Molds can be everywhere and can cause various harmful effects to people exposed to them. Molds happen to grow on humid areas of the environment with some moisture and one of their favourite places to thrive is in our homes.
Household molds can take different forms, but the most abundant of them is the toxic black mold. People should not be misled that very clean houses don’t harbour molds because mold can grow anywhere especially in the basement and attics and can emit harmful spores all over the house. Molds especially release mycotoxins that when inhaled or goes inside the body, can cause various health effects such as:
• Respiratory illnesses
Once the molds are inhaled, it can lodge in the respiratory tract causing localized irritation in the airways. It can cause respiratory symptoms such as congestion, mucus secretion, sore throat, flu-like symptoms, wheezing and even asthma-like symptoms.
The molds are considered foreign body, which when they lodge in the respiratory tract, will activate the inflammatory response in the area leading to respiratory symptoms. Other more dangerous household molds such as aspergillus can even create a ‘fungal mass’ in the lungs that can be carcinogenic in nature leading to lung cancer.
People who are constantly exposed to molds can eventually develop allergic pneumonitis leading to possible lung cancer in the future.
• Integumentary effects
Household molds may also affect the skin leading to fungal infections, rashes, itchiness, redness and scaly skin. Molds are considered fungi so integumentary affectation may resemble those of other fungal infections caused by tinea species.
• Neurologic effects
Toxic molds can also affect the nervous system leading to neurologic symptoms such as headaches, depression, fatigue, dizziness, mood swings and dementia. The mold spores are small enough to travel through the blood and reach the nervous system. Most people suffering from neurologic symptoms may feel relief during vacation and outdoor activities because of the absence of household molds.
• Gastrointestinal disturbances
Household molds can also affect the gastrointestinal system leading to vomiting, diarrhea, bloating and abdominal pain. Aside from being inhaled, mold spores can also be ingested when they are detached from the home surfaces and attach to food. Since molds are not a normal flora in the gastrointestinal tract, it causes disturbances leading to gastrointestinal symptoms.
• Urinary problems
Household molds may also enter the urinary tract causing difficulty in urinating, balder and kidney pains. Molds can attach to clothes inside closets and when used, they can enter the urinary meatus.
Aside from these health effects, household molds can also cause physical damage to furniture in the house. Molds, especially black molds, feed on whatever surface they are attached to causing erosion of the surface. Molds especially destroy leathers and wood.
Most effects of household molds are cumulative, which means that they become more serious overtime. If you suspect that household molds thrive in your home, it is best to seek help from professional mold busters to remove the unwanted molds in your home. If you are not skilled at removing the molds, better seek experts’ help because dusting or manually removing them on your own may just scatter the molds more and cause more serious health effects.