3 Health Risks Caused By Mold in the Home

When doing an inspection before buying a house, there are a myriad of things to look out for, but mold is typically overlooked or seen as insignificant. However, in recent years, it has become apparent that exposure to mold inside the home can actually pose significant health risks and is not a trivial matter. A certain amount of mold inside a house is inevitable, as the airborne fungal spores easily enter via open doors and windows or can be carried in by pets. Once inside the house, the mold only requires moisture, warmth and humidity to thrive and spread.

Although not all types of household molds present a health risk to humans, some can pose serious risks. While you might be able to spot mold visible on the walls or ceiling of a house, you’ll need a professional to identify the mold and find the type you may not be able to see. An inspector will also be able to determine the underlying causes of excessive mold in a house, which can help you to avoid making a purchase you will end up regretting. Apart from being unsightly and smelling bad, the presence of mold in a house can also make you sick if you are not careful. If you are still not convinced about the dangers of mold in a house, take a look at the following three health risks that they pose.

Allergies and Other Reactions

Some people experience allergic reactions to mold, especially after prolonged exposure. It is especially common in people with pre-existing conditions, such as asthma, which can be triggered by inhaling mold spores. People who have damaged airways from previous illness face even greater health risks from mold, as the fungi can actually start to grow within their airway after inhalation. An ongoing allergic reaction can be triggered if this occurs.

The allergic reaction triggered by indoor mold can appear similar to hay fever and may include symptoms such as a skin rash, red eyes, runny nose and sneezing. Also, while the presence of mold won’t cause asthma, it will exacerbate the condition in people who already suffer from this affliction.

Infections

Exposure to mold can also cause infections in humans, which range from superficial to serious. Superficial infections commonly target the feet, groin, nails and other areas and can also cause dry body skin. These infections can be linked directly to some of the organisms that are found growing in indoor mold. People who are immunocompromised stand an even greater risk of infection from indoor molds. This includes anyone that has acute leukemia, is recovering from intense chemotherapy or suffers from the advanced stages of AIDS. Research has found that homes with mold expose the residence to a much higher risk for bronchitis as well as respiratory infections.

Toxicity

Indoor mold that is left unchecked can produce mycotoxins which are dangerous to humans. This does not mean that all indoor mold is hazardous, but given the potential danger, it would be unwise the take any risks. The mold itself is not toxic or poisonous but does hold the potential to produce toxic substances. There is ongoing research into the factors that cause mold to produce mycotoxins, but at this stage the results are still inconclusive. While neurological problems and death due to mycotoxin exposure is quite rare even in houses with severe indoor mold, the danger should not be ignored.

While mold definitely holds health risks, the severity depends on the individuals and it is impossible to predict just how much someone will be affected. There are a lot of variables that play a big role, such as the type of mold, overall health of individuals and whether someone suffers from pre-existing conditions or allergies. Some research has looked at whether indoor molds can cause rare conditions such as memory loss or pulmonary hemorrhaging. While results are still inconclusive, it is certainly not worth taking any risks. By letting a trained expert inspect a house before you make the purchase, you’ll have an accurate picture of what you’re getting into and can ensure that the health of your family is not at risk.

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