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Health Risks of Mold Exposure

Mold occurs naturally in both indoor and outdoor environments. Outside, mold is actually quite helpful in breaking down dead organic matter, such as fallen leaves and dead trees. However, mold colonies are never good when they grow indoors. When it comes to fighting this silent threat to you and your family’s health, knowledge is your most powerful weapon.

One of the most harmful types of mold is Stachybotrys chartarum, also known simply as black mold. Everyone is at risk of suffering from black mold health effects, regardless of age, race, gender or socioeconomic status. The most at-risk populations are the very young, the very old and those with autoimmune problems.

Here is some useful information about black mold health effects to help you understand the importance of taking quick action if you suffer from unexplained health problems or find black mold growing in your home.

Why is Mold Toxic?

Actually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the phrase “toxic mold” is not accurate. Black mold is toxigenic, which means it can produce mycotoxins. These substances are what make black mold undesirable in your home.

Found on the surface of black mold spores, mycotoxins can be easily touched, inhaled, or ingested without your knowledge. They have the ability to mutate rapidly, thus throwing a curveball at your immune system. At the same time, mycotoxins also suppress your immune system by producing certain chemicals in your body. That’s why people who already have suppressed immune systems are particularly susceptible to negative black mold health effects.

Another reason mycotoxins are so harmful is because they can cross directly into your brain from your nose and eyes. Olfactory neurons are directly tied to your brain with no barrier separating the two. That means anything you inhale, even if it has no odor, can transmit directly to your brain. Even mycotoxins in the air that come in contact with your eyes can travel through the optic nerve to your brain. It’s for these reasons that mold-induced sinusitis can lead to serious brain complications if you don’t treat them quickly.

Black Mold Health Effects

The types of health problems linked with chronic exposure to black mold mycotoxins vary extensively. Some examples include:

  • Cold and flu symptoms, such as runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, coughing, fever, and sneezing in otherwise healthy individuals
  • Respiratory problems such as wheezing, chest tightness and nose bleeds
  • Greater number of asthma attacks among people with asthma
  • The development of asthma in children, especially those who are genetically susceptible to developing the condition
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis, an immune-mediated condition, in susceptible individuals
  • Hair loss
  • Memory loss
  • Cancer
  • Dermatitis and skin rashes
  • Pulmonary hemorrhaging
  • Fatigue and muscle aches
  • Formation of autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis
  • Development of learning disabilities
  • Gastrointestinal disturbances, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

The most common black mold health effects are rather minor, such as cold and flu symptoms and increased asthma attacks. However, if you or a family member’s immune system is compromised, almost anything can happen if you experience chronic exposure to high levels of black mold mycotoxins.

That’s why identifying the cause can be so challenging. When mold growth is hidden, it’s easy to miss the link between the development of a new health problem and the presence of mycotoxins in your home. It’s essential that you speak with a healthcare provider about any unexplained health conditions you have and request a comprehensive evaluation.

Then, have your home inspected by a mold remediation company like Rainbow International®. Mold can grow anywhere there is adequate moisture. Mold doesn’t require a flood or obvious leak to start growing; a hidden plumbing leak or small crack in a shower tile could lead to hidden mold growth that only a professional can find and remove.

Don’t risk your family’s health any longer. Contact Rainbow International for mold remediation today.  

If you liked this article, check out these related topics:

Preventing Mold in The Most Likely Places

Types of Mold You Need to Know About

7 Hoarding Signs You Shouldn't Ignore  

Sources: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/09/03/molds-making-you-ill.aspx http://www.cdc.gov/mold/stachy.htm