When buying or renting a new house or an apartment, people usually ask about possible black mold problems in it. Many houses have this problem, which is not only an issue of esthetics, but also a health concern.
About toxic black mold
Molds are basically fungi, and there are many different species of them. Black mold or S. chartarum is one of the most infamous ones. It affects indoor air quality and can damage the human health.
Like most fungi, black mold prefers dark, wet and warm environment. It can be found in houses that are not properly ventilated or are damaged by water. It grows in walls and floors, carpets, tiles, in bathrooms, especially in the shower, under the kitchen sink and in similar places.
Because of its appearance, black mold is often mistaken for dirt. However, it is important to know the difference, because black mold can cause allergic reactions in people living in a house infested with it.
The problem with mold is that it releases spores. Spores are a potential allergen and can cause symptoms similar to common cold or flu. Some of the signs of exposure to black mold may include runny or congested nose, scratchy throat, coughing, sneezing, fatigue, headache, even blood in lungs.
The symptoms may be mild in healthy people, especially in short-term exposure. However, in people with compromised immune system the symptoms can become quite aggravating. Headaches associated with black mold are usually intense and persistent, lasting sometimes for several days. People usually have no idea why they feel sick and sometimes even doctors cannot find out what the problem is.
Reducing the symptoms of black mold exposure
The first step in relieving the symptoms of black mold exposure is to determine the presence of it in the house. This can be done in a thorough examination of all the rooms in the house, especially those that are not used often, and checking for dark brown or black stains that look much like dirt. There are also specialized contractors and experts that visit homes and inspect them for mold.
In case the black mold is found in the house, it should be removed. However, it is not always possible to remove all of it, especially because the spores are microscopic and can fly all around the house.
One of the best ways to relieve the symptoms of black mold exposure is to go out and get some fresh air. The oxygen will instantly make the lungs feel better and it will help with headaches too.
In addition, ventilating the house and letting as much fresh air in as possible, and as often as possible, is one way to make the house a less favorable environment for the mold.