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Black Mold: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Elimination Tips

What Does Black Mold Mean?

You may have heard about ‘Black Mold’, but do not know much about it. In general actually a fungus and refers to various mold species with black or dark green appearance. ‘Stachybotrys chartarum’ is one such type found. Disease Control & Prevention Center states that the mold’s color does not relate it to being quite dangerous. Moreover, no evidence is present to show that this mold type has caused severe health issues.

How Does Black Mold Grow?

Molds require warm, moist environments to grow like showers, baths, basements, kitchens, toilets, etc. They also can be found growing on paper, dirt and wood. Indoor humidifiers and humid climates also encourage mold growth.

Irrespective of color, it is necessary to eliminate all types of molds from homes and buildings once you notice it.

Is Black Mold Dangerous?

Molds may cause several types of allergies. On getting exposed to black mold, you may experience cough or stuffy nose. People already suffering from weakened immune systems, mold allergies and asthma are likely to experience stronger reactions.

Common Misconceptions of Black Mold

There are several myths surrounding black mold. Addressing them will enable you to know the truth.

  • Releases toxic compounds: A common rumor is that toxic compounds are released by this type of mold referred to as ‘mycotoxins’. The latter causes health issues such as infant pulmonary hemorrhage, headaches and memory loss. However, a review stated that no evidence is found concerning health issues occur due to black mold exposure. Different types of molds can be found to produce mycotoxins. This compound is dangerous for humans only if it is consumed in large quantities. But no evidence is present to prove that disease results from mycotoxins present in air.

What Symptoms Would You Experience If You Were Exposed To Black Mold?

Exposure to mold might affect people, but in different manners. Some people might not show any symptoms even after coming into contact with it. If sensitive to mold, you might a few given below symptoms that are quite commonly faced. Experiencing true mold allergy may cause these symptoms like the following:

  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Skin rash
  • Itchy or red eyes
  • Nose stuffiness

People already suffering from asthma problems may experience asthma attack if exposed to specific type of molds. Again, those having chronic respiratory disease may find trouble in breathing properly. There are higher fungal infection risks faced by those suffering from weakened immune system. It also includes lung infections. Children are mostly affected by mold exposure. Asthma in children is mostly triggered by mold in high levels found in mattresses and homes.

How to diagnose mold exposure and allergies?

Unfortunately, no proven tests are present that will enable to know where or when you got exposed to mold. The medical practitioner can diagnose for mold allergies. He/she will review the symptoms aced and suggest any of the test given below:

  • Skin prick test: The doctor will first take mold in small amount and then using a tiny needle will apply the same on your skin. You are considered to be allergic to it if your skin develops hives, rash or bumps.
  • Blood test: The doctor will ask you to visit the lab to test your blood sample to measure quantity of certain antibodies present. This number will indicate clearly sensitivities of your immune system towards diverse mold species.

What Should You Do If You Are Exposed To Black Mold?

To treat the symptoms, the doctor will specify the following:

  • OTC medications: Immune system response can be reduce significantly on taking Antihistamines like Claritin (loratadine) or Zyrtec (cetirizine). It also minimizes inflammation developing in the airway region. Allergic reaction induced swelling can be reduced by taking decongestants such as Sudafed (pseudoephedrine).
  • Nasal Rinses or Sprays: You will be prescribed to take OTC nasal corticosteroids like Flonase (fluticasone). It helps reduce mold allergy induced airway inflammation. Rinsing the nasal passages with saline and warm, distilled water solution can help remove congestion and eliminate mold spores.
  • Allergy Shots: Regular shots of allergens in small amounts are prescribed to make your immune system to get adjusted to it with time.
  • Oral Medication: Singulair (Montelukast) is prescribed to reduce mucus developing in the airways. This helps reduce asthma and mold allergy symptoms.

Staying away from mold as much as possible will help prevent triggering allergy or asthma condition. Although it is not possible to completely avoid it, the developing symptoms can be managed with proper and immediate treatment.

How Do You Check If You Have Black Mold?

Industry professionals can easily locate mold growth in your home and remove it. This is important if you or any if your family member suffers is vulnerable to allergic to it. Mold can become dangerous if it covers 10 sq. ft. It may be hidden behind ceiling tiles, wallpaper and other areas that the professionals can identify effortlessly.

How Do I Eliminate Black Mold?

Given below are a few steps to locate and remove black mold.

The First Step To Removing Black Mold Is Locating The Source

  • Musty smell: It emits a musty smell, thus making it easier to locate its growth.
  • Clusters, dark spots or appearance: Identify clustered growth or spots, in moist, warm rooms.
  • Potential causes: Identify mold growth causes such as water damage, leak, lack of ventilation, wood, papers or old food.
  • Asthma or allergies: There can be mold present in your home if you experience allergic symptoms or asthma attacks.

Black Mold Removal & Remediation

It is essential to throw away things that might contribute to mold development or is already affected by it.

  • Room ventilation: Improve ventilation in all rooms by keeping open all windows and doors possible.
  • Protective gear: If clearing moldy area on your own, do remember to wear gloves, mask, rubber boots and goggles. If there is excess cleaning to be done, then wear mold resistant suit or disposable clothing.
  • Address water related issues: Fix all leaking appliances and water pipes to ensure the surrounding area is dry.
  • Sort, discard: Take out all mold untouched objects and keep it in another place. Then eliminate all mold infected items, scrub, clean and disinfect the place thoroughly.

Therefore, getting to know about black mold can help to get rid of it and stay safe.

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