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Archive for December, 2011

Black Mold Symptoms and How to Remove the Toxic Mold from Your Home

[ 0 ] December 5, 2011

Black Mold Symptoms

Black mold is a nasty fungi that you don’t want in your home and prompt mold removal is a must. The toxins from this deadly fungus mimic other illnesses and continue to make you sicker and sicker until your health severely declines. Several years ago I was a victim of toxic mold.  They began growing in my bathroom and continued into my bedroom. At that time there wasn’t much information or concern about black mold, so I didn’t know I was exposing myself to a serious health problem. In fact, it wasn’t until I removed myself from that home that I realized my health was suddenly getting better.  And it wasn’t until I began doing research on toxic mold that are realized I’d been exposed to them.

Toxic Mold Signs and Symptoms

If you smell a stale musty odor, particularly in the basement, attic or bathroom, it is most likely that you have a toxic mold in your home. You may also smell a stale odor in your central air unit or portable air conditioner. Or you may see splotches of a grayish white substance growing on surfaces such as walls, ceilings or other moisture problem areas.

If you’ve been exposed to toxic mold like I had been, you may experience headaches on a regular basis, migraines, ear infections, a runny nose, red itching and watery eyes that may mimic allergies, fatigue, shortness of breath, unexplained nose bleeds, a skin rash or sore throat are just a few of the many symptoms that these molds can cause in people. However, you should keep in mind that the symptoms will vary and you should see your doctor to verify whether or not your symptoms are caused by black mold or something else. 

The symptoms I experienced were migraines that surfaced at least three times a week, allergies and chest congestion that just wouldn‘t go away no matter what medication I tried, and fatigue that I experienced on an almost daily basis. I also realized that when I was away from my home for a long period of time, my symptoms went away, which is almost always another sign that you have been exposed to toxic mold.

Getting Rid of the Black Mold

If you are fairly certain that you have a toxic fungus growing in your home you must take immediate action to remove it.  So many people don’t believe just how serious these molds can be.  They put the task of removing the toxic mold on their to-do list and almost always find some sort of excuse to leave it for another day because it’s another chore they don’t really want to do.  But if you don’t eliminate these deadly house molds, your exposure to them can become deadly itself, especially if you have little ones, pets, and elderly living in your home.

If you even suspect there is a problem with toxic mold growing in your home you should first have the air tested to find out just how serious it is.  However, keep in mind that depending on the company you hire, the testing can get quite expensive. But it is well worth it when it comes to your health.

Once you know for certain whether not you have a problem with black mold, your next step is cleaning up. And depending on whether or not you have a small amount of growth or a large amount (which is anything 10 square feet or more), will depend on whether you should hire a professional or you can do it yourself.

If it is a job you can do on your own, you will need to invest in some protective gear such as a respirator, eyewear, and rubber gloves. You will also need to purchase a commercial cleaner that is designed to kill black mold. Keep in mind that not all commercial mold cleaners are the same.  Also, no matter what you read or hear, bleach is not a good alternative to killing mold because it cannot penetrate below the surface with the spores of the fungus can hide.

In some cases, you may need to remove and replace materials that have been exposed to the toxic spores.  Drywall is a good example of this. Before you began the cleanup process, you should block off any areas that can be exposed to the spores since they can become airborne when they are disturbed. You should also repair any leaks that may be the source for the moldy growth. Then you can begin cleanup. 

Always follow the manufacturer’s directions on the mold removal product label.  It may also be helpful to wash the affected area with soap and water before applying the product. Once you’ve applied the mold cleaner, allow it to dry for the time indicated and repeat the manufacturer’s directions if necessary. After the mold removal is completed, you’ll want to be sure the area is kept dry to prevent a future problem with mold.

 

Mold Allergies and How to Remove Mold from Your Home

[ 0 ] December 5, 2011

Mold Allergies

If your family has allergies like mine does all year round, you could be allergic to mold spores. And unfortunately molds are everywhere, so you’ll need to take the necessary steps to get rid of mold in your home in order to minimize your family’s allergies. The first thing you should do however is identify whether you are dealing with an allergy caused by mold or if it’s something else.

Is It An Allergy Caused By Mold?

Mold, also known as fungus, generally causes an allergic reaction when the spores of it are inhaled. Most of us who are allergic to mold often experience allergy symptoms during the summer months. However, if your home has a serious mold problem allergies can occur year round.

There are literally thousands of different types of mold growing around us but, there are basically 12 types that can cause allergies. They are, Alternaria, Aspergillus, Aureobasidium, Cladosporium, Epicoccum, Fusarium, Helmin thosporium, Penicillium, Mucor, and Rhizopus.

Most people who are allergic to mold are also allergic to other substances like animal dander and pollen. However, there are also people who are only allergic to specific types of mold. And those who experience allergies often have a family history of them. However, you can also be at risk if you’ve been exposed to mold whether at your work or at home.

Those who are allergic to the fungi may experience symptoms such as dry skin, congestion, itching, nasal discharge, sneezing and watery eyes. Everyone’s allergy symptoms will vary and they may range from mild to severe. Allergy symptoms may only flare up during certain times of the year or they may be present year-round.

When allergies are severe they may also cause asthma. And in some cases mold may cause a severe asthma attack. But they can also cause a serious illness known as allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis. When an allergy such as this or a severe asthma attack happens, a doctor should be seen immediately.

Treating a Mold Allergy

The allergy symptoms can easily be treated as long as they are not severe. In general allergy sufferers should avoid contact with the mold spores. Always wear some form of protection such as a dust mask and goggles if you must be near mold. For most allergy sufferers a simple decongestant or antihistamine can relieve many of the symptoms. For our household, we use a nasal spray and sometimes an over the counter allergy medication when our symptoms flare up. However, for some allergy sufferers this simply isn’t enough.

Removing Mold from Your Home

In order to reduce the allergy symptoms, you need to remove the mold that is causing the problem in your home. If you live in a home that has excess amounts of moisture or you live in an area where the humidity is high you most likely have mold growing somewhere in your home. And just because you cannot see it doesn’t mean it’s not there. This type of fungi can grow almost anywhere including in the attic, behind walls, wallpaper and even under your carpet.

To reduce a mold outbreak, look for sources where growth may occur. Check for leaky faucets, pipes, and other moisture prone areas, and repair them. Remove mold growth from drywall, carpet, crawl space areas, attics and other areas were molds may be a problem. Remove carpet for moisture problem areas such as your bathroom and kitchen. Consider paint in your bathroom and kitchen wall rather than applying wallpaper.

Install exhaust fans whenever possible or open windows when you plan to do a lot of cooking and when showering. Consider investing in dehumidifiers to minimize moisture in the air. A dehumidifier is especially helpful in basements.

Install HEPA filter attachments in central air units and air conditioners. HEPA filters can help trap spores from the mold and prevent them from entering your home. Also, be sure and change the filters on your furnace and air conditioners on a regular basis.

Keep the shower and bathtub clean on a weekly basis with a mold and mildew cleaner. Avoid using bleach since it doesn’t penetrate below the surface of the problem and the chemicals can irritate your lungs.

Clean garbage cans often to prevent moisture and food particles from building up and giving mold a place to grow. Use a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter to clean up as much dust as possible from your carpets.

And finally, don’t forget to reduce outdoor problem areas by removing mold from the outside of your home as well. Keep leaves and any dead vegetation away from the foundation of your home and out of the gutters. And try to keep shading to a minimum since it can lead to moisture problems that can turn the perfect breeding grounds for mold and keep your allergies flared up year-round.