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Symptoms of Mold Exposure & Who is Most At Risk

Mold affects different types of people in many different ways. Every person comes into contact with some type of mold spore daily, however a majority of people don’t suffer severe side affects. Mold symptoms generally resemble hay fever – rash, fatigue, as well as severe to mild headaches have been reported. Generally speaking, and according to Vicki Lankarge, there are 5 main symptoms that anyone who comes into contact with mold may experience:

5 Symptoms of Exposure to Mold

  • Nasal and Sinus Congestion
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • Skin and/or eye irritation
  • Upper respiratory infection including sinus

Mycotoxins

If everyone comes into contact with mold spores daily, why does it only affect some people? In most cases, its not that mold isn’t affecting that individual, its that the mold the individual is taking in, does not carry mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are what cause these symptoms and what are so poisonous to humans.

Who is Most at Risk for Symptoms of Mold Exposure?

Because mold can harm anyone no matter how healthy they are, this is a harder question to answer. According to Vicki Lankarge, there are three ‘types’ of people that are more susceptible to mold exposure problems:

  • Individuals with a respiratory disorder such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Individuals who have an immune system already weakened by cancer or HIV
  • Individuals that are either very old, or very young

Remember, these problems are not limited to these people, because anyone who comes in contact with mold can be harmfully affected.

Do You have Children, specifically Babies?

Young children, especially babies are more susceptible to severe mold problems. Their immune systems are still developing and especially in babies, their lungs are still growing stronger. According to Lankarge, there have been 45 cases since the incident in Ohio. 16 of these infants have died. When, small infants breathe in the mycotoxins, the blood vessels in their lungs are weakened. Repeated exposure to these mycotoxins, causes severe pulmonary hemorrhaging, or bleeding in the lungs.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Source: What Every Homeowner Needs to Know About Mold (And What to Do About It) by Vicki Lankarge, Pages 28-31.
man almost on the water

Top 3 Sources of Water Damage and Tips to Avoid Them

Mold Thrives with Moisture

In order to grow and thrive, mold needs moisture. This creates a problem for homeowners that don’t want to share their space with mold. The trick, is getting ahead of mold.

That means knowing where to look and then learning how to prevent the growth of mold in those areas.

The top three sources that can attain water damage, and thus a mold problem are :

  • Washing Machine Hoses
  • Shower Tile Grout
  • Water Heaters

How to Avoid These Mold Invitations

One of the most important things to do in order to avoid mold growth in any of these areas, is to maintain a regular “check-up system” in your home.

Ignorance can lead to bigger problems, so be sure to know if there is a chance of mold growth.

Washing Machine Hoses

According to Vicki Lankarge, author of What Every Homeowner Needs to Know About Mold (And What to Do About It), washing machine valves should be turned off after each use to prevent bursting and leakage.

Shower Tile Grout

It is very important to make sure tile grout is applied properly, especially in showers or other water present areas. If the grout you already have is not up to par, replacement could be your best option.

To do this :

  • Remove old grout with a grout saw
  • Clean the surface of the tiles
  • Mix grout according to the instructions on the package
  • Apply grout to the surface with a grout float, spreading in a diagonal direction
  • Allow the grout to sit for 10 minutes or according to directions
  • Wipe the surface of the tile with a damp sponge to remove any excess grout
  • Allow to dry for another 10 minutes until you see a white haze, wipe this haze with the sponge

Water Heaters

When dealing with water heaters, it is important to know how much water is in your heater. Every 6 months, it would be wise to completely drain your water heater.

Here’s How:

  • Turn off the electricity or gas supply
  • Attach a hose to the drain valve at the base of the heater, and the other end to a drainage bucket
  • Allow the water to drain until it becomes clear
  • Close the drain valve and and open the cold water valve to refill the tank
  • Restore electricity or gas

Regular Maintenance

Remember to check each of these items in your home as well as other water related appliances. Regular maintenance is the key ingredient to keeping your home safe and free of mold.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Information Source : What Every Home Owner Needs to Know About Mold (And What to Do About It)
by Vicki Lankarge Pages 39-43.

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