There are close to 100,000 varieties of mold. All of them can produce allergy-like symptoms in humans and pets, but some mold species are more dangerous than others.
The simple solution seems to be preventing mold growth in the places where you spend the most time, but that’s not as easy as it sounds.
Mold is present everywhere, and all it needs is oxygen, water and food – things that are found in every single indoor space. If the humidity gets too high or a room floods for any reason, that can be a catalyst for mold growth, requiring mold remediation, to remove it from your home.
If this colony happens to form in a place where you can’t see it, it could expose you and your loved ones to toxic mold for a long time before it is discovered and removed. In the case of toxic mold, the symptoms can be severe and cause long-term illness.
What is Toxic Mold?
Of the thousands of strands of mold, five categories are considered toxic: Aspergillus, Cladosporium, Fusarium, Penicilium, and Stachybotrys. These molds are sometimes called black mold because of their color, but not all black mold is toxic.
Toxic mold is common in the soil, where it rarely has an effect on humans because it is so diffused by the outdoor air, but it can also be found in building materials that are high in cellulose, like wood, drywall, carpet, insulation, and drywall.
The difference between toxic mold and other varieties:
- Toxic mold produces mycotoxins as it reproduces. Mycotoxins are responsible for a long list of severe physical and psychological symptoms.
- Most other mold species only release more mold spores as the colony grows. While mold spores can cause allergic reactions, severe in some people, these reactions are usually mild, and the effects are short-term.
Common Toxic Mold Exposure Symptoms
If you have experienced unexplained symptoms like the ones below, it’s very possible that you have had a reaction to toxic mold.
When the following symptoms are present in any combination and you have ruled out other causes, you should have your home professionally inspected for mold and tell your doctor if any mold is found.
Symptoms to watch for include the following.
Typical mold allergy symptoms:
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Sore throat
People with compromised respiratory systems or severe mold allergies may also experience the following:
- Tight chest
- Shortness of breath
- Chronic sinus infections
- Skin rashes
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain
The most serious toxic mold reactions include these symptoms:
- Blurry vision
- Gum sensitivity and bleeding
- Digestive issues
- Lung scarring
- Pulmonary hemorrhage
Everyone is different, so these symptoms are rarely found in the same combination and severity from one person to the next. This makes it very difficult to diagnose toxic mold exposure unless you know you have been exposed.
Diagnosing & Treating Symptoms of Toxic Mold
As you can see, the symptoms of toxic mold exposure can be hard to diagnose since they are so widespread. Doctors are often thrown off by the randomness of the symptoms a patient may present with until they have all the information.
Therefore, it is extremely important to tell your doctor if you have been exposed to mold or mold-friendly conditions.
Unfortunately, residential mold issues are common. Statistics say one-third of all American homes have some mold growth. Therefore, it is a good idea to have your home tested for mold periodically in case symptoms pop up. You will get faster diagnosis and treatment if your doctor knows that mold, or worse, toxic mold, could be the cause of your illness.
To treat toxic mold symptoms, your doctor will prescribe medications to alleviate your symptoms. The milder symptoms of mold exposure are 100% treatable and usually go away once you are not exposed to mold anymore.
These medications may include one or more of the following:
- Cough suppressant or expectorant
- Migraine prevention medicine
- Pain medicine for muscle and joint pain and headaches
- Anti-inflammatories for joint pain and headaches
- Bronchodilators for asthma sufferers and short-term use for non-asthmatics
- Corticosteroids for breathing difficulties
- Antibiotics for sinus infection, bronchitis and pneumonia
The other step that has to be taken in treating your toxic mold symptoms is removing the mold from your home.
You will need to have your home tested and fully inspected for mold. If any is found, it needs to be removed right away. Most, if not all, of your symptoms should go away once the mold is removed from your home.
Mold Inspection & Remediation
Mold testing and inspection is something that homeowners can do themselves in order to save time and money. Home mold tests are fairly accurate and can at least give you an idea about the presence of excess mold in your home.
It’s also relatively easy to inspect some parts of your home visually, although you can’t see behind the drywall, in the crawlspace, and on the roof without the right tools.
The safest and most thorough option for mold removal is to hire a professional mold removal company to do it all. From testing to removal, Pure Air Solutions knows how to find mold in its deepest, darkest hiding places, and they have the training and equipment to remove mold safely, without exposing the rest of your household to mold in the process.
When you let a mold removal company handle your inspection and removal, you will also gain valuable insight into what caused the mold growth in the first place, along with tips for how to prevent it in the future.
If someone in your home has experienced any of the symptoms above, it is highly recommended that you have your home tested for toxic mold. If nothing else, you can rule out toxic mold as a cause of the illness.