Blog Articles About Asthma


Is Mold Exposure Dangerous to People With Weakened Immune Systems?

Weakened Immune Systems and Mold

MoldandHealth-MoldSolutionsNWThe answer to that question is a resounding “yes”!

Although continuous exposure to mold growth is hazardous to everyone, the level of risk for people with weakened immune systems is definitely higher than for those who are healthier.

By inhaling or simply touching mold or its spores, allergic reaction may be experienced, and for those who suffer with asthma, mold can increase the asthma attacks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those who have weakened immune systems are more likely to get mold infections, which could lead to hospitalization or even death.

Who is at a higher risk of mold infection?

  • People who have cancer.
    • People undergoing chemotherapy.
  • People who have had organ transplants and are on medication that typically weakens the immune system.
    • People who are on antibiotics.
  • People who have aids.
  • People born with weakened immune system issues.

Because mold is a fungus, and reproduces by emitting its tiny spores into the air, another term for mold infection is fungal infection. As the spores are inhaled, they make their way into your lungs which is where most fungal infections begin.

Protecting Yourself From Mold Infection

Obviously, mold exposure can be a real health hazard and is a situation that should not be ignored. There are signs of mold growth that you can recognize:

  • Black Mold - Mold Solutions NWBlack or white spots growing on walls, ceilings, under wall paper or on furniture.
  • A dank musty smell – you can’t always see mold…it can be found lurking under counters, behind furniture, inside the walls, but you can often smell it in areas that it’s growing.
  • Mold can grow just about anywhere there is a lot of moisture or humidity, a nice warm temperature and little sunlight. Some of the most common places it’s located are bathrooms, laundry rooms, kitchens and basements.

You can control mold in your home by:

  • Making sure you have good ventilation and air flow.
  • Repair leaking plumbing right away.
  • Don’t let condensation from your windows build up on your windowsills…dry them off right away.
  • Keep furniture a few inches away from the walls to encourage good airflow.
  • Always run the exhaust fans in your bathrooms, kitchen and laundry room.
  • If there has been flooding, even minor flooding, be sure it is dried thoroughly immediately…mold can begin to grow in about 24-48 hrs.

Symptoms of fungal or mold infection may include: headaches,  difficulty breathing, coughing, fever, skin rashes and congestion. Unfortunately these are symptoms for many other conditions, so oftentimes they get ignored because “they’ll go away soon”. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, especially if you have a weakened immune system, you may want to consider the idea of mold exposure, especially if there have been signs of mold growth in the home.

The first thing you should do is have trained professionals inspect your home for mold, and get their recommendations on how to remediate it. Removing the problem in your home may not be the only solution to get rid of our symptoms, consult with your doctor who may have anti-fungal medication.

If you think you have a mold problem:

Contact us  – Mold isn’t always easy to see, but we know what to look for, where to find it, and what to do when its found.


How Clean is the Air You Breathe in Your Seattle Home?

Seattle Indoor Air Quality Guide

BreatheCleanAir-MoldSolutionsNWThere is all kinds of talk about the outside air we breathe…is it clean; is it free from such things as the toxic emissions from cars, manufacturing pollutants or even outdoor burning?

But have you ever considered the air you breathe in your home where air quality can be just as toxic or worse and detrimental to your health as those things we have mentioned above?

Sources of indoor air toxins:

Although you are usually not aware that you are breathing in toxins in your home, believe it or not, they can be found in every room. They can come from:

  • Your pet
  • Your fireplace
  • Space heaters, water heaters and furnaces
    • Many of our appliances release gases and particles that we breathe every day
  • Cleaning products
  • Dust mites
  • Carpet
  • Plastics
  • Certain building materials
  • Mold spores

Just as you can suffer from chronic illness, your home can suffer from chronic poor air quality…sometimes called “Sick Building Syndrome”. Although that may sound funny, to people whose health is affected by it, it’s no laughing matter.

Bad air quality can cause:

  • Cold symptoms that won’t go away, such as coughing and sneezing
  • Respiratory problems
  • Frequent and lasting headaches
  • Asthma -If you already have asthma it will increase your symptoms

These conditions affect the elderly, the very young and those who already struggle with some of these issues the most.

How to improve the air quality in your home

Regular cleaning is a great way to improve the condition of your home’s air. Although frequent dusting and vacuuming is important, it’s also important to have your furnace and your air ducts cleaned regularly.

Use your ventilation fans whenever you’re cooking or showering. Good ventilation in your home can help eliminate humidity issues which help cause dust mites and mold growth. If your home seems to always have high humidity, using a dehumidifier can be very helpful.

PreserveAairQuality-MoldSolutionsNWChoose your cleaning products carefully. Beware of those that might contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds) including ammonia and bleach. Choose products with low or no VOCs and avoid aerosols and other sprays.

Keeping your pets clean can help reduce allergy causing dander.

No smoking in the house.

Grow live plants in your house. There are several plants that can help remove the pollutants that fill your air: The Peace Lily, Dracaena, English Ivy and Areca Palm to name a few.

If you think you have mold that is causing poor air conditions in your home, it may cause serious problems if not dealt with correctly, it’s damaging to your health and to your home.

Contact us if you think you have a mold problem – we know what to look for, where to find it, and what to do when its found.

 

 


Are Your Symptoms Caused by Mold Allergies in Seattle?

Does Mold Cause Allergic Reactions?

Mold Allergies - Mold Solutions NWDo you feel like you are “doomed” to live with cold symptoms forever? Is it one of those seasonal colds  or sinus infections that you just can’t get rid of?

  • You’re sneezing
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Congested
  • You have watery itchy eyes
  • You have constant postnasal drip
  • Irritated throat
  • Headaches
  • Irritated Skin

Maybe it’s not a cold or sinus infection at all…maybe you have a mold allergy. Mold allergy symptoms are frequently thought to be cold symptoms, the big difference is that cold symptoms eventually go away – mold symptoms remain as long as you are exposed to mold spores.

Does Mold Affect Everyone the Same?

Not everyone has an allergic reaction, but those who do can become very uncomfortable, even to the point of becoming very ill. In fact, if you’re someone who suffers from asthma, exposure to mold may cause your asthma symptoms to get worse.

People who are at the highest risk of health problems from mold are:

  • The very young
  • The elderly
  • People who already have respiratory problems such as asthma, other allergies or emphysema
  • Weakened immune systems such as people going through chemotherapy, those who have HIV and those who have had organ transplants.

How Does Mold Make You Ill?

Mold is a living organism (a fungus) that grows and reproduces as tiny, microscopic spores are formed and released into the air. As the spores land on a surface that offers them what they need to live, moisture and organic materials for food, they can begin to grow.

Because mold spores are always in the air around us, whether we are inside or out, they can find their way into our bodies naturally as we breathe. This usually isn’t a problem unless the mold spore levels are too high.

If you’re experiencing symptoms that just don’t seem to go away, you should examine those places where you spend a lot of time, home or work, to see if there is mold growing there.

Look in places

  • Mold on Ceiling - Mold Solutions NWWhere there might be water leaks
  • Where there may have been flooding
  • On your walls or ceilings
  • In your carpet or behind your wallpaper.
  • In your basement or crawlspace

One family had a leak from their dishwasher they weren’t aware of. Over time, the linoleum on their kitchen floor started turning gray. As they investigated and found the leak, the mold on the linoleum and on the plywood flooring became evident and had to be replaced.

You may need an expert to locate and determine the extent of the problem.

Contact us if you think you have a mold problem – we know what to look for, where to find it, and what to do when its found.

 

 


Why is Mold Dangerous

Why is Mold Exposure Dangerous?

Dangerous Mold - Mold Solutions NWWe all experience a little mold every now and then, mainly on food that has been left too long in the refrigerator. But, unless you eat it (who would?), that isn’t the mold that can be dangerous to our health.

It’s the mold growing under your sink, in your attic or crawl space, hidden in dust or maybe out of sight within your walls, that can cause you harm.

How does mold get started?

Mold lives on organic materials such as paper, fabric or wood. These materials, along with moisture and a cool, humid temperature provide everything mold needs to live, grow and reproduce.

Mold is a natural part of our environment, and has an important job to do…outside, where it breaks down and helps dead things, such as leaves and wood decompose. If it would remain outside, there would be no danger.

The problem occurs when the mold begins to reproduce and send off microscopic spores into the air. These spores enter our homes and other buildings whenever we open a door or a window and whenever we or our pets enter. There is really no way to keep them out, which is not a problem unless they find the conditions we have spoken of above to start living, growing and reproducing.

What is the danger of mold growth in your house?

Aside from the fact that mold will destroy walls, clothing, furniture and carpet if left unremediated, mold can be dangerous to your health. It doesn’t affect everyone the same, but some people are at great risk from mold exposure.

Although, infrequently, mold can be absorbed through the skin, but typically, mold spores enter our bodies as we breathe. They find their way into the warm, moist areas of our nasal passages, our lungs and other areas of our respiratory system, causing such symptoms as:

  • Mold Dangers - Mold Solutions NWSymptoms similar to cold, flu or allergies
  • Respiratory problems – especially for those who already have asthma and other respiratory weakness
  • Sore throats
  • Tired and achy muscles
  • Skin rashes
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue

The very young, the elderly and those already suffering with respiratory or autoimmune problems are at the highest risk.

Unexplained illness, musty smells or or stains on walls or ceilings can be clues that you might have a mold problem.

If you have any reason to believe you have mold growing in your home, remember how dangerous it can be to your health, and hire professionals to come and assess the situation, and remediate it in a safe and thorough way.

 


Types of Mold

Are All Types of Mold Dangerous?

Types of Mold - Mold Solutions NWIt’s amazing to note that there are over 100,000 different types of mold that we co-exist with, which makes it all the more understandable to realize that mold is everywhere and is always with us.

And although we shudder when we think about living with mold, many of its species are harmless and serve an important purpose in our environment.

Along with the harmless mold, there is also the toxic type, which can cause health issues, some of which are quite serious. When toxic mold spore levels are low, there is not much risk to your health, but when the levels increase you may experience such symptoms and illnesses as:

  • Headaches
  • Increased asthma symptoms
  • Infections
  • Respiratory problems
  • Rashes

The elderly, the very young, and people who already have pre-existing conditions such as auto-immune deficiencies or respiratory conditions are especially affected.

The 3 Major Mold Groups:

These mold groups are the most common and are the ones that will jeopardize your health.

  • Allergenic mold – Typically this type of mold will not cause severe illness, but rather cause scratchy throats, irritated eyes and nose and skin rashes.
  • Pathogenic mold – This mold can cause infections and more severe health issues especially for people who have HIV, Auto-Immune Disorders or who are currently having chemotherapy treatment.
  • Toxic mold – This type of mold actually produces toxins that are harmful. Luckily they are rare, because they have been linked to cancer and in rare cases, death.

Toxic Molds

Black Mold - Mold Solutions NWThere are 2 types of toxic molds:

  1. Stachybotrys, which is more commonly called black mold. (Just the name sounds ominous!) Because it is difficult to find, which gives it the opportunity to easily grow and reproduce, black mold is extremely dangerous. Unlike other molds whose spores float easily through the air, when black mold spores are damp, they become sticky making them harder to detect with air quality sampling. A lethal toxin, it has been known to be fatal to animals and cause extreme health conditions in human.
  2. Memnoniella, like Stachybotrys, is a contaminant and also thrives on organic, wet materials such as fabrics, wood, and wallboard. Their toxicity and danger are also very similar.

If you are experiencing health issues that you can’t explain, or you think you have toxic mold growing in your home, you should contact a certified mold inspector and remediator to assess your situation.

Because mold is so easily spread, and you’re not trained to locate, recognize and remediate mold, it’s probably not a good idea to tackle the job yourself