Surviving Mold

Can mold make me sick? What makes a person more susceptible to becoming sick from mold?

Yes, mold can make you sick and will pose health risks especially to people who are at high risk for sickness and allergic reactions. This includes infants and children, the elderly, people with respiratory infections and asthma and people with weakened immune systems due to other medical conditions. Other factors include a genetic predisposition to allergies, people working in an occupation that consistently exposes them to mold, people living in a house with a wet basement or high humidity and people living in newer houses.

What should I do if I think I am sick from mold exposure?

Go to your primary care physician who will determine whether you need to see a specialist for the problem. The specialists your PCP may refer you to include allergists or infectious disease physicians.

What are some of the misconceptions about mold?

One misconception about mold is that it can be removed with high heat, dry air and sunlight. Although these solutions may make sense considering they are the opposites of what actually causes mold, they are not powerful enough to completely get rid of the mold. The proper sure-free way to clean up mold is to use strong detergents. Mold remediation should be done by professionals using proper equipment and safety measures.

How are people exposed to mold?

People are usually exposed to mold by breathing in spores or other tiny fragments of it. Exposure can also occur through skin contact or by swallowing it.

How can I keep my property mold free?

There are several steps you can take to ensure that your property stays mold free. First, you must make sure there are no water problems. Open windows and doors for good air flow and, if needed, use a fan in kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms. Attics and crawl spaces should be properly insulated and ventilated. Another key step is to vacuum your property regularly to remove mold spores. Finally, check windows for condensation and wipe away any water droplets you find.

What health problems can be traced to mold?

Mold can cause the following health problems:

•Allergies and asthma attacks Infections

•Irritations of mucous membranes in eyes and respiratory system

•Decreased attention, disorientation and dizziness

•Suppression of immune system

•Higher susceptibility to cancer

•Headaches, tremors and nausea infertility

Does bleach kill mold?
Contrary to what you have probably heard, bleach cannot kill mold. It can be used to remove mold, but it will only work successfully on hard surfaces. Bleach not only fails to kill mold, but can actually enable it to grow faster as it is primarily composed of water.

What is mold useful for?

Although everything so far has focused on the negative side of mold, there are actually uses for it. Here are some ways that mold is important to the environment:

•The mold penicillium is used to make the antibiotic penicillin.

•Other types of mold are used to make cholesterol lowering medications.

•Mold is used to make foods such as cheese, sausages and soy sauce.

•Some compounds and enzymes are formed by mold such as citric acid, gluconic acid and riboflavin.

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