Symptoms of Black Mold- What Do You Do If Exposed To Black Mold?

Side Effects Of Black Mold

With the current awareness of potential health problems associated with mold growth in houses people want to know if they have been exposed to harmful black mold. All molds are potentially harmful. However, a few types have frequently been associated with adverse human health effects. Generally people are concerned when they see black mold growth in their houses or offices. The colour of the mold, however, does not determine whether a mold is harmful or not.

Stachybotrys chartarum is the infamous species of mold known as black mold. Black mold grows in areas of excessive moisture and poor air quality. Though not rare, black mold ranks among the least common of mold species. It thrives in materials rich in cellulose such as gypsum board.  Black mold also thrives in the presence of constant moisture caused by excessive humidity, condensation and flooding. People with allergies, suppressed immune systems, or chronic lung diseases are more susceptible to exposure to black mold. Even healthy individuals experience symptoms of black mold poisoning.

Similar to exposure to other molds, symptoms of black mold often resemble asthma symptoms. The reactions can be immediate or delayed in people who are sensitive to the mold toxins. Asthma symptoms may worsen in those with the disease. Allergic reactions from touching or inhaling the mold toxins include sneezing, runny nose and watery eyes. Asthma symptoms such as difficulty breathing and trouble catching a breath can develop in individuals who have never had asthma before. The reactions may increase with repeated exposure. Other symptoms associated with exposure to black mold include include watering and irritated eyes, sneezing, runny nose, chronic fatigue, chronic coughing, and headaches. It can also produce nausea and vomiting, and extreme cases of exposure can cause bleeding in the nose and lungs. It is important to note that most of these symptoms have never been scientifically proven.

What do you do if you have been exposed to black mold? If you are not feeling sick, do not panic. Seek your doctor’s advice. Remember, we are exposed to mold spores everyday. If the mold is in your house, have it removed by a professional. If the mold is in rented property, discuss the problem with the property owner to have the mold removed or look for another place to stay. It is estimated that 20% of the human population is susceptible to mold allergy.

For symptoms associated with mold exposure and what to do click, Is Your Family’s Health Affected by Toxic Mold in Your Home?

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Jackson Kung'u
Dr. Jackson Kung’u is a Microbiologist who has specialized in the field of mycology (the study of moulds and yeasts). He graduated from the University of Kent at Canterbury, UK, with a Masters degree in Fungal Technology and a PhD in Microbiology. Jackson has analyzed thousands of mould samples from across Canada. He also regularly teaches a course on how to recognize mould, perform effective sampling and interpret laboratory results. Jackson provides how-to advice on mould and bacteria issues.
Jackson Kung'u

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