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Health Effects of Mold

Mold causes allergies in humans and pets. The symptoms of mold exposure can be mild with symptoms such as a runny nose, eyes and a sore throat. In sensitive individuals more severe allergic reactions to mold can occur. This often causes asthma attacks or skin diseases. Sometimes with toxic mold neurological conditions can occur from the mold mycotoxins.  If your feeling ill and have had water damage  or notice a musty smell at your property, it is advisable to get a mold inspection and mold air testing.

Hidden mold can be determined during the mold testing phase by Knight’s microbiologists. If the mold is determined to be hazardous typically all exposed have symptoms and medical attention may be needed. It is important to realize that not all mold inspections find hazardous mold. Sometimes we find surface mold and no major remediation is needed. If a large mold infestation is located we advise our clients not to panic and we will offer you workable solutions. We advise our clients to use our certified scientists which are also microbiologists. Our mold inspection teams are highly trained for your property inspections. This makes Knight Environmental shine brightly from our competitors (see more below).

Mold Allergy     Toxic MoldScreen Shot 2015-11-02 at 8.08.52 PM

Human Immune Response to Mold:

Like any allergy, mold allergy symptoms are triggered by an overly sensitive immune system response. When humans inhale tiny, airborne mold spores, the body recognizes them as foreign invaders and releases allergy-causing antibodies to fight them.

After the exposure has passed, you still produce antibodies that “remember” this invader, so that any later contact with the mold causes your immune system to react. This reaction triggers the release of substances such as histamine, which causes itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing and other mold allergy symptoms.

Molds are very common both in the indoor and outdoor environments. There are many mold types, but only certain kinds of mold cause allergies. Being allergic to one type of mold doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be allergic to another. Some of the most common molds that cause allergies include Alternaria, Aspergillus, Cladosporium and Penicillium and Stachybotrys.

When it’s not an allergy

Although a mold allergy is the most common problem caused by exposure to mold, mold can cause illness without an allergic reaction. Mold can also cause infections or irritant and toxic reactions. Infections caused by mold can lead to a variety of problems from flu-like symptoms to skin infections and even pneumonia.

An irritant reaction is caused when substances from molds called volatile organic compounds (VOC) irritate the mucous membranes in the body. Symptoms of an VOC irritant reaction are similar to an allergy and include eye irritation, runny nose, cough, hoarseness, headache and skin irritation.

Mold Risk Factors:

A number of factors can make you more likely to develop a mold allergy, or worsen your existing mold allergy symptoms, including:

  • Having a family history of allergies. If allergies and asthma run in your family, you’re more likely to develop a mold allergy.
  • Working in an occupation that exposes you to mold. Occupations where mold exposure may be high include farming, dairy work, logging, baking, millwork, carpentry, greenhouse work, winemaking and furniture repair.
  • Living in a house with high humidity. If your indoor humidity is higher than 60 percent, you may have increased exposure to mold in your home. Mold can grow virtually anywhere if the conditions are right — in basements, behind walls in framing, on soap-coated grout and other damp surfaces, in carpet pads, and in the carpet itself. Exposure to high levels of household mold may trigger mold allergy symptoms.
  • Working or living in a building that’s been exposed to excess moisture. Examples include leaky pipes, water seepage during rainstorms and flood damage. At some point, nearly every building has some kind of excessive moisture. This moisture can allow mold to flourish.
  • Living in a house with poor ventilation. Tight window and door seals may trap moisture indoors and prevent proper ventilation, creating ideal conditions for mold growth. Damp areas, such as bathrooms, kitchens and basements, are most vulnerable.


 Health Complications:

Most allergic responses to mold involve hay fever-type symptoms that can make you miserable, but aren’t serious. However, certain allergic conditions caused by mold are more severe for toxic black mold severe (Stachybotrys). These include:

  •  In people allergic to mold, breathing Mold-induced asthma  spores can trigger an asthma flare-up. If you have a mold allergy and asthma, be sure you have an emergency plan in place in case of a severe asthma attack.
  • Allergic fungal sinusitis. This results from an inflammatory reaction to fungus in the sinuses.
  • Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis. This reaction to fungus in the lungs can occur in people with asthma or cystic fibrosis.
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis. This rare condition occurs when exposure to airborne particles such as mold spores cause the lungs to become inflamed. It may be triggered by exposure to allergy-causing dust at work.

Other health problems caused by mold:

Besides allergens, black mold may pose other health risks to susceptible people. For example, mold may cause infections of the skin or mucus membranes. Generally, however, mold doesn’t cause systemic infections except for people with impaired immune systems, diabetes, such as those who have HIV/AIDS or who are taking immunosuppressant medication.

Exposure to mold may also irritate eyes, skin, nose and throat in some people. Other possible mold reactions are the subject of ongoing research.

*Text courtesy of the Mayo Clinic 2015* – Reference 2014

Helpful websites:

Mold Allergy Treatments

Mayo Clinic Mold Advice

Initial Treatment for Mold Allergies before an inspection

Mold Symptoms

Mold Allergy Treatment