Category: Health Posts


Brown Mold

What Do You Know About Brown Mold?

BrownMold-MoldSolutionsNWThere is a lot of discussion about black mold and its dangers, but there isn’t a lot said about brown mold, and although it’s a fairly common type of mold many people may not have even heard the term.

Brown hairy mold, or Stemonitis, is called that because it has a brown furry appearance. Although it’s not typically as toxic as black mold, it can still affect the health of people who have weak immune systems, respiratory problems and allergies. Its existence should not be ignored.

Where is Brown Mold Found?

WetnessFromLeaks-MoldSolutions NWLike other molds, brown mold thrives in damp dark places. Wherever there’s a leak or repeated wetness that seldom dries out, that’s where you’ll find it.

A common place for growth can be found in one of the wettest places in our homes – the bathroom. Water gets under the floor tiles, where it remains damp, and before you know it you have mold growth. By the time you see it on the tiles, there is probably a lot of damage done to the sub-flooring. This is one very good reason why carpeting in bathrooms is not a good idea.

Kitchens are another common breeding place for brown mold. If your refrigerator or your dishwasher has a leak that goes unnoticed, mold growth will begin.

One family had a dishwasher that had an undetected leak. Brown spots began appearing from the underside of the linoleum tiles before the homeowners knew there was a problem. Once the dishwasher was removed and the tile lifted, they were able to see the sub-floor was full of mold, rotted and needed to be replaced.

Signs of Mold Growth

Being able to see the growth is not the only way to detect a mold problem.

  • Mold gives off a musty odor – you may be able to smell it whenever you are in the area of the growth.
  • If you ever see mushrooms growing on the inside of your home, it’s pretty certain that you have hidden mold and very likely damage from rot and insects.

If you have found, or even think you have mold growing in your home or business, it’s important to have it removed correctly and thoroughly. Don’t take a chance of spreading the spores by trying to remove it yourself…call an expert to remediate the 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.

 


Weakened Immune Systems and Mold

Is Mold Exposure Dangerous to People With Weakened Immune Systems?

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.


Breathe Clean Air

How Clean is the Air You Breathe in Your Home?

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.

 

 


Mold Allergies

Are Your Symptoms Caused by Mold Allergies?

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.

 

 


Dry Water Damage Quick

How Quickly Does Water Damage Need to be Dried?

Water Damge - Mold Solutions NWWhen most people think of water damage, the first thing that pops into their mind is damage from floods. Floods are devastating, and happen only periodically…but there is water damage that happens frequently, is more common place than floods and can cause a great deal of damage.

  • Leaking pipes
  • Recurring condensation
  • Frozen pipes
  • Leaking roofs
  • Overflowing toilets, sinks or tubs
  • Leaking shower stalls

Whether the water damage comes from one source or another really doesn’t matter, unless it is dried out completely and quickly it can result in damaged carpets, flooring and furniture, all of which can lead to costly repair bills.

Another damaging side effect of water damage…

Mold growth is another by-product of water damage that hasn’t been dried out soon enough or thoroughly enough. Not only will mold damage your possessions, but it can damage your health as well, causing or increasing respiratory problems, headaches and other illness.

I keep saying how important it is to dry things out as soon as possible because mold can begin to grow in a very short period of time, between 24-48 hours. And once it starts, it can spread rapidly.

Prevent Mold

The best way to prevent mold is to go to the root of the problem, find out where the water damage is coming from and eliminate the source and get things dry.

If the damage is larger than you can handle, you should contact professionals who will come in and take care of things properly.

One family had just moved into their brand new home. They had installed a Jacuzzi tub in the master bedroom and decided to let their children be the first to use it. With their swimming suits on, the water heated, they were ready to take the “plunge”. Just as they were climbing in, they heard a loud “pop” and the water level began going down. Some of the plumbing had broken, and 500 gallons of water emptied out onto the master bedroom floor, then down through the ceiling into the kitchen and from the kitchen if flowed into the crawl space.

The homeowner quickly called a water damage restoration company who told him to immediately rip up all the carpeting and carpet pad and toss it outside. Several fans were set up inside the home to help with the drying out process, carpets were cleaned, dried and stretched and insulation from the crawl space had to be replaced.

Water Damage Can Start Mold - Mold Solutions NWAlthough the family couldn’t avoid all the damage, they were able to avoid the beginning of mold growth and the damage it would have caused.

Once water damaged is discovered, acting quickly can help you prevent the onset of even more extensive damage.

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.