Can mold cause health problems in humans and animals?

The most common types of fungi in homes are Aspergillus, Cladosporium and Stachybotrys (black mold). All of this can cause allergic reactions and health problems in humans and pets. If left untreated, mold can cause serious health problems. Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores can cause a person to become allergic to mold.

Mold can cause asthma symptoms, such as shortness of breath, wheezing, or coughing in people with known allergies. People who don't have allergies can also get irritated. Studies indicate that exposure to mold in the workplace can worsen pre-existing asthma. NIOSH investigates associations between damp buildings and the development of new cases of asthma.

Mold is an unscientific term for many types of unwanted fungi found both indoors and outdoors. Actively growing mold damages the material in which it lives and, therefore, impairs structural integrity. In addition, mold is associated with some adverse health effects for human beings, such as allergies and infections. Indoor mold can be unsightly and smelly, but the potential problems are more serious than that.

By definition, actively growing mold damages the material in which it lives and, therefore, impairs structural integrity. In fact, some health effects attributed to mold can be caused by bacteria, dust mites, etc. It has been stated that so-called toxic mold is the cause of toxic mold disease; this syndrome remains undefined and toxic mold as a cause has not yet been demonstrated. Nor has toxic mold been shown to be the cause of the various symptoms associated with sick building syndrome.

Homeowners can clean up small amounts of mold. Eliminating mold from large areas requires experience and protection for both removers and occupants of the affected space. Molds aren't usually a problem indoors, unless mold spores land in a wet or humid place and begin to grow. Molds have the potential to cause health problems.

Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants and, in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins). Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores can cause allergic reactions in sensitive people. Allergic responses include symptoms similar to those of hay fever, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rashes (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to mold are common.

They can be immediate or delayed. Mold can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, exposure to mold can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of people who are allergic and non-allergic to mold. Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types usually do not occur as a result of inhaling mold.

Research on mold and its health effects is ongoing. This brochure provides a brief overview; it does not describe all the possible health effects related to exposure to mold. For more detailed information, consult a health professional. You can also check with your state or local health department.

Mold is often associated with allergies in pets, but as we said, mold can be much more dangerous than allergies. This has been the subject of litigation when insurance companies have denied coverage to remove mold and repair damaged structures. If mold is clearly present, as determined by a visual inspection or an accredited inspector, it must be eliminated, as it can destroy the materials in which it grows and is associated with human health problems. Unfortunately, the symptoms of mold exposure can resemble symptoms of other health conditions, sometimes making it difficult to diagnose mold exposure.

So, whether the exact cause is mold or an accompanying indoor pollutant, spending time in places that are humid enough to encourage mold growth is a possible cause of health problems. This process begins with determining the sources of excess moisture, taking the necessary measures to eliminate them, eliminate mold that is already present and keeping the area dry afterwards to minimize the possibility of mold growth. In addition to visible or hidden mold, humid spaces are likely to contain products that decay it, dust mites, bacteria and chemicals, gases and particles released by the materials on which the mold grows. In humans, mold is also more commonly associated with allergies, but mold is much more threatening than people think.

While all molds have the potential to cause irritation and allergy symptoms, some molds can also cause much more dangerous health problems. Before considering that mold is the probable cause of respiratory symptoms and infections, patients should be evaluated for the possible presence of a pre-existing disease or the recent onset of a disease that coincides with exposure to mold. If the mold area covers more than 10 square feet, it's very likely that the mold problem is more than just an isolated problem. .

Cassie Ulery
Cassie Ulery

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