Understanding Mold: Everything You Need to Know
Do you know what to do when you find mold in your house?
Are you aware of what causes mold and the hazards it presents?
Are you afraid that you may have been exposed to mold and not even know it?
Mold is virtually everywhere! It can be found inside or outside your property. Do you know how to identify the mold that may be in your home? At Guzi-West, we specialize in mold testing and can help you properly diagnose whether you have issues that need to be addressed.
Species of Mold
There are a few hundred thousand types of mold in existence. We can’t list nearly that many, but here are the top four most common species:
1) Aspergillus/Penicillium – blue/yellow/green, fuzzy appearance with musty smell (common cause of allergies) that’s often found on decaying fabric, wallpaper, and carpets with water damage
2) Alternaria – black, velvet/fuzzy appearance that’s often found in damp areas such as under sinks or after water damage and flooding
3) Cladosporium – olive-green, brown, or black appearance (common cause of a fever or asthma symptoms) that’s often found mostly outdoors on porous surfaces like wood and textile, but also found indoors
4) Stachybotrys – greenish-black, gelatinous wet, dry, or powdery appearance with distinctive musty odor that is extremely harmful to humans (also known as “toxic black mold”)
These are just five out of thousands of different mold types—but they are types you’ll most likely encounter in your everyday life. Each type will fall under one of these three categories:
1) Allergenic – causes allergies & allergic reactions
2) Pathogenic – causes health problems for those already suffering from illness
3) Toxigenic – also known as “toxic mold,” these varieties can lead to dangerous or even deadly health conditions
If you discover mold on your property, we recommend that you find a professional who is experienced in mold testing to help you determine the dangers and the next steps you may need to take.
Hazards & Health Effects of Mold
When you’re exposed to mold, it’s important that you’re careful. There are a variety of health effects and hazards you could be exposed to. The severity greatly depends on the type, which is why it’s very important to have professional mold testing before you attempt any remediation. Also, everyone will react differently depending on the person and the class of mold. Here’s a list of health effects that could follow mold exposure:
- Mold-related infections
- Respiratory conditions
- Developed mold sensitivity, causing:
- Sore throat, headaches, skin irritation, watering/dry/sore eyes, coughing/sneezing/wheezing, chest and nasal congestion
- Severe and chronic conditions
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, there’s a chance that you’ve been exposed to mold. It’s important to call a doctor about the health effects and to call a mold testing company to find the cause.
Causes and Avoidance of Mold
It is wise to avoid mold, but you can’t always do so. There are steps you can take to lower your chances of exposure. First, learn what causes mold and where you can find it. Mold must have moisture to grow and proliferate. Eliminating sources of moisture (leaks – former or current, poor ventilation, lack of insulation causing condensation, etc.) is nearly always the first step in preventing mold growth and/or remediating existing mold growth.
If mold still appears, contact a professional who can perform a mold testing to help evaluate whether you have mold growth and associated air quality issues; and, see a doctor if you believe you may be experiencing health effects from mold exposure. Guzi-West has over 30 years of experience in mold testing.
To learn more, give us a call!