Category: Mold Posts


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.


Mold in Clothes

Can You Get Mold Out of Clothes?

MoldyClothes-MoldSolutionsNWDealing with moldy clothes isn’t typically what we do, but it’s an issue for many people, and can be a sign of further problems.

Just like organic materials around your home, ie. walls, carpets, flooring or ceilings; if conditions are just right, mold can begin growing on your clothing and shoes, especially if they are made of of organic materials such as cotton or cotton blends. If there is too much moisture in your home, if clothing is left sitting while wet, (swimsuits and towels, or sweaty clothes from a workout), or if they aren’t thoroughly dried after washing, your clothing becomes a breeding place for mold spores. They just need the right conditions, (moisture, warmth and a little darkness), and within a few hours mold will begin to grow.

How do you know if your clothes are moldy? They will be discolored, black or green and will have a distinct musty smell.

Because of too much moisture…

If you find mold growing on your clothing, shoes or bags in your home, you can be pretty certain you have a moisture problem in your home. You can try to clean your clothes or throw them away, but unless you deal with the excess moisture, mold will continue to grow.

Places where mold can be a problem is in dark, damp basements, in closets and under sinks.

One young woman was constantly getting migraine headaches and couldn’t understand why. One day while looking through her bedroom closet she discovered black mold growing on the walls and floor, and it had spread to some of her clothing. After checking a little further, she discovered that her closet, which was on an outside wall of her home had a leak. Once she had the leak repaired and the mold properly removed, her headaches went away.

Can you clean mold from your clothes?

Mold is basically digesting your clothing if it has begun to grow on it, and it leaves a stain where it has been, so the longer it grows the larger the stain, the less you’ll want to use the clothing and the harder it will be to remove the stain and the smell.

If the mold hasn’t been growing too long, there are some products that will help remove it from your clothing:

  • BleachMoldyClothes-MoldSolutionsNWWashing them in a detergent that is designed to kill mold
  • Baking Soda
  • Bleach – can help lighten stains
  • Vinegar – helps remove the smell of mold
  • Borax – doesn’t emit toxic fumes

Be sure to wash the items in hot water and run through 2 complete wash cycles. A great way to make sure the mold has been killed is to line dry the clothing in the sun, where the sun’s ultraviolet rays will not only help to fade the stains, but will work to kill the mold as well.

If you have mold growing on your clothing, your home might have a mold problem, if you do…

 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.

 

 


Mycotoxins

What are Mycotoxins & How Can They Affect You?

Mold Spore-MoldSolutionsNWJust hearing the last part of the word – “toxin” – we know automatically that mycotoxins can’t be good for us and they are something to stay away from.

A mycotoxin is a type of toxin that is produced by fungus, (another word we don’t like), and is more commonly known as black mold. And just as you assume from its name…it is poisonous, in fact some of the most poisonous substances known.

Mycotoxins, like mold spores, travel through the air, and are too small to be seen without magnification. But unlike mold spores, they are not alive.

Mold spores typically enter a person’s body when they breathe, but mycotoxins can enter not only through the air but can also enter through our eyes and sometimes they can be absorbed through the skin. If toxic mold has been growing on food, it can also be ingested. After a period of time it can end up in the blood stream.

The greatest majority of the mycotoxins we come into contact with either come from the air we breath or the food we eat.

Symptoms you may experience:

  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Skin rash
  • Itching eyes
  • Tachycardia
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold and flu symptoms
  • Immune problems
  • Respiratory problems

These symptoms and so many others can go from mild to serious, but the good thing is that once the source of exposure to mycotoxins is removed, the symptoms will decrease. Nevertheless, some health problems caused by black mold may leave you more sensitive to exposure in the future and your immune system could be weakened.

When Black Mold Grows in the Home…

There is one common denominator between homes and buildings that have mold growth in them…moisture accumulation. A home without a moisture problem is a home without mold.

The excess moisture is usually caused by:

  • Condensation encourages mold growth - Mold Solutions NWHigh humidity
  • Condensation
  • Plumbing leaks
  • Roof leaks
  • Flooding
  • Repeated spills
  • Poor ventilation
  • Dampness in the basement

Along with the moisture, mold spores need things that are readily available in our homes to begin growing and reproducing, such as warm air, organic materials, oxygen and a little time; only 24-48 hours to be exact.

If you think your home might have a mold problem, and in the fight to keep your home “mycotoxin free”…

 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.