Molds are one of the most common problems among households. But of the thousands of mold types, there’s one that’s been plaguing homes for years: black molds. Its dark color is often attributed to its menacing health effects. In this post, I will discuss the symptoms of black mold exposure in adults and what you can do if your family got in contact with this allergen.
Remember that any type of mold can be dangerous to a person’s health. This is why you should act fast the moment you discover the presence of molds in your home.
What are black molds?
Black molds is actually an umbrella term for several mold species bearing a black or dark green color. One of the most common is the Stachybotrys chartarum. But as much as it’s dark, the mold color has nothing to do with how dangerous it can be.
As with any mold type, black molds like warm, moist, and dark environments. At home, this could easily be your basement, bathroom, kitchen, or hidden parts of your room. Molds also thrive on materials that absorb moisture like paper, wood, and even dirt.
Many homeowners have a firm belief that black molds have an adverse effect on a person’s health. This is mainly due to the dark color, but it’s beyond what you see with the naked eye.
Black molds are dangerous because it produces mycotoxins. These toxins are substances fungi, like molds, produce. Mycotoxins are also the culprit behind mold poisoning.
Also, mycotoxins can go airborne. This will make it easy for a person to inhale it. The bigger the mold infestation is, the higher the mycotoxin levels will be.
Symptoms of black mold exposure in adults
Exposure to black molds must be avoided at all times. With or without sensitivities, you can still experience poisoning. The following are the symptoms of black mold exposure in adults:
- Sore throat
- Stuffy and runny nose
- Itchy and red eyes
- Respiratory irritations
Those with asthma and other breathing problems must be extra careful. The mold spores are enough to trigger an attack. If you inhaled the mycotoxins, the effect would be much worse.
The same goes for immunocompromised individuals. They are at a higher risk of developing an infection when exposed to black molds for long periods.
Aside from adults, infants and children are also vulnerable when exposed to black molds. It’s actually a risk factor for asthma among children.
If you suspect that you’re experiencing black mold poisoning, you should seek medical care right away. You’ll undergo a blood test and skin prick test to determine if you have an allergic reaction to black molds. The doctor can also provide prescriptions to ease the symptoms. Ultimately, an allergy shot will help reduce your flaring immune system.
What to do if you got exposed to black molds?
If you’ve been exposed to black molds, you should go to an open area with fresh air. You should also observe yourself for any symptoms indicating poisoning or allergic reactions.
If you start developing irritations, a doctor is always the best person to consult. The physician can provide medications and treatments to ease your condition.
Once you’re feeling well, you should call professional mold remediators to clean your home. This will stop your exposure to high levels of black mold spores. You should also observe proper hygiene and always be proactive when it comes to water damage since it allows molds to grow.
How to prevent black molds from forming
The threat of black mold can be easily prevented with the right approach. Here are some of the preventive steps you can take to fight the dreaded black molds.
1. Remove excess moisture
The very first thing you should do is remove the excess moisture in your home. This means fixing water damage as soon as it occurs. Also, you shouldn’t dismiss condensation on your windows as this, too, will allow molds to grow.
Aside from that, you should dry wet areas immediately. For example, if you spilled a drink on your carpet, dab it with paper towels right away. You can also use baking soda to eliminate the deep-seated moisture out of the fabric.
2. Ventilate your home
Next, you should keep your home ventilated. You can open windows to let the fresh air in and to help dry the excess moisture. Letting sunlight flood your home will also help in naturally killing mold spores and drying out water damage.
However, you have to check if the outdoor air is highly polluted. If so, opening your windows isn’t a viable solution for the mold problem.
3. Use a mold-killing product.
For a guaranteed solution, you can use mold-killing sprays that will exterminate the fungus to its roots. In addition, it will prevent the black molds from growing back and the spores from spreading.
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You should also switch to mold-resistant construction materials like Sheetrock or mold inhibitors that you can mix with the paint. This will give your home an added protection against fungal growth.
4. Clean your carpets
The next thing you should do is clean your carpets. These areas can harbor molds without being noticed. It becomes worse if you have a high-pile carpet that can trap moisture for long.
Vacuuming your carpets regularly is a big help. Still, you should consider professional cleaning once in a while to remove stains, spills, and dirt. You should do the same for rugs and other fabrics you put on your floor.
5. Fix every leak
Leaks are your biggest enemies when it comes to fighting black molds. Moisture allows the fungus to grow, so you should act fast upon discovering a leak. However, you should never underestimate a minor drip because it will still allow moisture to seep through your walls, foundations, and other wooden parts of the house.
If you’re not sure if there are leaks in your home, you can hire a plumber to check your entire plumbing system. This will let the plumber fix problems if there are any.
6. Direct water away from your house
Take note that black mold prevention isn’t just an indoor task. You should also control moisture sources outdoors, especially your downspouts.
Make sure that your drains and downspouts are pointed away from your home’s foundation. This way, the moisture won’t get into your basement and allow black mold to form. You should also fix your landscaping to ensure that water isn’t getting trapped in certain spots.
7. Clean your gutters
Cleaning your gutters will prevent water from getting stuck on your roof. Blocked gutters will cause rainwater to spill over during a downpour, which will drip on your house’s sidings. Over time, such moisture will seep through your walls and start a mold infestation.
To make it simple, you should remove leaves, twigs, and dirt that accumulated on your gutters. You should also repair damages to prevent water from leaking.
8. Use a humidity monitor.
Lastly, put up a humidity monitor in your home. This will let you know if the humidity levels are within a healthy range. By watching over the humidity level, you can prevent your home from being a breeding ground of black molds.
On average, the ideal humidity level for household settings is 30% to 50%. Once it goes beyond 55%, your home becomes an ideal place for mold growth. This is what you need to avoid.
A humidity monitor will keep an eye on the moisture level. This way, you can act fast to fix leaks and remove other sources of dampness.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do you know if mold is making you sick?
A: Stuffy nose, coughing, and sneezing are just the onset of mold allergy. But if you’re already experiencing shortness of breath and skin rashes whenever you’re home, you should call experts to check for molds. You might be exposed to high levels of mold spores, which are already making you sick.
Q: How long does it take for molds to make you sick?
A: Mold spores only take up to 21 days to become visible after water damage. In a matter of months, your home would be plagued with molds. You’ll also start feeling unwell. This is why you should never wait for molds to start making you sick before you take proper action.
Q: What happens if you drink water with black mold?
A: A few sips of black mold-laced water wouldn’t make you sick right away. However, constant ingestion of black molds, especially those producing mycotoxins, can cause serious health problems. You’ll suffer from diarrhea, nausea, cramping, and the risk of dehydration. Those with heightened sensitivity might face life-threatening conditions.
Q: Can a person be tested for mold exposure?
A: There’s no specific test to determine mold exposure on a person. However, experts can test your home’s indoor air quality. You can also undergo a skin prick test to find out if you have allergic reactions to molds. All of these will help determine if you’ve been exposed to molds and suffering from adverse reactions.
Q: Does mold poisoning go away?
A: Mold poisoning can cause Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS). This often occurs to those who have been living in water-damaged buildings. It’s also known as Mold Biotoxin Illness, which will not go away unless you seek proper treatment.
Your job doesn’t stop after knowing the symptoms of black mold exposure in adults. You should also hire professional mold remediators to eliminate the infestation. This is the only way to put a halt to the health threat on your family.
Have you ever dealt with black mold before? How did you handle it? Share your thoughts below!
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