Thursday, October 18, 2018

Black Mold: Symptoms, Test, Removal & Health Effects

What is Black Mold?

Black mold is one of many types of fungi that reproduce by forming spores that travel in the air and grow in filaments. There are also another kind of mold like Yellow Mold, Orange Mold, etc. They grow both indoors and outdoors and on all humid environments,which they can find. They can also grow in any season as long as the surface is damp and warm.

Black mold (Stachybotrys Chartarum) is one of the most toxic household molds found in homes around the world. The plant produces mycotoxins, which are capable of causing health hazards to inhabitants of the house.
What does Black Mold look Like?

Photo: wikimedia.ord

If you have spotted dark clusters of growth layer in your bathroom, toilet, kitchen, or basement, you are a likely victim of black mold. Others include mildew, which is white or light greyish in color. This could be reason for your continuous coughing and sneezing when you enter these locations. The dark greenish plant also bears a distinct odor.

Where does Black Mold Usually Grow?

The mold thrives on damp fiber-rich material such as wood, fabric, and dry walls. As soon as mold spores rest on one of these surfaces, the mold grows spreading around the house at high growth rates. With a conducive environment and limited disturbance, the mold can grow within 24 hours around the house growing at one square inch per day. After a week, the mold can cover several square feet.

Black Mold in Shower and Bathroom

Common causes of black mold in bathroom and showers can be avoided. Here are some of the most common conditions you might create in your shower, which provide an opportunity for black mold to germinate and thrive.
Leaking pipes left without repair are the highest causes of black mold germination. The problem is most leaks go undetected because of unrecognizable significance to the water flow in your taps. They may also be hidden from view. They include pipes, roofs, air conditioners, toilets, and washing machines. The only sure indicator that you have a leakage is the presence of mold around the place.

Photo: flickr.com

Black Mold on Ceiling

Although you need your house to be tightly sealed to control the heat, you may be a victim of poor ventilation. If humidity cannot escape from the house, it causes moisture to accumulate on ceilings and walls. This accumulation means the areas will stay wet for a long time giving adequate space for black mold to germinate.

Photo: roofer911.com

Black mold in the Basement

Flooding is the easiest way to harbor black mold. Flooding keeps stagnant water for a long time soaking the walls of the houses. The water soaks deeply into the surfaces and may take weeks to dry out completely. This is more than enough time needed for extensive spread of black mold. It may be the slowest type of fungi to germinate but will eventually be found in thebasement of a flooded area.

Black Mold on walls and Windows

If you do not repair problems such as leaks in time, black mold will surely catch up with you. regrettably, many households fail to conduct adequate maintenance of their heating and cooling systems, ceiling, and windows. Maintenance helps to regulate ventilation and humidity levels. Without maintenance, any wall is vulnerable to black mold.

Black mold on Wood

These Fungi can feed on almost anything containing organic material. It prefers places with high amounts of cellulose. Processed cellulose seems to the most favorite food source for black mold. Paper is however, top on the list of favorite foods. Apart from paper and wood, other relevant sources include cardboards, particleboard, straw, and dry walls.

Black mold on Carpet

Oxygen is the most powerful resources that the fungus requires to sustain growth. This does not mean you will kill the fungus just by depriving it of oxygen. As stated earlier, the fungus is resilient to the extreme conditions. They can therefore, survive in dormancy to outlive you. After millions of years in dormant state, they can resume growth when oxygen is resumed. Carpets may seem clean and dry but can sustain black Mold the slightest dampness and darkness.

Black Mold on Dry Wall

Growth of all molds begins with spread of spores. They move through the air and settle on dry walls, ceilings, and other surfaces. They are not restriction by geographical regions and climates. They are able to survive the harshest climates. You will find molds thriving in extreme conditions. This means you may not be able to stop them from starting to grow in your house.

Photo: newcleanliving.ca

Black mold test: How to know if you have a Black Mold Problem in Your Home

The greenish-black mold is the least common of the indoor molds. It thrives on places with high concentration of cellulose content. The surfaces include wood, fiber-boards, paper, dust, lint, and gypsum. They can also grow on foods and carpets. It relies on specific conditions for growth. Here is how to know if you have a black mold problem in your home.

You need a mold testing kit available on Amazon and local home repair stores. Take samples of the air around the suspected areas. Sending this to a testing facility will provide tests an assessment of the mold present in the air. A black mold test is not expensive as many assume.

Conditions that enhance growth of Black Moldapart from food, oxygen, moisture, and a damp fiber-rich surface are commonly found. For example, a warm place offers the best condition for fast growth although the fungi can survive a wide variety of temperatures. Other optimum conditions include; minimal light, at least 48 hours, and 90% humidity. Black mold requires the longest time, highest humidity, and darkness to germinate.

A Place to Grow

Any place with food resources adequate to nourish the fungi is a good place to grow. They include furniture, clothes, books, carpet, tile, ceiling, walls, among many other damp places. Crawl places and basements offer the most popular places for black mold to thrive.

Moisture Content

Moisture is the most critical element that provides a conducive environment for black mold to thrive. Since Black Mold is the most demanding of the rest of the species, it needs an extra-moisturized condition for a longer time than other types of mold like Pink Mold or Brown Mold .

Moisture may be accessed from rain, leaky pipes, stagnant pools or condensed high-humidity air. Airconditioners, and dryer vents are some of the biggest artificial creators of humidity.

Black Mold Removal: How to Get Rid of Black Mold

Removing these fungi is a time-consuming and involving process. It is among the most stubborn of the molds.
During black mold removal exercises, wear protective gear to protect yourself from the hazards posed by black mold. For example, you need a dust mask, disposable gloves, protective eyewear, and safety clothing.
You first need to identify all the areas of house that are affected with the toxic fungi. You need to seal off these areas to prevent spread of spores through the air to other surfaces in the house.

Use strong disinfectant to clean the affected areas. Remember to eliminate sources of moisture in these areas to avoid the possibility of recurring. For items that are hard to clean such as porous material, dispose them to avoid a fresh bout of spread. Encapsulate parts that cannot be removed.

Failing to follow the procedures during this process may lead to increased growth of the fungi. You do not want to waste your efforts in this process. It istherefore, wise to follow all instructions to block any further spread. It can be frustrating to fight black mold especially during the wet months of the year when you try to keep your house warm.

Black Mold Health Effects

Asthmatic individuals are the most susceptible to complications. The spores are easily inhaled and pose a serious threat as allergens. Babies and the aging population are also vulnerable groups of people. Both groups have weak immune systems putting them at risk of infections.

Chronic sinus infections are also associated with inhaling black mold spores. Studies have found that living in homes with black mold worsens asthma symptoms in asthmatic people and causes development of asthma-like symptoms in those who did not have asthma.

Black Mold Symptoms: What are the symptoms of black mold exposure / poisoning?

The biggest danger of living with black toxic mold is the risk of developing upper respiratory tract symptoms. Mild problems include coughing, sneezing, and runny nose. More complications include wheezing, red itchy eyes, and skin rashes. Extreme problems include shortness of breath and serious allergic reactions. Other complications include persistent headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Difficulty in concentration among children is also associated with presence of black mold in homes.

How is Black Mold Poisoning Diagnosed?

Diagnosis of mold allergy includes extra tests to ascertain whether the patient has other underlying issues that worsen or could worsen the problem. The two main tests include; skin prick test and blood test.
The skin prick test involves exposure to diluted amounts of the suspected allergens. In this case, black mold spores will be applied to your skin—probably on your arm or back with tiny punctures. A raised bump (hive) at the point of the prick indicates an allergic subject.

Blood tests on the other hand, measure the body’s immune system response to black mold. Also called the radioallergosorbent test measures the amount of specific antibodies in the blood stream. The antibodies (immunoglobulin E) determine the level of reaction to the allergens. The blood sample can be tested in a lab for sensitivity to specific types of mold.

Allergists perform physical examinations on allergic reactions. The physical examination involves observing visible reactions on your body. The doctor can identify mold allergy by identifying visible signs and symptoms.

Black Mold Treatment: How is Black Mold Exposure Treated?

Common treatments include; Nasal Corticosteroids, antihistamine, oral decongestants, Montelukast, and nasal sprays.

Other treatments include; immunotherapy and nasal lavage. Immunotherapy involves a series of shots such as hay fever. This solution is meant for specified mold allergies. Not all types of mold allergies are treatable using immunotherapy.

Medication helps to reduce allergic reactions to mold spores. Over-the-counter drugs such as claratyne or zyretec are the most common forms of medication. They come in form of pills or nasal sprays. However, before using these drugs, it is important to first consult a doctor or allergist. Avoid medication without prior diagnosis to determine your condition.

Beware that the medications only lessen the black mold symptoms of the reactions. They do not cure the allergy or reduce your susceptibility to the mold in future.

Shots for allergies are the most effective modes of medication. However, you should not take shots when undergoing other medications. You should also avoid shots if previous medication has not worked. Before you receive the shots, you need to identify the specific allergens affecting you.

You will need to take the shots regularly for several months too. Some people take the shots for years to sustain their resilience to the allergens.

These shots do not cure allergies. They merely increase your tolerance to the allergens and aid to lessen your symptoms. It would be important to remove molds and eliminate the hassle of treating the symptoms

Photo: agelesseyesblog.com

How to Prevent Black Mold

The best way for you to treat black mold allergy would be to avoid exposure to your triggers. In this case, it would be vital to remove the molds from your home. Since molds are common around the globe and found in every climatic condition, we are all vulnerable.

Rinsing your nose daily can help relieve irritating nasal symptoms. Specially-designed squeeze bottles such as bulb syringes or net pots help to irrigate your nasal passages. It is a home remedy that helps relevant your nose from irritants. Ensure that the water used is distilled, sterile, and if possible; boiled and cooled. Clean the tool after each use and filter it with water before leaving it in open air to dry.

Other home remedies include; sleeping with windows closed to keep the mold spores outside and wearing a dust mask when in contact with the allergens. When working on your lawn, wear protective gear and avoid going outdoors where you increase exposure.

Conclusion

Black mold is the most discussed fungi in households, but also another mold like White Mold, Red MoldGreen Mold. Although it is the slowest to germinate, it is the most destructive. Black mold also proves the most difficult to remove. Postponing its removal only makes the problem worse because it grows fast every day. Prevention is therefore better than removing black mold. Avoiding damp places and improving ventilation in your home are the first steps in limiting the growth of black mold.
Apart from health risks, the mold can also destroy your property. For example, as the black mold spreads, it can cause severe structural damage to your ceiling if left for a long time. It is therefore, capable of compromising your overall quality of life.

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