As the nights get longer and the days colder, it’s important to be thinking of your home’s indoor air quality, since you’ll be spending that much more time indoors. One of the things many homeowners don’t realize is that mold often grows better during the winter months, making mold health effects a concern. Knowing what to look for and recognizing mold, as well as treating it promptly are key to protecting you and your family’s health.
So what is mold and what are mold health effects? Mold is a natural fungus that’s a necessary part of the environment and is a key player in some of the foods we eat. But the kind of mold that grows in your home isn’t delicious – it’s actually causing damage and could have severe effects on your health.
Mold is the common name for many different kinds of fungi, which can be almost any colour and may look like a stain on a smudge. In order to grow, mold needs three things: food, water, and humidity.
- Food: Mold loves to eat organic household materials, like drywall, wood, paper products, and textiles, to name a few.
- Water: Within 48 hours of exposure to moisture, mold spores can begin to grow. Moisture is the key element for mold growth – where there is no moisture, there will be no mold growth
- Humidity: The right temperature and enough moisture in the air will encourage mold to grow.
While some people are extra sensitive to mold growth, most will notice when they’re in a room with mold growing – a recognizable musty smell is often present. This smell is in part caused by mold spores, which are usually what causes mold health effects. These spores are how mold reproduces – it sends these small particles into the air, where they float to other rooms or hitch rides on your clothes or pet, and settle in a new location.
Mold health effects can be wide ranging, but there are generally a few common symptoms:
- Nasal congestion
- Eye irritation or itchiness
- Coughing or wheezing
- Allergic reactions like hives
While these effects are relatively minor, those with compromised immune systems or chronic health problems can be seriously effected by mold growing in your home. Recent studies have linked mold health effects to the development of asthma in some children, and it can cause asthma-like symptoms in adults.
Mold needs to be removed promptly and professionally as soon as it is discovered to ensure that you won’t suffer from any mold health effects. If you suspect there may be mold growth or another biological factor affecting your indoor air quality or health, contacting a specialist like SafeAir can help pinpoint any problems and come up with a plan to successfully remove it from your home. The key to removing mold is always prevention – locating the source of any moisture or humidity leaks and sealing cracks, gaps, or drips will ensure that once cleaned, your mold growth will never return.
If you suspect mold could be growing in your home, contact us at SafeAir to book an indoor air quality assessment!