The Hidden Dangers of Mold: Effects on Health and Wellness

Allergies in your home

The Hidden Dangers of Mold: Effects on Health and Wellness

Over the past few years, we have seen a substantial increase in referrals for Home Mold Assessments from Naturopathic Doctors; we can only assume this is due to an increase in elevated levels of mold in patients’ test results. It’s no coincidence that, as home inspectors, we have also found an increase in mold and conditions conducive to mold growth in homes and buildings across Connecticut. We have elevated humidity and plenty of rain in Connecticut. Additionally, we have a high percentage of antique homes and older commercial spaces with moisture penetration issues. Without proper management and maintenance, these conditions can lead to mold growth.

Mold, a common household problem, is often underestimated and overlooked. It can be found in damp areas, such as bathrooms, basements, and kitchens, where moisture accumulates. While many people associate mold with unsightly stains and musty odors, few realize the potential health risks it poses due to continually breathing in mold spores. Mold exposure can have significant health effects and may be the root cause of many people’s symptoms; therefore, it is important to address mold problems promptly.

Respiratory Issues
Mold spores are easily airborne and can be inhaled, leading to respiratory problems. Individuals exposed to mold may experience coughing, wheezing, nasal congestion, throat irritation, and frequent sneezing. For individuals with asthma or allergies, mold exposure can trigger severe asthma attacks or worsen existing respiratory conditions.

Allergic Reactions
Mold is a common allergen that can cause allergic reactions in susceptible individuals. These reactions may manifest as itchy, watery eyes, skin rashes, hives, and persistent itching. Individuals with compromised immune systems, such as the elderly or those with autoimmune and other diseases, are particularly vulnerable to severe allergic responses.

Sinus Infections
Prolonged mold exposure can lead to chronic sinusitis, a condition characterized by persistent inflammation and infection of the sinuses. Symptoms include facial pain, pressure, headaches, nasal congestion, and a reduced sense of smell. Chronic sinusitis can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life if left untreated.

Respiratory Infections
Certain types of mold, such as Stachybotrys, produce mycotoxins that can suppress the immune system and increase the risk of respiratory infections. These infections can range from mild respiratory discomfort to severe, life-threatening conditions, especially in individuals with weakened immune systems or pre-existing respiratory issues.

Asthma Development

Exposure to mold during infancy or childhood has been linked to the development of asthma later in life. The presence of mold in early childhood can trigger inflammatory responses in the airways, leading to the onset of asthma or exacerbating existing asthma symptoms.

Neurological Symptoms
Recent research suggests a potential link between mold exposure and neurological symptoms. Prolonged exposure to certain molds, such as Stachybotrys, has been associated with cognitive impairment, memory problems, mood disorders, and difficulty concentrating. However, more studies are needed to fully understand the relationship between mold and neurological health.

Toxic Mold Syndrome
In rare cases, individuals exposed to high levels of toxic molds may develop a condition known as Toxic Mold Syndrome. Symptoms include chronic fatigue, headaches, dizziness, nausea, difficulty concentrating, and memory loss. Some experts believe that certain molds release mycotoxins that can cause these systemic effects.

What can we do about Mold?
Mold is more than just an aesthetic nuisance; it can significantly impact a person’s health. Proper ventilation, moisture, and humidity control, and regular inspections can help prevent mold growth. If you suspect mold growth in your home or office, a good starting point is a Mold Assessment to find the source of the moisture and the extent of the problem.

Our Mold Assessment includes a top-to-bottom evaluation of mold-conducive conditions throughout the building using both visual inspection and Infrared Technology (IR).  IR detects thermal anomalies on surfaces that may signal water intrusion or other moisture-related conditions that could lead to mold growth. The visual and infrared assessment will allow our Mold Specialist to determine the most accurate and effective sampling areas, the source of the moisture, and why mold has become a problem, and provide remediation recommendations.

By taking mold seriously and implementing preventive measures, we can all safeguard our health from the hidden dangers of mold. Look for our future newsletters for more information on our Mold Assessment Service, and how Tiger can assist in creating a healthy living environment.