’t allergic to mold. People who suffer from illnesses that affect the lungs or respiratory system are also more prone to severe reactions. The elderly or very young and people with compromised immune systems may be at a higher risk of getting sick from black mold exposure. Symptoms may include:
- itchy eyes, nose, and throat
- watery eyes
- runny or stuffed up nose
- rash on the skin
- dry cough
- trouble breathing
Can mold kill you breathing it in?
Molds produce substances called allergens that may cause allergic reactions by inhaling or touching mold spores. When you breathe, mold spores can enter through the nose and cause allergy symptoms or get into your lungs and trigger an asthma attack. People who are extremely sensitive to mold or have a weakened immune system may develop a severe respiratory infection or fungal infection, but the dangers of black mold inhalation aren’t typically considered deadly.
Black mold is often thought of as dangerous because it can release mycotoxins, a toxic substance that a fungus produces. Yet all molds are capable of releasing mycotoxins, and even if mold is present, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is releasing mycotoxins into the air. Interestingly, most cases of mycotoxicosis occur from eating moldy food rather than breathing in fungal spores inside the home.
Can I stay in my house with black mold?
Even if you’re not suffering from irritating symptoms, it is essential to remove mold from your home for health and hygiene reasons. Mold can grow on carpet, upholstery and drywall, and damage or ruin it.
It’s not a good idea to live with mold when young children are in the house. Certain household molds are linked to the development of asthma in some children, especially if asthma already runs in the family. Getting rid of mold as soon as you notice it may significantly reduce asthma and respiratory allergies in young children and adults.
How to Tell if You Have Black Mold Poisoning
There is always some mold around. It enters through doors, windows, and vents. Mold can even be transported indoors on people and pets. You might spot black mold growth near areas of leaky roofs, pipes, or recent flooding in the home. Mold grows and thrives when moisture from continuous or unrepaired leaks or flooding in the house wasn’t cleaned up properly. You might see it growing in high moisture areas or on the wall, under the sink, and under rugs or carpet. You may be able to smell the pungent, musty odor of black mold. Even in the absence of odor and obvious leaks, black mold could still be lingering sight unseen in places where condensation and moisture prevail.
Who do I call for mold inspection?
If you suspect mold, but can’t find it, call a professional mold remediation company. They’ll send a trained hygienist to inspect and test your home for mold. If black mold (stachybotrys chartarum) or other molds are found in your house, they should be removed immediately. A mold remediation plan should include containment and careful removal of the mold colony. The remaining surfaces will be cleaned to eliminate any remnants, including mold spores, that could cause a new mold outbreak in the future. Repair and restoration of water leaks and finishing surfaces will also be replaced to fully restore your home, so it’s beautiful and safe to live in.